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Preparing for Fine Arts and Design School

If you are considering going to school for fine arts and design, your post-secondary planning process should begin as early as high school. Fine arts and design schools and programs can be competitive and are rigorous; therefore, it's important to plan your high school courses accordingly. Some of the classes that you will want to take are English, speech/communications, creative arts, creative writing (if offered) and math to ensure that you are well prepared for the schools that make your list. Physics and computer skills are also beneficial for certain programs in this field.

If you are still in high school, and are thinking about going to school for fine arts and design, there are several additional things that you can do to prepare and increase your chances of being accepted:

  • Your portfolio represents you to a college as a potential student. Spend time preparing your portfolio in school and at home. For most institutions your portfolio will play a determining factor in your admission to that particular school.


  • Undertake to read and study independently. This is a good way to develop interests, expand your knowledge and improve your vocabulary and reading comprehension skills needed for these specialized programs. This will also help you if admission requirements include an interview, since you will be able to impress the committee with the knowledge you have built up of terms and issues specific to this area of study.


  • Fine arts and design admissions committees are often interested in a student's personal qualities, which can be developed through participating in extracurricular activities. Consider joining school clubs related to your area of interest. This is also a good way to develop demonstrated leadership skills, which are an important aspect of any competitive application.


  • Work experience - paid or volunteer - can also increase your chances of being admitted and is an achievement often regarded highly by admissions committees. Validating your interest by providing direct service to arts-based activities in your community is also a good way to demonstrate your commitment and can make a difference to your being accepted into highly competitive arts and design fields.


  • Develop your skills. Taking arts or craft classes in your community is another way to show that you are serious and have already built up some knowledge about the field. This will also help you prepare your portfolio. Participating in local contests or competitions can also help here...and who knows, you just might win something!

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