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College 101

Art School Options
Article Type: Checklist

___ Traditional College or University with a Focus on Art: You want to pursue a degree in Art, but you also want to attend a toga party at some point. We hear ya. The majority of traditional schools with Art majors will also have core requirements to earn a Bachelor’s degree, so it won’t just be all art, all the time. The University of Chicago, Colgate, Syracuse, and Arizona State all have quality Art departments.

___ Four-Year Art School: These are the heavy hitters of the Art world – your Babe Ruths, your Barry Bonds, your… Chris Browns. Schools with the academic rigor and reputations of the big boys, but with a focus specifically on the arts. They’ve got your run of the mill subjects like painting, sculpture, photography, and ceramics, but they also offer the more high-tech, fancy shmancy options like graphic design. The Rhode Island School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, California Institute of the Arts, and the Ringling School of Design (not clown central) are among the more well-respected programs in the nation.

___ Private Art School: Oooh… private school. Mommy and Daddy have done well for themselves, eh? The range of quality for private, for-profit Art schools is humungoid. These schools are becoming awfully popular, partly because they offer very specific courses of study for non-traditional students. But there are some posers out there, so do your research to make sure the school you are considering is reputable. Hint: if their athletic facility is located in the back of an unmarked van… run. The Art Institute chain of schools is the best-known example of this type of schools.

___ Music Conservatory: Having 10,000 songs on your iPod or being able to pick out Redemption Song on the guitar does not make you qualified to attend a good Music Conservatory. These are the schools for the obsessively talented, or talentedly obsessive, musicians. Some of the top music conservatories have acceptance rates lower than the most competitive Ivy League schools. So yeah, someone might apply to Juilliard because getting into Harvard would be “too easy.”

___ Community College: Earning a living in the Art world is tougher than getting dried oil paint out from under your fingernails, and graduating with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt doesn’t make it any easier. Community Colleges are going to offer quality instruction at a fraction of the price. And you’re guaranteed to have a nice sense of community while at school. It’s right there in the name.

___ Master’s Program in Fine Arts: You can get a Master’s by learning from the Masters. A Master’s of Fine Arts (or MFA – artists love acronyms) usually takes an additional two or three years of study and work beyond just a basic Bachelor’s degree. We’re talking intensely hands-on programs (if any of your professors are hands-on though, be sure to report it to your counselor), and the expectation is that you are working toward some sort of major performance or artistic works in order to earn your degree. So… get going on the Mona Lisa II.

___ Vocational Training as Art Training: There are a thousand (or more, we haven’t taken the time to count) categories of Art. There are even more (probably another thousand, give or take) potential paths for studying and mastering artistic techniques. Many of these paths mirror Vocational Training. You might want to consider an Apprenticeship. Hey, it worked for Mickey Mouse. Or, you could step into the real world with an artistic Internship. Vocational Schools abound for fashion, design, and culinary arts. It’s true – some people actually want to wear clothes and eat food, and not just watch shows about them on cable television.

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