How to Choose the Right Art School for You

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Choosing which art school to go to will be one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your career. Art students are not all the same and it is important to get off on the right foot by going to an establishment that caters for people like you. What does art mean to you, anyway?

Is it toiling over a canvas for weeks in the hope of creating a masterpiece? That’s fine art.

Is it making a living as the arty one in an advertising agency? That’s art and design, and it’s very different. But just as writers may dream of making it big with a novel as they earn a living writing about sport for the local paper, an artist is an artist, and that’s that.

It’s there in your soul and your day will come, but in the meantime, there are bills to pay. You may have to compromise to keep the wolf from the door, but that’s life. That is the kind of thought you should bear in mind when choosing which schools to apply to.

Draw Up a Shortlist

It makes sense, then, to find out as much as you can about a variety of art schools before drawing up a shortlist, then dig even deeper once you’ve narrowed the field. See what the schools say about themselves, Look at the list of famous alumni (if there are famous ones, you can bet the school is going to tell us). Also, look at what students and ex-students have to say. Does it sound like they had a good time? Did their course equip them for a successful and/or lucrative career?

While we’re on the subject of profitability, if you’re going to apply for a student loan, know what you want to achieve so you sound grounded and realistic to potential lenders. Art school is expensive so why not make things a bit easier by applying for a scholarship? You may be able to get funding from a government or private organization that will help to cover the cost of some or all your degree. Be sure to do your research as there are lots of options out there.

What to Think About

Is this art school an idealistic place or is it resolutely practical? You need to identify the colleges that can set you on the right path. If you’re a radical type for whom art is not something to hang on a wall, nor a sculpture that looks like what it is supposed to look like, you may have to follow the conventional path before you can have the luxury of being original.

While you’re learning you must play it by the book. Only when you have mastered your subject can you break the rules. The people who teach in art schools are, of course, artists themselves. Did they have an ambition to be an art teacher? Maybe, but probably not. It’s a job, and what they do when they get home may be very different from what they’re teaching all day.

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