Sep 4, 2010

Colleges Looking for Students with Artistic Talent

Students in performing and visual arts have fantastic opportunities to meet representatives from colleges, universities, conservatories, and other educational institutions with specialized programs designed to further talent through postsecondary education.

If you play an instrument, sing, dance, or have particular artistic ability, you should consider attending one of 18 Performing and Visual Arts (PVA) College Fairs sponsored by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Or if you are more specifically interested in visual arts, the National Portfolio Day Association (NPDA) sponsors a series of Portfolio Days in 38 US and Canadian cities.

NACAC’s PVA College Fairs are targeted to students interested in pursuing undergraduate or graduate study in theater, visual arts, graphic design, music, dance, or other related disciplines. These fairs bring together experts who provide information on educational opportunities, admission requirements, and financial aid. They also advise on portfolio development and auditions.

Free and open to the public, PVA College Fairs do not require pre-registration, although the opportunity to register is offered online for many fairs including the one scheduled for Sunday, October 31, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Running an entirely separate program, NPDA Portfolio Days offer opportunities for students to receive free advice, counseling, and critique from some of the best academics in the art business. Portfolio days begin in late September and end in January at the Ringling College of Art & Design, in Sarasota, Florida.

Portfolio Days are incredible events. Students drive from the furthest reaches of the country and stand in long lines clutching portfolios, paintings, sculpture, pottery, and other work. They bring sketchbooks, works in progress, and finished pieces—some small and others quite large.

At the head of each line, experts from NASAD-accredited colleges take considerable time to offer support and constructive criticism, as well as to give pointers on how to go about building a portfolio. No one is hurried, and every question is answered. Several (not all) participating schools even accept portfolios on the spot as the visual portion of an individual application.

Free and open to the public, Portfolio Days require no registration and operate on a first come, first served basis. Students from the DC area can attend on Saturday, November 6, at Virginia Commonwealth University; Saturday, December 4, at the Corcoran College of Art & Design; or Sunday, December 5, at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Note that the PVA College Fairs and the NPDA Portfolio days are not restricted to high school seniors. Underclassmen are strongly encouraged to get a head start by taking advantage of the opportunity to get free advising early in the game from experts in the arts.

More information on Portfolio Days may be found on the NPDA website. A complete schedule of PVA College Fairs as well as terrific advice on the application process for performing and visual arts students is provided on the NACAC website.

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