• Sophie van Os

Visual Arts Schools

Sometimes, it can be difficult to decide what kind of art and design school you want to apply to. The amount of options can be overwhelming. In this article we will dive into the topic of: Visual arts. 



What is Visual Art?


According to the go-to online encyclopedia Wikipedia, Visual arts are art forms that create works that are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, photography, video, film making and architecture. As you can see, this is a very wide range and often difficult to specify. In the United States there are a lot of visual arts schools with each a different approach. The schools below are the ones that I believe are worth looking into.



3 Visual Arts Schools in the U.S. to look into 


School of Visual Arts New York City

Cost per year: $48,816

Application fee: $50

Acceptance rate: 70%

SAT or ACT scores required

Portfolio requirements: 15 - 20 pieces

Transcripts from all high schools/colleges attended

Statement of Intent

Alumni Michael Bierut, Graphic Designer famous for Mastercard logo


This is a really nice school to go to. It has the added benefit of being in New York city, the city that never sleeps and harbors some of the most amazing museums the world has to offer. Think of the Guggenheim, with paintings from Pablo Picasso, Malevich and Kandinsky. Or the MET with sculptures from Rodin. Can you ever get tired of watching a classic piece of art? Now back to the school, SVA has brought about epic graphic designers like Michael Beirut, famous for so many iconic logos such as the Mastercard logo and the graphics for Saks Fifth Avenue to name a few. When you look at the quality of its education, it is unparalleled and difficult to compete with. It even has these new kind of innovative programs like Animation and Cartooning, that will allow you to navigate the modern world of graphics with a solid dose of confidence. 


Maryland Institute College of Art

Cost per year: $48,510

Application fee: $70

Acceptance rate: 64%

SAT or ACT scores not required

Portfolio requirements: 12 - 20 pieces

Transcripts required

Personal Essay

Alumni Jeff Koons, Artist famous for Balloon Flower


The MICA was founded in 1826 and therefore one of the oldest art colleges in America. 

What makes this school special is that it has a very flexible curriculum. You choose your major after finishing your first year. In your first year you have ample opportunity to explore your options and interests some more. They have  a wide range of subjects covering both the art as well as the design field with special majors like fiber, interdisciplinary sculpture and printmaking. 

It is situated in Baltimore which is a very thriving harbor and industrial city to live in. For instance, the incredible American Visionary Art Museum is full of artwork by self-taught artists and kinetic sculptures situated in an old warehouse. There is also the Baltimore Art museum with a myriad of collections going from native american to modern or contemporary art, with a variety of different pieces ranging from textiles to photographs. In the summer, you can also enjoy free outdoor movies. How is that for a visual artist-to-be! 


Rhode Island School of Design

Cost per year: $53,820

Application fee: $70

Acceptance rate: 24%

SAT or ACT scores considered but not required

Portfolio requirements: 12-20 pieces

Transcripts required

Writing sample up to 650 words

Alumni Joe Gebbia, famous for being Co-founder of Airbnb


How cool would it be to study at this internationally oriented school situated in Rhode Island! This state has a lot of historic sites, museums and historic homes to visit. The RISD even has its own museum! What makes this school special is that you can make art, get the opportunity to teach, work with your hands as well as explore the digital side. Very hands-on. When can I start?



Admissions and applying


There are many more visual arts schools out there. This is just a hint of what is possible. Look at the websites above and explore the internet so you might find the art and design school of your dreams!


 Once you have, take a good look at its admission process and the portfolio requirements. Do you have to send your work digitally or do you showcase your work hard copy? Do you have to write an application essay or motivation letter? When is the due date to apply for this school? It is best to prepare at least 3 months in advance. A perfect time to enroll for my online course to create your portfolio work and prepare for the admission interview. Don’t wait any longer, start now



Photo credits: Unsplash by Jakob Owens

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