Members of the Interlochen Arts Academy class of 2019 show their college spirit in swag from their future schools.
As a young artist, you’re often told that there’s one clear path to the career of your dreams: Work hard, attend the right school, and make the right connections.
In reality, there are many ways to achieve your goal.
If your career plan includes attending a college or conservatory, an arts boarding school can be a great first step. From regular college visits to expert advice, here are just a few of the reasons why arts boarding schools can expand your college opportunities.
- Professional guidance. Arts boarding schools hire dedicated teams of academic and college counselors who specialize in helping young artists achieve their goals. Their experience will be invaluable in selecting colleges to apply to and preparing an application that stands out from the crowd.
- Audition/portfolio preparation. If you plan to major in the arts, your audition or portfolio is one of the most important parts of your college application. Luckily, you’re not alone in this important endeavor. Your artistic faculty will be there to guide you, helping you select, prepare, and perfect the pieces that best showcase your talents. They can also provide useful information on the audition process and tips for managing nerves.
- College preparatory academics. Artistic accolades are only one part of your application: most colleges also seek students who demonstrate academic excellence. Boarding schools provide rigorous and diverse academic courses that will prepare you to excel in standardized tests. Many schools also offer advanced placement or dual-enrollment opportunities which will allow you to earn college credit while fulfilling your high school requirements. They also look terrific on your transcript.
- College fairs/visits. Many high schools host college fairs of some kind. But unlike some public school college fairs, arts boarding schools primarily invite colleges with strong arts programs. With more top-choice programs in attendance, you’ll be able to focus your attention on schools that align with your career aspirations. Outside of organized college fairs, many top programs send representatives to arts schools to conduct onsite auditions, portfolio reviews, and informational sessions.
- Recording assistance. Many colleges and conservatories conduct pre-audition screenings to streamline the on-campus audition process. You’ll be asked to submit audio or video recordings of your selected pieces—a process that many families find intimidating and cost-prohibitive. Arts boarding schools often offer complimentary access to top-of-the-line video and audio equipment; some even have professional production teams on staff to help you record the perfect audition.
- Faculty connections. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” As experts in their field, arts school faculty are well connected to other top artists, including university professors. These connections can result in a variety of opportunities, such as master classes and guest artist performances at your school. Your instructor might also recommend a school you hadn’t considered before, such as their alma mater or a program led by one of their friends or teachers.
- Guidance to other paths. College isn’t for everyone. Many boarding school graduates choose to enter training programs, apprenticeships, and internships instead of pursuing post-secondary programs. If you feel that college isn’t right for you, your faculty and guidance counselor can help you find an alternate path to success.