Art Student Timeline

Getting ready to apply for college? CollegeMapper can help you out. This page will show you at a glance what to work on each year to improve your college applications! If you plan to go to college to focus on the Arts, Military, or Athletics, check out the specialized timelines as well.

Sophomore Year

  • Start highlighting your strengths in your work with the goal of making a stellar portfolio/audition.
  • Locate colleges that you wish to apply to and look at the types of media they specialize in.
  • Contact schools to get portfolio and audition requirements.
  • Join mailing lists.
  • Go to National Portfolio Day to get your feet on the ground.

Junior Year

  • Start making your portfolio. Most schools want 15-20 pieces. Use only your best work and if a school specializes in a certain media, highlight that media in your portfolio.
  • Be sure to review each school's requirements for the portfolio.
  • Contact schools to get portfolio/audition requirements.
  • Contact schools to schedule auditions/portfolio presentations.
  • Make sure you have enough time to finalize your portfolio before your portfolio day.
  • Choose people who are familiar with your work for letters of recommendations.
  • Visit campuses.
  • Go to National Portfolio Day and ask questions.

Senior Year

  • Apply to the school. Check to make sure you have all the requirements for each school.
  • Interview well. Interviews are usually held between October and January. Be prepared to answer common questions such as why do you want to attend this school and what is a weakness.
  • Think about whether you want a BA, a BMA, or a BFA.
  • Take your portfolio to National Portfolio Day and ask for feedback.


  • BA (bachelor in art) in Music: an interdisciplinary/liberal arts degree designed for students who want to continue studying music while also studying in other fields to prepare for a career outside of music. This degree provides core music study with intensive studies in other areas.
  • BM (bachelor of music): a professional degree in music involving intensive music courses and studies in applied music.
  • BFA (bachelor in fine arts): is the standard undergraduate degree for students seeking a professional education in the visual or performing arts.