Maneuvering through complex application process, seniors hope to pursue artistic talents in college

Applying to college is complicated and stressful enough, but for students pursuing art it is even more complex as the process includes portfolio submissions, auditions, additional applications and a lot more.

Four students embarking on this process are seniors Ashley Guerra, Beth Ann Zinkievich, Chloe Friedman, and Camryn McClain who are pursuing painting and ceramics, music education, musical theater, and fashion design respectively.

Akin to the conventional application experience, applying to an art college is not uniform from student to student. Zinkievich and McClain have applied to a few schools expressing that they want to focus their energy on places they are excited about. Referencing her three choices McClain says, “I just can’t see myself anywhere else and I don’t want to go to a school I know won’t work for me.”

Because music schools often have low acceptance rates, Friedman has applied to ten schools, a mix of comprehensive and specialized schools. Guerra is currently applying to Montgomery College and three others as she plans to transfer from MC after two years.

In addition to considerations like location and school size, McClain expressed internship opportunities through a school’s connections and study abroad opportunities were important factors in her decision. On the other hand, Zinkievich looked for comprehensive schools over performance focused conservatories that would allow her to focus on music education and possibly minor in history.

Along with test scores and essays, art applications require developed portfolios, artistic resumes, submission of audition tapes, and completion of supplementary applications. “The application process was different for each school but all very tedious and difficult,” says Friedman.

Portfolios, specifically for Guerra and McClain, give them freedom to demonstrate their ability and hold substantial weight in the consideration of their applications. “[Preparing my portfolio] was really stressful because fashion design demands a lot of detail and creativity,” says McClain. “I had to continuously scrap and redraw designs over and over again to make sure they are absolutely perfect.”

For these students, even after their applications have been submitted, there is still more to do. Zinkievich and Friedman have been academically accepted to some of their schools and now must pass live auditions to get accepted into the music programs. “It’s overwhelming . . . to know that once I’ve gotten into the school it kind of means nothing until I audition and [get accepted into the music program]” says Zinkievich.

Ultimately, although the means of doing so is different and more complex for them, all four students expressed that pursuing art is, without a doubt, what they want to do. For students wishing to pursue art they would recommend getting informed and just going for it. “I always say pursue what you love. It may not ‘make money’ but as long as you put energy and work into it, you can’t go wrong,” says Friedman.