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The process of applying to college visual and performing art programs is complicated and fraught with many decisions and barriers. More often than not these barriers arise just because people don’t understand all of the requirements, or how students are assessed by art programs. It can be difficult to find the correct information and then make the best decision, and the cost can be anything from missed opportunities to missed deadlines. 

Here at Creative Kid College Coach we’re constantly working to provide the newest information and most comprehensive support to our students. However, we recognize that it’s difficult for all families in this situation to find helpful resources, and as much as we’d like to, we just can't work with every single student that comes our way. That’s why we’ve revamped our website to include a variety of products and services designed to expand access to college counseling that is tailored to the needs of creative students. 

We have three new video and document packages that were made to give you a comprehensive guide to applying to visual and performing art programs. Together they provide a detailed overview of the application process and break down some of the most common components. In our first free video, Harriet Katz, the head of Creative KCC, gives a broad explanation of how to apply to visual and performing arts programs. She covers a variety of topics, everything from how to begin researching schools to practical tips for applying to majors in digital, fine and performing arts. You’ll find out when to start, what you need to know to prepare yourself, and most importantly, you’ll become aware of all-too-common pitfalls.

In our second tutorial, Harriet walks you through our detailed guide on how to make a visual arts portfolio. She gives examples and practical suggestions for different programs ranging from fine arts to film and fashion, along with comprehensive tips for documenting the work. More importantly, Harriet explains how to use the "Additional Comments" section of Slideroom to discuss technique and concept so that admissions counselors understand essential context about your work. Once you’ve put together a memorable visual profile, she shows you how to craft an artist statement that is proof of your ability to communicate your ideas and support your enthusiasm for your artistic practice. Her advice along with our thorough questionnaire helps you identify your unique point of view, influences and skill set, and then describe them in a way admission counselors will connect with and remember.

Of course, we also give students and parents the opportunity to request one-on-one counseling with Creative Kid College Coach as they go through the college application process. We work intensively with High School Juniors and Seniors on all aspects of college program selection, applications, essays, auditions, and portfolios.

The journey to an arts education doesn’t have to be fraught, but you do need to equip yourself with the right tools. Check out all of our tutorials here, and best of luck!

Why should students submit the Arts Supplement?

Musicians, actors, dancers and visual artists who do not plan to major in the arts should consider completing the Arts Supplement.  Students who have devoted multiple years and countless hours to the pursuit of their artistic passion need to communicate their level of commitment. Submitting evidence of this special accomplishment or interest through an Arts Supplement is an opportunity for schools to get to know you better. I fear this opportunity is squandered by many college applicants. There are currently approximately 60 schools on the Common Application that will accept the Arts Supplement.  To find out if your school is one of them, log on to www.commonapp.org.  Select the “Member Colleges and Universities” menu and go to the applications requirements grid.  You can then select the arts supplement column to see a list of the schools that accept this additional information.

Don’t be deterred if your school is not listed as one that accepts the Arts Supplement.  Sometimes, if you contact the admissions department and indicate that you would like to send in a portfolio or other evidence of your talent, they will allow you to do so.  These extra materials are often forwarded to the appropriate department at the school.  Your work will be evaluated and the arts faculty may make a recommendation to the admissions committee based upon their judgment of the work you submitted.

You may have an opportunity to pursue your art form in college even if you are not majoring in the arts, but are not required to do so in order to submit an Arts Supplement.  For example, Stanford states:  “While we would like students with a vested interest in the arts to continue their participation at the collegiate level, an arts submission neither guarantees nor commits a student to participate in the arts.”

When deciding whether or not to submit an arts supplement, you should keep in mind that your work will most likely be judged along with work submitted by students who intend to continue their pursuit of the arts or may even be planning to minor in their particular art form.  You should only submit a supplement if your work is strong and can stand up to such scrutiny.  An impressive arts submission can be a compelling part of your college application.

High School Juniors it is time to get organized!

This is a very busy time for most high school juniors.  If you consider what most visual and performing arts students are doing right about now, staying organized and thinking about college probably isn't high on the list.  The thing to remember is, the more time you spend getting ready for the application season, the less stressed you will be at the beginning of your senior year.  So, here is a list of things that every junior interested in the arts should be doing:

  1. Tour colleges.  Make sure to visit the department you are interested in, which may require an additional appointment after the general campus tour.  If you have a portfolio or sketchbook, bring it along and make an appointment to see an admissions officer.  If you are not able to go for a visit, most schools provide online virtual tours.  You need to familiarize yourself with the various programs so that you can have a final list of schools to which you will apply by June.
  2. Keep a journal.  Start writing down your thoughts and ideas that may end up helping you to answer the various essay questions.  Take time to think about who or what has influenced you and why you want to pursue a certain course of study.
  3. Volunteer.  See my blog on volunteerism High School Junior Volunteers – Commit! Create! Contribute!.  I list websites to help you find volunteer opportunities.
  4. Visit galleries and museums.  Go to the movies.  See live performances.  You will be asked what you like and who influences you.  Not having an opinion because you have not been exposed to the creativity of others is no excuse.  Take the time to analyze what you like and what you don't.  This will all have an impact on your portfolio, audition and artist statement.
  5. Think about who you will ask for your letters of recommendation.  Do not let this school year end without having locked in the teachers you want to write your letters.
  6. Keep your resume current.  You will need this information for your applications and it will be much easier if you have everything in one place.  By working on your resume now, you will remember activities that are important to include as well as see areas where you need to focus.  Naviance and online resume templates will help you to get started.
  7. Take a deep breath.  This is an important time to learn that the more relaxed and focused you remain, the better off you will be.  Panic doesn't help and the more you remain true to yourself and your personal goals, the more likely you are to find a program and a school that is the perfect match for you.
Portfolio Workshop for High School Sophomores and Juniors

There are many things that high school juniors can do to make the college application process less stressful. Visit colleges, attend a pre-college program and of course, work on their portfolios. I have a created a workshop that will provide helpful information to students who intend to submit a portfolio or an Arts Supplement to the Common Application. Here are the details: Creating a Portfolio for College Admissions with Harriet Katz

Sunday, March 11, 2012 2:30 – 4:30 PM

Greenmeadow Community Center 303 Parkside Drive, Palo Alto CA 94306

The art portfolio is a definitive component to admission to any art program. In this two hour workshop, Harriet teaches you how to prepare your art application or Common Application Arts Supplement by reviewing the following crucial components:

* Elements/Contents of a portfolio: what work to include and exclude, how to find   inspiration and commitment in the work you select to present. *Portfolio Layout and Preparation: how to order and edit your work *Artist Statement: writing *Portfolio review: one-on-one reviews by Harriet

Presentation includes examples of student portfolios that have resulted in admission to such programs as The Rhode Island School of Design, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Maryland Institute College of Art, NYU, USC and UCLA.

Register at hekatz@creativekcc.com or by calling Harriet at (650) 302-8053.

Tuition: $100 includes 2-hour presentation, portfolio review and materials. Limit: 15 Students