by Elizabeth LaScala PhD
For the artistic-minded student, there are several different types of schools to research in order to find the right academic fit and degree path.
- Four-year colleges and universities are a good fit for the student who
plans to earn an arts-based degree and still engage in a broad-based liberal arts curriculum; the student can double major, choose a minor in a different discipline or even switch majors.
- Visual and performing arts schools are freestanding, small schools and all degree paths are in the arts.
- Conservatories are suitable for students who wish to develop their performance, conducting and/or composition to a professional standard.
- Vocational/technical schools are usually private, for-profit institutions that offer training to secure employment. Be sure to research job placement data, companies that hire their graduates and recent grads and their employment status.
- Community colleges: the transfer path to any of the above alternatives can be a viable one. This is most successful, when the student early on identifies the school(s) s/he plans to transfer to and the requirements for admission and has a transfer plan in place to meet them.
Other important factors to consider include location (are there opportunities to perform or exhibit your work as well as view others doing the same?) and internship availability to practice art, network, create a portfolio and/or perform. Access to professional venues like museums, galleries, theaters and concerts is critical. Learn about the program’s and instructors’ reputations in the industry, whether the program attracts regional, national and international talent, the facilities and student to teacher ratio, to know if you will receive personal attention to develop your craft. Finally, understand the admissions criteria and weight placed on creative potential versus GPA and test scores.
Read more about college admissions for those pursuing a degree in the visual and performing arts.