Unlike faculty in other disciplines, as an artist, you will be working more closely with program faculty throughout your college career rather than taking just one or two classes with them and moving on like students in other disciplines frequently do. The best faculty have extensive experience in the field and are often still practicing artists. Do they have industry contacts? Do they have advanced education like an MFA (master of fine arts degree)?
The most competitive programs usually offer master classes with renowned artists, actors, choreographers, musicians, and writers. Some programs also offer specialized symposiums that focus on topics like careers in the arts or nights with industry guests that can offer advice to upcoming graduates. Bringing in talent from the outside to help students with their understanding of their discipline can be a valuable asset to an arts program.
Do the program’s facilities look professional? You are going to be spending a lot of time in classrooms, in rehearsal spaces, in studios, and on stage, and you want to make sure those spaces exhibit a professional atmosphere that can reflect the success of its students and graduates. Access is also something to consider—you will want to make sure that rehearsal spaces are accessible beyond normal business hour—an artist’s work is never done. If you need to practice at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, you are going to want to make sure that you will be able to do it.
Find out where the alumni of the program are now in their careers. Does one of them have your “dream job”? They should. You want to attend a program where you know that it is capable of teaching you what you need to know to be successful in your career afterward. Looking at the success of alumni is a good way of measuring this.
Elaina Loveland is a writer, editor, dancer, and teacher. She is the author of Creative Colleges and Creative Careers.
By: Elaina Loveland
From preparing for an audition and creating a portfolio to filing for financial aid, the entire college admissions process as it pertains to actors, artists, dancers, musicians, and writers is covered in this guide for creative college-bound students.