Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

Art School or University?

Philadelphia or New York?

There are many things to consider when selecting grad schools. In my random google searches for answers, I stumbled upon TheGradCafe.com - a site for current and prospective graduate students. It's filled with forums on any subject imaginable. I found relevant arguments and conversations that were somewhat influential and helpful in choosing schools. My most visited discussion however, was the "Freak-Out Forum" where applicants list the schools to which they applied, update their status upon acceptance/rejection and state their thoughts and fears in between. Users have even introduced themselves and shared their personal websites, work and contact information.

Reading these posts, I quickly found out that I had applied to a considerably smaller number of schools than the average bear. At first I was nervous, since deadlines had passed, that I had made a mistake in being so selective. However, after further investigation, I learned that a lot of these students who applied to 10+ schools choose only the top ranked graduate MFA programs. While this is definitely a strategy of sorts, (one I admittedly considered at an earlier stage in the game) it's perhaps not so strategic to ONLY select the popular/reputable schools, and not try for some less-obscure-but-still-successful programs. This is not only beneficial to better your chances in securing a spot (as opposed to the highly competitive, 'almost impossible to get in' programs), but these schools tend to either have lower tuition, or they have more generosity with their scholarships.

Who did I end up selecting, you may ask? And why? After much research, facebook stalking of alumni, and contemplative thought:

1. New York Academy of Art - My top choice, a specialized studio school for figurative work.
2. Tyler School of Art at Temple University - It was my one top rank school. For kicks.
3. PennDesign at University of PA - Medium to High ranking, excellent program. Ivy League.
4. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art - Rich history, fun facts (Alex Kanevsky teaches there) and a studio based school.

The only 2 schools I regret not applying to are University of Washington, Seattle. Because of Seattle. And Yale. Just because.

I was accepted to both NYAA and PAFA, both with a little scholarship $$, which is fantastic.

Now I need to plan the visits to each school to make my final decision. More on that to come.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your decision process. This sparked an awesome conversation with my village students about the plethora of opportunities available in life for them to take advantage of...It was also extremely helpful for them to see the decision process modeled in writing.