In this blog, we will discuss the process for applying to special programs.

Students entering college as prospective business or journalism majors have a fairly typical path for college admissions. They apply to the college they’d like to go to, select their intended major, and wait for their decision. However, for students looking to gain entrance into more specialized college majors, the application process can look a little different.

A majority of college programs in the arts require the submission of some type of portfolio containing work samples. The requirements can vary depending on the school or program, so be sure to pay close attention to the specific requirements and deadlines (often earlier), that each university provides.

For visual artists, applicants may be required to submit various amounts of projects or samples along with additional writings regarding why they’re interested in that major or potential career plans. In addition, it’s common for schools to ask for a written statement that cites your influences, goals as an artist, and your background. This is your chance to tell your story and share why you will be a valuable asset to the school you’re applying to. Let the college know why getting accepted is so important to you.

Similar requests are made to those students applying to study dance, acting, music, photography, and technical theatre. For music majors as well as theater majors, videos of your performances or recordings may be required for admission. Often, these are submitted on an additional application on sites like Acceptd or Slideroom. For photography and technical theater majors, portfolios of your work are nearly always required, again on additional applications separate from the initial application to the general university.

However, things work a little differently with majors like architecture. Schools of architecture vary greatly in terms of their requirements. Some schools want to see extensive showcases that include sketches, architectural designs, or experience. On the other hand, some universities won’t request any samples. There isn’t a universally accepted application process for this major, so pay close attention to what needs to be completed.

It’s uncommon for high schoolers to have real-world architectural experiences, so many schools will judge applicants by their grades and essays. Writing a compelling essay that outlines your passion for studying architecture can be a make or break for acceptance. Spend time thinking about what makes you passionate about the major, and try to convey it to the admissions officers who will read your paper. Since it is difficult to gain experience in architecture as a high-schooler, scoring an internship or work shadowing opportunity in this field can be huge.

How many high schoolers have you met that have real-world experience in architecture? Set yourself apart! If you are hoping to gain acceptance into a program, and you lack experience, explore programs that place greater emphasis on your grades rather than your portfolio. You may have a better chance of acceptance into these schools. If you want to gain more first-hand experience, reach out to your Cultivate Coach today. We can work to find you an opportunity to explore the field you’d like to study before you apply. With the experience you’ll gain, it won’t just be great for your application, but also for your foundation and future.