Swimming in the Pool of College Applicants: How Your Artsy Teen Can Be a Winner

Olympian Ryan Lochte

The time of year always brings it out. Start with a mix of winter cold and overcast skies, add in some snow, feelings of being cooped up together indoors, and presto: apprehension, pressure, and anxiousness about college options and choices rear their ugly heads. The phenomenon is common for high school sophomores, juniors, and their parents alike. No wonder; there are so many parts and pieces to this puzzling process. They each require thoughtful attention. It can be exasperating and exhausting.

But let’s step back a minute. Beyond grades, test scores, and all those other requirements the question needs to be addressed: what will really differentiate your artsy teen from the rest of the college applicant pool?

I believe the answer lies in considering the bigger picture and focusing – now – on your teen’s demonstrated interest. In college-search terminology “demonstrated interest” mostly refers to a teen’s exhibited desire to attend a particular institution. How many times has your son been in contact with the college? Has he attended an on-campus information session or met with the admissions representative? There are numerous ways to reach out and “touch” a college or university, but I’m not referring to that type of expression here. What I’m talking about zeros in on your teen’s passion for art and design, their dedication and drive to create. Whether their focus is on a variety of visual arts or just one specific craft, demonstrating the desire to spend time making art is key.

Rapt Studio, California

Ask yourself, does your daughter repeatedly lose track of time to her detailed drawings? Does your son spend countless hours sketching and studying fashion trends? Is either one clamoring to attend another summer art program? That’s demonstrating interest, and passion. The objective here is to capitalize on that focus.

I’ve put together a few tips for you to consider.

  • Take advantage of all that your high school offers,
  • Research after school and weekend art classes,
  • Search for volunteer opportunities that will let your teen apply her creative talents,
  • Network for internships in a design firm or art museum, and
  • Encourage artistic self-exploration.

Yes, these will enhance that high school resume, but isn’t that, in part, what we’re talking about? It may also seem like I’m just piling onto the “must do” list. The reality is – here’s a chance to put your teen’s interest and dedication to the test. The value will be apparent in an engaged teenager who will have a more in-depth comprehension of a potential college major and career path. Their focus will help them stand out in the applicant crowd and improve their chances of getting accepted to the colleges they want to attend.

Want to learn more about the art college search process? Follow us, like us, and comment on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Graduation Gifts For The Creative In Your Life

Graduation: It’s finally here! Our kids made it and so did we. Congratulations to all the moms, dads, families, and students who are celebrating this great accomplishment. It’s a time to pause and reflect on the achievement as well as a time to look forward to the next step, whatever it may be.

With college decisions made and grad parties ahead, the next hurdle focuses on what gifts to buy for those accomplished students. Unfortunately, graduation gifts can often become a cause for consternation. What will be useful and fun to receive? Is cash the best gift, or is that too impersonal?

If you haven’t already seen it, make sure you check out this post that helps take a lot of the guesswork out of your searching. It’s not specific to artists and designers, so I’ve added a few of my own for the creative kid. Either way you can’t go wrong. And once again, Congratulations!

Blicks: The go-to art supply resource. Whether the need is brushes, sculpting tools, wood glues, or drawing tables, a gift from Blick’s can’t go wrong.

Photography Equipment: Having great photographs is key for every artist. The tools needed to get there can be expensive. Cameras or gift certificates from a local photography store can get your artist on the right path to documenting their creativity for sale or documentation.

Art Classes? Just because a portfolio was completed for college applications doesn’t mean it’s done. It’ll never be done. A gift card for a summer art class will keep the juices flowing and may introduce your grad to a new medium never tried before. What a great head start before the college school year begins.

Art in the City: Each city has its own wonderfully unique artistic features. Why not treat your teen with a tailor-made adventure in his new college town? A gift membership to the art museum or an architectural tour are two creative ways to explore a new neighborhood. Tickets to the local theatre, musical, and dance performances are just as engaging and enjoyable.

More art.college.life. news can be found on facebook, twitter, and pinterest.