Interested in both Interior Design and Fashion Merchandising - So many schools to choose from??

<p>I am a junior in high school and have an interest in Interior Design and also Fashion Merchandising. I live in the NY/NJ area and would like to attend a school in this North Eastern area. I am thinking about Philadelphia University, University of Rhode Island, SCAD, Drexel, Art Institute of Philadelphia, University of New Haven, FIT, New School, PRATT, School of Interior Design, etc, and will be visiting these colleges this year. I haven't taken any art classes during high school and am concerned about having to prepare a Portfolio. I live in the NY/NJ area and am also thinking about possible summer programs in both or one of these fields, to help me figure out better what type of program I would be interested in. I am really not 100% what I want to major in, but I know that I want it to be in some type of creative major. So confusing, so many colleges and so hard to know which would be a good fit for me. I would like to attend a college where I can try taking classes in a few different areas, before I would have to declare my major. I am also interested in which colleges give the best merit scholarships. Any advice?? Thanks.</p>

<p>"am also interested in which colleges give the best merit scholarships. "</p>

<p>Well, art and design schools aren’t great sources for merit scholarships, especially if you need substantial awards. Those schools also give LOUSY aid and expect students/parents to pay most/all costs.</p>

<p>Talk to your parents about how much they’ll pay each year. That will largely determine where you should apply.</p>

<p>You also need to get a portfolio. What are you doing in that regard?</p>

<p>Which state do you live in? NJ or NY? Look to see what state schools in YOUR state offer those majors.</p>

<p>When looking at Interior Design programs, make sure they are CIDA accredited programs. </p>

<p>Also, look at you state schools, they often have strong design schools, especially for Interior Design. You don’t have to attend a specialized art school to get a good design education. There is real strength in the diverse courses you’ll take at a state school in addition to your design coursework.</p>

<p>Start with the hardest challenge: financing. If you must have merit aid to attend, you will have to look long and hard to find design schools that offer it. </p>

<p>Just to be sure that you won’t qualify for NEED based aid, ask your parents to use an on line calculator to get an idea of how much you might be eligible for. If need based aid works for you, you’ll have more options.</p>

<p>Few schools excel in both fashion merchandising and interior design. I think you’ll have to pick one or the other major at the outset. I may be wrong on this point; it’s best to research each school separately.</p>

<p>You could also get a BA or BS at a four year college and follow up with a one or two year degree in merchandising or in interior design. It’s confusing, but in a positive sense, because there are so many paths to success in creative businesses.</p>

<p>You shouldn’t need a portfolio for fashion merchandising management. The best way to get an idea of whether this is the right field for you is to simply get a summer job in retail. Even low level retail positions will expose you to what being a merchant is all about. If you’re leaning toward home furnishings, try Williams Sonoma, Ikea or Pottery Barn.</p>

<p>Many merchants have not had specific merchandising training. It’s quite possible to get a general liberal arts education at any college or university and then go into fashion/retail merchandising. You gain experience with summer jobs and internships and often enter through a buyers training program. A good part of the job is communication and reasoning so a solid academic foundation is a plus.</p>

<p>Interior design is a different direction. In most cases admissions does require a portfolio. A summer career program would be a good idea. Some designers study art first then get an interior design degree. </p>

<p>You might end up combining both interests and go into home furnishing merchandising. There’s no specific path to that end, but rather a accumulation of experiences and courses.</p>