Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Art School

by Chris Duesing

I recently decided to go back to school for art. I was accepted in to SAIC’s BFA Studio program starting in the fall of 2021.

What does this have to do with you?

Well, I am the kind of person who does everything 1000%. I researched and researched and researched. So I have a lot of information about the differences between art schools. Plus, unlike most students considering an art school BA or BFA, I have been to 3 other universities previously AND I have 20 years of career experience. So I know the different ways schools structure semesters, classes, degree requirements, liberal arts, etc.. I understand the way the job market works, and the various career paths you might take after art school and which degree programs will prepare you best for the one you want. I have also been drawing since I was a little kid, got pretty good at photography, and I voraciously read about these things both the skills and the art history. So I have a good basis for evaluating classes and teachers.

Basically I am you and your parents rolled in to one, I get both of your perspectives. Not only can I help you think through this the right way, I can help you understand how THEY think of it, so you can break the news in a way they will (maybe) even appreciate.

So, let’s get started.

Should You Go to Art School?

You are considering art school. You really “want” to go to art school, but you aren’t sure if you “should”. You are being pulled between the desire you feel to do something you feel like is your calling, and the external forces pushing you to consider more “practical” options. What you need is a complete walk through of all of your options so you can make a rational decision that is right for you.

If we assume you want to go, and that going would make you happy, then we need to address the practicality. So let’s start by thinking through your motivations and goals, laying out the up front costs and typical career paths and salaries. Once you have a good handle on those things you can make a decision about how to move forward. If you decide art school is right for you, we will discuss how to pick the right one for you.

Get started with this piece on whether or not you should go to art school.

Best Art School FOR YOU

Once you have decided you definitely want to go to art school (Congratualtions!) you want to pick a school that will prepare you for your most likely career path. Some schools focus entirely on hard skills and vocational career preparation, 3D game designer for instance. Other schools focus entirely on art history and conceptual art to prepare you to navigate the professional fine art world, SAIC for instance.

Learn the ins and outs of picking the best art school for you.

Applying to Art School

Once you have your art school choices narrowed down to a manageable list, it is time to apply!

Learn all the things you should consider when you apply to art school.

Further Reading
Chris Duesing
Chris Duesing

I am a photographer, writer, entrepreneur, and programmer living in the great city of Chicago. I love to solve problems with technology and share what I have learned along the way.