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Do you need a portfolio to get into an LAC intending to major in art?

LingeringBerriesLingeringBerries 11 replies4 threads Junior Member
I like LACs for the freedom to pursue academic interests beyond the good old arts and science. I did not do art in high school although I have 10+ years of drawing classes from before. It's too late to have a portfolio, so I'd just be happy with an art major.

However, from what I see mostly only art schools offer BFAs and in most LACs/universities it's just a BA. But you can still apply to MFA with a BA right?

What are some of the LACs or universities that have a strong art program?

Btw I am transferring from a UK university. (This complicates things ten times more I know.)

Thanks.
edited July 29
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Replies to: Do you need a portfolio to get into an LAC intending to major in art?

  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers 3674 replies85 threads Senior Member
    edited July 29
    Bryn Mawr/Haverford share a fine arts program. You could apply to either school and major in Fine arts. No portfolio needed. BMC offers merit aid I think to int. students.
    https://www.haverford.edu/fine-arts

    You might want to check out Centre College for its arts glass blowing program.
    https://www.central.edu/academics/majors/art/

    Additionally, the best ceramics program in the US is at Alfred University--
    https://www.alfred.edu/index.cfm
    https://www.alfred.edu/academics/undergrad-majors-minors/art-ceramic-art.cfm
    https://www.alfred.edu/academics/colleges-schools/art-design/index.cfm
    https://www.alfred.edu/academics/colleges-schools/college-ceramics/index.cfm
    https://www.alfred.edu/academics/undergrad-majors-minors/ceramic-engineering/index.cfm
    I think Alfred offers merit aid and other forms of aid, to International students.

    Many other fine LACs have great arts programs. Most do not require a portfolio.

    Women's Colleges:
    - Mt. Holyoke--has an amazing paper artist currently. Also it's part of a consortium allowing you to also take classes at Smith College, Hampshire College, UMass Amherst, and Amherst. Mt. H will offer merit aid to international students.
    - Wellesley
    - Mills College near San Francisco allows you to take arts classes at an arts school. A friend's daughter attended and the mother is a fine artist.
    https://catalog.mills.edu/undergraduate/majors-minors/art-studio/

    You might want to keep exploring in this way. Most LACs have fine arts and most do not require a portfolio. I would go through the list of colleges and see what each offers. You can find a list on a USA government website called COLLEGE NAVIGATOR.

    You should be aware of the many consortia in the US. They allow you to take classes at fellow schools.
    Bryn Mawr/ Haverford/ Swarthmore/ UPenn are one consortium
    Mt. Holyoke/ Smith/ Hampshire/UMass Amherst/ Amherst
    Pitzer/ Pomona/ Harvey Mudd/ Scripps/ and one other
    Mills allows you to take classes at a fine arts school
    Barnard and Columbia University are the same institution basically
    Simmons allows you to take classes at a fine arts school
    There are other agreements like this.
    edited July 29
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  • merc81merc81 11907 replies203 threads Senior Member
    I think your search can be less complex than you imagine. For instance, you can submit a — generally optional — example of your visual artwork without the development of a full portfolio. For ideas for colleges to research, these examples offer excellent studio art programs and span a range of admission difficulty:

    Sarah Lawrence
    Vassar
    Bard
    Skidmore
    Hamilton
    Williams
    Smith
    Wheaton (MA)
    Scripps
    Kenyon
    Lake Forest
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  • merc81merc81 11907 replies203 threads Senior Member
    But you can still apply to an MFA with a BA, right?

    Yes.
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  • momrathmomrath 6028 replies39 threads Senior Member
    @LingeringBerries, Looking back over your earlier posts, I would agree that your situation is complicated. You mentioned earlier that instead of applying as a transfer you may be able to apply as a first year. Because LACs have small student bodies, they admit few foreign nationals, even as first years. That number decreases for transfers. Either way, requiring financial aid can be an added obstacle. (Some LACs do not offer aid to foreign transfers.) Conversely, being full pay can be an advantage.

    So your first step should be to sort out which year you're applying for and your financial status.

    As noted, a BA in art can lead to an MFA, and many other professional and advanced degrees.

    Also as noted, most LAC students declare their major at the end of their sophomore years. It helps to have a general idea of a preferred major, as most majors have prerequisites and/or foundation courses. My inclination would be that it would not strictly required to submit an art portfolio with your application, either as a first year or as a transfer. However, if you have solid work from your "10+ years of drawing classes" then a portfolio might be a plus. (If by "from before" you mean before high school, then forget it.)

    Some LACs with good art studio (and art history) programs are Williams, Wesleyan, Kenyon, Vassar, Conn College, Skidmore, Hamilton, Haverford. Smith if you are female. You'll need to check out each school's policy on foreign admits and transfers. You'd do well to cast a wide net.
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  • merc81merc81 11907 replies203 threads Senior Member
    edited July 30
    As suggested, transfer acceptance-rate figures need to be researched particularly carefully. You will find percentage rates varying from barely above zero (e.g., Williams, at 4%) to much more accommodating rates such as those of Smith (45%) and Hollins (52%). You can access the Common Data Sets (section D) for colleges of interest for additional figures.
    edited July 30
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  • LingeringBerriesLingeringBerries 11 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @Dustyfeathers Thanks! This is really helpful. I think it's probably good to cast a wide net and consider universities as well. Upenn might be worth a shot, and then there's Yale (too hard) and UCSD (not transfer-friendly?). What are some other universities with great arts programs that do not require portfolios? Where can I find this information? Google just gives me a list of hard-core art schools that are way beyond me.
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