Finding and choosing the right graphic arts school will not be difficult if you start with a well thought out game plan that considers the following topics.
What will you do with your Graphic Arts degree upon graduation?
Before you choose a graphic arts school, it would make sense to know what you would like to do after you graduate. Do you want to work in the field of graphic design, animation, illustration, multimedia, textile or any of the dozens of other choices available?
Once you have an understanding of what you would like to do, then you can find the schools in your area that offer up the courses you will need to obtain a job in that field. No use going to a school that specializes in illustration when your heart is set on animation.
Important topics that will help you decide if a school is right for you:
- Location – Is the school in an area is accessible to you?
- Entry requirements – What is needed academically to get into a school?
- Curriculum - Does the school offer a program that educates for a career, not just a job?
- Length of program and class schedule – Does the school have the classes you want and will they fit with your schedule?
- Location and housing – Is the school near where you live or will you have to find housing?
- Costs and financial aid – Can you afford it?
- Class size and student-to-faculty ratio – Is the class size fit with my learning needs?
- Degrees and accreditations – What type of degree will you receive and what can you do with it in the marketplace?
- Classroom facilities – How up to date are the facilities?
- The school's faculty and reputation - Does the school have a good name in the community and will the faculty help you find a job after you graduate?
- Externship opportunities – Does the curriculum have externships available?
- Schools contacts, job placement, and/or internships – How many graduates are placed in jobs each year?
Now that most graphic arts schools are readily available on the Internet, you should have no trouble finding out everything you need to know about them to at least get you started.
We provide you with a list of graphic arts schools sorted by state at our Graphic Arts Schools Map. With this map you can choose the location you are interested in going to school, look at a selection of schools in the area, and either read more about them or request free information from the school.
Once you fill out an information request form, a representative from the school will contact you and answer any questions you may have about classes, facilities or financial aid. They will also offer to send you more information about the school including brochures and an application.
Write down any questions you may have for the school representative before they call. The rep is there to help you learn more about the school and answer any questions you may have. Just remember, they are also trying to sell you on their school.
This is also a good time to ask about scholarships and what the school has to offer. If financing is going to be an issue, it's better to find out alternatives now rather than wait until you have been accepted
After looking over the information you have gathered on the Internet and any additional information you may have received from the schools, it’s time to start eliminating those schools that don’t fit your needs. Maybe a school is too far, too costly, or just doesn't offer the courses you are interested in taking.
Don’t decide what you are going to be doing for the next two to four years by a brochure. A school can look great on paper, but you want to see the actual classrooms you will be attending, meet some of the teachers and students in person, and get a feel for the surroundings to make sure you will fit in.
After you have done your research on all graphic arts schools that work for you, it’s decision time. Decide your top choices, fill out their applications and send them in. Be sure to be neat and complete, and provide the schools with everything they ask you for. If you have any questions about the application, pick up the phone right away and get answers. You don't want to be sending in incomplete forms.
Once you have been notified of your acceptances, you can decide which school works are right for you. Because you did your homework and followed the steps above, this final choice should be easy.
Be sure to inform the school of your choice that you will be attending, and find out what steps are required to get you enrolled and what you will need to start school.