How to Apply to Art School – Part 1

An arts degree will provide you with the necessary abilities and skills to earn a living with your artistic talents and passion. It will also afford you the opportunity to meet mentors and fellow artists who understand that passion.

However, for anyone pursuing a BA or MA degree in Visual Arts, it requires more that talent to be offered a place in the art school of your dreams. You’ll need to show that you’re motivated, have a willingness to push boundaries, and capable of presenting a portfolio that will blow them away. Here are five tips on how to give yourself the best chance of getting into art school.


While you may have an art school in mind, or even a shortlist, don’t neglect research. Deciding which art schools to apply for isn’t as simple as sticking to the one you’ve had your heart set on just because your favourite artist studied there, or it’s based in your favourite city. There’s far more that goes into it than that. Fortunately, all of the information you need is accessible online. Use the Internet to find rating information, school reviews, and school directories.

Before you apply to a school, ensure that you take both your educational goals and your budget into account. Narrow your choices down to schools that have accreditation, offer scholarships, financial aid, and can provide you with the kind of art education that you are looking for. Take a good look at the school’s degrees and course catalogues to ensure that the curriculum aligns with your goals.

Art school directories may help you to narrow your choices. Expand your research to find out the types of artists that the schools you’re looking at accept. For an overview of artists who are succeeding at the school, take a look at the school’s galleries or affiliated exhibition spaces. Finding the right school for you is an important first step in your degree-level art education.

Apply to more than one school

Not everybody can be offered a place at the school of their dreams. That’s just the way it is, unfortunately. Make your shortlist of preferred schools and apply to them all. Pick 15 schools that you would genuinely be interested in applying to, to begin with. Then take that list and narrow it down to your favourite three.

They may be highly selective and have a rigorous admissions process. That shouldn’t stop you from applying, however. While the odds may be long, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a chance. Study the admissions requirements carefully and send out your applications.

Then choose another three art schools that better align with your student profile. While there’s nothing wrong with aiming high, applying to schools that are a better fit on paper increase the odds of you being accepted onto an excellent course. Finally, choose three further schools that, while matching your educational goals, also accept students that fall below your academic level i.e. schools where your talents would stand out.