Walk The Walk

One of the most important ways to determine if a school is right for you is to visit. If you can help it, don’t make your choice without setting your feet on campus. Heading off to college is expensive for students and parents, in money and time. You can learn a lot about an institution online, from college advisers and from friends, but there is nothing that can replace the feeling you get walking the hallways, touring the studios and yes, even checking out the other students.

Everyone has his or her own indescribable benchmarks, things that need to be felt first-hand to know it’s the right place. Following my oldest son’s junior year in high school, we took an east coast trip, visiting a number of colleges along the way. At the time he couldn’t understand why someone would name a school “Tufts University.” I guess he felt it was a silly name for a college. Well, you can guess what happened. We toured the campus, sat in on an information session, and he was sold. He knew he found his place.  It met all his detailed criteria and had his “it” factor.

There is an added benefit to visiting the colleges you’re considering attending: showing interest. In today’s highly competitive environment colleges and universities want to see each prospective student’s interest in their institution. Compare it to knowing ahead of time that someone likes you before you ask them out. Makes you more interested when you know you’ll get a positive response, right? In this case, when decision time rolls around, it can help push the school in your direction.

What to do while you’re there? Taking a tour and sitting in on an information session should be the minimum. If you can afford the time to sit in on a class or stay overnight you’ll get a chance to talk with current students and get a real feel for campus life. And, as an art student, studios should be part of the tour. Make sure you see them; that’s where you’ll spend a large chunk of your time!

A Foundations studio waiting for students at UC Boulder.

Another Rocky Mountain High

While soaking up the Colorado sun last month, I did some research into Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, a small, for profit, art school tucked into the western suburbs of Denver.  Offering classes both on campus and on-line, RMCAD provides opportunities for those choosing a more flexible learning environment.   With a student population of just 700 this might be the ying to UC Boulder’s yang.  RMCAD offers seven art programs – mostly for those seeking a BFA.  The most popular are the BA or BFA in Graphic Design and the BFA in Illustration.  According to admissions counselor Alicia Wheelock, RMCAD is the only stand-alone art school in the state that is NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design) accredited.

This small campus has no on-campus housing but dorms and apartments offering discounted RMCAD rates are just 10 minutes from campus.  The school has a strong connection to art culture in Denver, a good place to be a working artist.  And just up the road is Boulder, named the most creative city in the country by The Daily Beasthttp://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2012/06/26/america-s-most-creative-cities-boulder-portland-and-more-photos.html