Art Major in College vs. Art School

What is it like being an art major at a university vs. attending art school?

47 min video

This video weighs the pros and cons of being at an art major at a university, how it affects how to approach the college admissions process, how to figure out whether studying art at a college is a better fit for you.

Prof Lieu speaks to University of California, Los Angeles students Anya Chen and Ruth Lee.

Clara Lieu, banner

Video Walkthrough

  • Many universities and colleges will allow you to add your portfolio as a supplement to your application.
  • To find out how to add your portfolio to your application, it’s best to contact the school’s art department so you know what they want in terms of submitting your portfolio.
  • Art school really is doing art 24-7, if you have interests outside of art, a liberal arts college is probably a better fit.
  • Art schools usually have a liberal arts department, but generally speaking, the courses are not academically rigorous compared to a college or university.
  • At a liberal arts college, you get to meet people from all different types of majors.
  • Studio art classes at liberal arts college are often broken up into shorter classes, unlike art school where studio classes are long, like 5 hours or so.
  • Studying fields outside of art at a liberal arts college can greatly impact your artwork, in both direct and indirect ways.
  • Learning to be an artist is not just reading art books, and learning about artists; it’s important to have a diverse experience and that is more likely in a liberal arts program.
  • At art school you don’t get to meet people in fields that are very different, which can limit the types of people you get to interact with.

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Guest Artists

Ruth Lee

Anya Chen

Deepti’s Tips

Deepti Cartoon

Definitely look at alumni work from other schools and reach out to their admissions office with any questions!

I’d say that alum/current student work speaks the loudest — if their work inspires you, then the department will probably be a good fit.

Selling Art: Tattoos, Deepti Menon

You can contact current students in the department you’re interested in if their have their emails public, see if the admissions office has students reps from certain departments they could put you in touch with.

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