Art major applications generate student stress


When applying to arts-based majors in college, students often have to send portfolios or photographs of previous artwork.

By Laura Sneller, Arts Editor

The month of Nov. is infamous among senior high school students. Early action deadlines, essays and supplementals leave seniors stressed and scrambling to fulfill all the requirements necessary for applying to college. Students who are going into college to pursue the arts, however, not only have to experience the anxiety of finishing the Common or Coalition Applications, but also have their own load of responsibilities to accomplish.

For students planning to study instrumental music or singing, they must submit a recording to colleges as well as their essays, transcripts and more. An increasing number of music schools are requiring “pre-screens,” which consist of a DVD or CD created according to the school’s requirements that must be received by the application deadline.

After the pre-screening, the school will sometimes contact the student for a live audition. These auditions could either be in a convention held by music schools where the applicants audition in front of the universities’ representatives or in the universities themselves. The students who are interested in theatre in college, if applying to an audition-based program, will likely have to perform at least one monologue. If they are applying for musical theatre, they must perform one or two portions of a song.

“It’s very stressful to know that your chance of being accepted into a school is dependent on one audition,” junior Heather Kirschner said.

Art students who want to continue their passion in college must also go through a trying process. They must prepare a portfolio that showcases their best pieces, while also expressing their diversity in mediums. They are encouraged to bring their portfolios on National Portfolio Day, an opportunity for art students to show their art to representatives of prestigious art schools for feedback and guidance. Some schools also provide a supplemental prompt for applicants to base an artwork on.

“My advice for students who are interested in going to college for art is to start organizing your portfolio as you go through your high school career and to not procrastinate,” senior Mason Catalon said.

Dance students who are applying for an audition-based program could be asked to take a ballet class and/or perform a short solo. Depending on the program, the solo could be contemporary or classical. If the students are not applying to an audition-based program, then they are encouraged to create a video of their talents and send it to the college.

Some people may believe that it is a waste of time to study art in college, but they do not comprehend the number of sacrifices that these students make to just apply for artistic programs. Art students who want to further their studies in college must deal with a multitude of responsibilities, from recordings to live auditions to portfolios, as well as the immense stress that other seniors must endure in the college application process.

“Even though it is a very stressful process, it is definitely worth the opportunities that I will receive in college,” Catalon said.