If you have a knack for creating art—paintings, drawings, sculptures, or other creative visual works—you may want to hone that talent at an art school and even make a career as an artist. There are plenty of jobs in the art world in industries ranging from publishing to advertising to video games, and an art school education could help you find a place in that world. There are plenty of
art schools in the United States, from specialized technical schools to online correspondence schools to four-year universities, but how do you choose one? Here are some considerations:
Cost: How much have you budgeted for tuition? Keep in mind that there are a number of ways in which you can fund your education. Many organizations, particularly the United States government, will help you with your education, making grants, scholarships, and loans available to prospective students who can show financial need or who meet specific requirements. Go to the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) Web site and fill out the FAFSA form. It’s the first step to apply simultaneously for a large number of funding options. Student loans do need to be paid back after graduation (interest may be subsidized or may accrue), but grants and scholarships are essentially free, so you should consider them first.
Location: Do you need to go to an art school close to home? There may be art schools within easy commuting distance. Look for one less than an hour’s drive each way if possible. (Remember that you don’t want to cut into your study time by driving to and from classes for long hours.) If you can afford to move away from home, decide if the school is in a place where you’d like to live.
Prestige: Does the art school have a strong reputation? Will its name on your résumé catch the eyes of employers? The more prestigious a school is, the more expensive your education will be. But, the school’s name will also help you stand out from other applicants, and that will more than pay off the extra expense. It may even help your art career take off faster.
Staff: Are the teachers at the art school known in the field? Remember, these are the people who will help you make connections, find your first job, and give recommendations to prospective employers.
Last Updated: 02/25/2013