What to do when you’re considering going to an art school

Isha Pandya, Graphics Editor

I am currently a student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. I am studying to get my bachelors degree in communications design with an emphasis in illustration. Pratt is an art school, and like many others, has its own set of challenges when applying.

Here is some advice to anyone looking to follow this path. 

For the most part, applying to art school is very similar to applying to any other four year university. Aside from the fact that along with test scores, GPA, and essays, one must create a portfolio featuring a collection of work that is meant to reflect the skill level of the student. 

Because of this, art students are often extremely stressed out about what to create next. 

The first thing I would recommend to anyone looking to go to art school is to start creating work ahead of time. Although many schools have similar requirements, they may also have specific assignments for the artist to complete, and the artist should be aware of this. Another reason to create work ahead of time is that the artist will almost inevitably fall into an art block, where one is basically unable to make creative work. By creating art work ahead of time, the artist can save themselves a lot of stress. 

Another piece of advice is to understand that art school is not easy. It is a common misconception that people go to art school in order to avoid a “real” education, and to avoid having to do much work. I speak from experience when I say that art school is extremely exhausting and a lot of work. Six hour long studio classes and three hour long lectures are the norm. Most professors expect the students to spend at least six to 12 hours on each project, and I can comfortably say that I have spent up to 20 hours a day on a project.

Art school requires a lot of hard work, regardless of how passionate one may be and should never be considered easy. 

One last piece of advice to the artist is to continuously make an effort if it is something you really want to pursue. Many art schools use the first year to “weed out” weaker students. At Pratt, the first year for most students is known as the Foundation Year, where the student is exposed to many different kinds of classes regardless of their major. It can be taxing and often results in many choosing to transfer or drop out. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this decision, just make sure that if it is something you actively want to pursue because it will take a lot of work.

Good luck to all the students applying.

Isha Pandya was the graphics editor for The Californian and graduated in 2019. She attends Pratt Institute.