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College Admissions Process: 7 Ways to Make It Easier and Less Stressful

The college admissions process can understandably be nerve-wracking. It’s a major life decision after all, regardless if you have your heart set on a specific college or if you’re checking out multiple options. If you’re feeling anxious about sending out those applications, you’ll be glad to know that there are several steps you can take to reduce your stress, build your confidence, and make the process much easier.

Here are seven tips you should find helpful, particularly if you plan on attending an art school.

1. Keep Track of Deadlines

Be aware of the deadlines for different steps of the admissions process. Pace yourself by creating reminders for important dates and keeping a checklist of tasks you need to accomplish. This can help you avoid feeling rushed or overwhelmed later on. Most importantly, it helps prevent you from forgetting any of the requirements.

2. Prepare a Portfolio

While some art schools don’t require portfolios for admissions, collecting all of your best work in one place can help your future placement in classes or fulfill basic general education requirements. It can also help you secure financial aid in case you ever need one.

Look at student portfolios to have an idea how you can curate yours. If your preferred school requires one, make sure to stick to the list of requirements or prompts that every submitted portfolio must follow.

3. Attend Portfolio Reviews

Portfolio reviews basically are opportunities for young aspiring creators to receive feedback from instructors or industry professionals. Even if you don’t need a portfolio for your dream school, visiting a portfolio review day can get you valuable advice about your artwork, college admissions, expectations in art school, and much more.

4. Get a Head Start on the Personal Statement

The personal statement can seem like a big obstacle when you apply to colleges, but it doesn’t have to be. Start working on your college essay as early as you can. This gives you plenty of time and freedom to write your statement and try out new ideas without the pressure of an upcoming deadline.

5. Know the Program

Every art school has its specialties. Before applying, take a look at the faculty and student work to see if the college will be a good fit for you and your artistic goals. Check the courses offered by the program. This can help you decide if their curriculum actually interests and engages you.

6. Gather Solid Teacher Recommendations

Some schools require teacher recommendations along with your college application. This should be a good motivation to build good relationships with your teachers. Besides, you can trust your teachers to give you sound advice, especially abour your college and career goals. Talking to them about this can ultimately give them a better sense of who you are, which can help bolster their recommendations as well as better guide you in your decision-making.

7. Pick High School Courses Carefully

You don’t get to choose some of your high school courses, but you do usually get to select electives. Think about which classes would support your career goals, and choose the ones that are most relevant to your future degree. Above all, make sure you have a balanced schedule. Art is time-consuming, so give yourself time to focus on your work.

Want to learn more about college admissions for art schools? Academy of Art University is here to help. Reach out to our admissions department by calling 415.274.2222 or emailing  for additional details.