Monday, we had a fantastic visit from Elyan Paz, Admissions Director at the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota. I say fantastic because Elyan’s presentation was so incredibly helpful to my students–there was so much information in the way of what to look for in a school–accreditation, Community College vs. University vs. Art/Design School, for-profit vs. non-profit, etc., etc. All the things I try to tell my kids, wrapped up in a clean and concise 45 minutes. She then followed up with a copy of her presentation so I can continue the discussion with my kids. It was everything I could ask for from a college representative.
I like to show my students all of the opportunities available to them after high school, so I always try to have representatives from a few different art schools visit my classroom every year. I’m generally turned off by the presentations of a lot of the for-profit schools; in my experience, their presentations are all about fast-paced pictures and videos with very little emphasis on the programs they offer. All style, no substance. What I prefer are the representatives that come in, elaborate on their programs, and talk about art in a meaningful way.
I want representatives that are genuinely interested in my kids. They are passionate about their school. They help by explaining the admissions process. They spend time talking about art, and more importantly, reviewing and critiquing my kids’ art–a second voice that echoes my teaching but also presents new ideas. They show and discuss the qualities that make a good portfolio, and how to develop those qualities. They show the opportunites available at their school, and the jobs available after they graduate. They tell my kids where they can go, and what they can do to get there. And most importantly, they do these things honestly. Every step of the way.
Get some art schools into your classroom–it’s a great opportunity for kids to see what’s out there. It took me a few years to find the schools and presenters that work for me and work for my classroom, but here’s step one: If you’re anywhere close to Minnesota, get in touch with CVA–I can’t emphasize enough how fantastic that presentation was this week. And, if you’re lucky, you may even get some free stuff out of the deal: