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  • Writer's pictureSophie van Os

Is Art school worth it?

Is art school worth it? Worth what exactly? Putting your blood, sweat and tears into it for four years? Pulling several all-nighters to finish a project? Being criticized for your work? Doubting your talent?

Let’s start at the beginning...

When I turned 14, I knew. From the bottom of my heart, I knew I needed to do something creative, something that would provoke, solve problems, raise questions, something that would allow me to break free and focus on expressing my emotions through art and design.

Two years later my mom found me a summer course to discover the wonders of fashion design. It was the first time that I spent a whole week away from home, all by myself. It was exhilarating! The course took place in an art school in the city centre of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It was organized by some of the students in their final year. Boy, did I look up to them. It seemed so so far away before I would be in their shoes.

What I discovered

We did some great stuff during that week. We learned cool drawing techniques, how to sew and make new clothes out of old ones, we stayed in a hostel, danced on a boat and organized a catwalk for our family and friends. It was the real deal. I discovered so many things, but the most important one was… I was sure that I did not want to study fashion design. Period. This was not the path that I wanted to go in life.

But I also discovered something else. During my time in that wonderful city, I talked to the girls who organized the course. She told me about her study, the assignments she got, the teachers she had and important lessons she learned so far. She explained that the program was not only directed at fashion design but also towards concept development, trend forecasting and interior styling. I was fascinated by her story and decided to look into the school when I got home. So I did. I went to every open day they organized in the years that followed. Every time I visited and saw the projects of the students I was blown away and filled with excitement, thrill and fear (can I even do this?!).

How I prepared myself for years

It was clear that I had two years to prepare for the application. So I decided to do research. I called one of the summer course teachers to ask all of the ins and outs of the application process. I reached out to current students, former students, art teachers, artists and designers. I didn’t stop until the process was crystal clear and I had a logical step-by-step plan to prepare myself to nail the admission process.

Once I had it all laid out, I was confident enough to go through the application process. I submitted all the documents on time. Finally, I got an invitation for the interview. I prepared all the possible questions I had collected from former and current art students and I created my portfolio by collecting new pieces and ones I made through the years, so I was ready to go.

Boy, was I nervous, but prepared! After 2 months of waiting, waiting, checking the mailbox day after day (it felt forever!), it finally came. My acceptance letter! I was over the moon.

My expectations

I think because I attended so many of their open days, I had a good idea of what studying there would bring me. This art school was more aimed at the business side, rather than the individual side, where you would express your own artistic view instead of working towards a specific target group. The projects and assignments at this school were very conceptual but always with a clear link to the market. For every project I had to research a certain target group and the needs they had. That suited me perfectly!

The first year was very hard

I had long days at school and the nights and weekends were reserved for working on my projects. I was lucky to have found a dorm room near the city, some of the students had to travel for over 2 hours a day which can be very exhausting. This first year was all about trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone, working with your hands and learning different techniques like how to draw and make a scale model. Former students had told me that the first year was going to be the hardest, so I saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

Portfolio work in my first year

In my second year we went digital and developed our computer skills for programs such asPhotoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. This gave my projects a whole other dimension, much more professional. The years that followed I did two internships, which were great to discover what it would be like to work in the field. After both my internships I was offered a job which was a great starting point for me.

Overall I am so happy that I chose this program. It suited me perfectly and all the hard work I had to put in didn’t matter because I was doing what I loved and developing myself in so many ways I can’t even describe.

So if I had to answer the question: Is art school worth it? My answer is: YES! Thank you mom for finding me the summer course back in the day. And thank you to myself for having the guts to go and step out of my comfort zone to pursue my dreams.

If you have a dream like me...

I wish for you to have a similar experience!. That’s why I believe that everyone deserves a fair chance to get accepted to the school of their dreams. Because of this and because of the lack of guidance there is from high schools, I created a super accessible online course to guide you through your admission process. Sounds good, right? Click here to find out more.



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