Your College Guide

dcad, fine arts, college

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For Prospective Students:

When do I take the SAT and ACT?:  Students should take the PSAT in fall of junior year; the ACT or SAT in spring of junior year or fall of senior year.

What classes should I take in high school?

Freshmen and Sophomores: Start taking introductory art classes.

Juniors and Seniors: Take AP studio classes, as well as specific study studio classes such as photography, sculpture, printmaking, 2D, painting. Don’t let your summers go to waste.  Take workshops, enroll in a pre-college program, sketch and create!

When should I tour campuses?  It is best to go when college is in session as you get to see classes in session and students on campus. Holidays that land on Mondays or Fridays, for which you may have off of school, are good days to visit colleges because many are still in session.  Spring of junior year is a good time if you have already researched colleges. Late summer is also good as many colleges start as early as mid-August.  Seniors are encouraged to wait until the fall through winter to make their visits.  That timing can help seniors narrow their decision.  

What questions do I ask while visiting a college?

Before a visit: Will I have the opportunity to meet with the faculty?  Will I have the opportunity to meet with an admissions representative?  Could I bring my artwork to be informally or formally reviewed?  

During a visit:  Most likely a current student will give your tour.  Ask him or her about their experience at the college and why they chose to go there.  What are the best reasons to attend this college?  What is it like to go from high school to college?  What do you do in your free time or on the weekends?  What do you love about this college?  What do you wish you could change about this college?  What is it like to live here? 

How do you prepare for a portfolio review/interview?  Your portfolio should include 15-20 works of art with at least five pieces created from direct observation. This is a good starting point for any portfolio. Every college has its own portfolio requirements, so make sure your portfolio has the appropriate pieces for all the colleges you wish to apply. You want to bring your very best work to any review and remember, it’s quality not quantity. You don’t need to bring 40 pieces, just 15-20 of your best pieces. Ask your instructors and peers their opinions on what they think is your best work. It’s also a good idea to have an informal review during your junior year. You may also wish to attend a National Portfolio Day, even in your junior year.  

What are art and design colleges looking for? Art and design schools are looking for a variety of art specific classes as this often translates into nice variety in a portfolio. They also like to see any extracurricular work you might have done. This could range from participating in a school club to volunteering at an organization. Letters of Recommendation are sometimes required and are always a good idea. Letters from art instructors are best but if you are going to get letters from academic areas of study, your English or History instructors will serve you best. Your overall GPA will be considered as will your art GPA (all your art classes from you high school career). Many colleges will require that you submit SAT or ACT scores. DCAD does not require this but it is highly recommended that you submit them if you have taken them.  

Scholarships: Many schools offer Merit Scholarships however, you need to be on the lookout for other opportunities. You can go also search for scholarships through sites like Fastweb and it is also a good idea to search in your local area as well. Ask your school counselor to help you and do some research. Check with the colleges that you are applying to as well.  They may have some extra opportunities.  

COLLEGE PLANNING: Visit the College Board web site for further information or contact the DCAD Admissions Office at  or 302.622.8000 ext. 118.