How to Avoid Bad Art Schools

Like anything else, some art schools are better than others. So, what makes a good art school and what makes a bad art school? Here are four things to avoid when choosing the right art school for you.

1) Lack of Accreditation

This is the biggest red flag you might encounter in searching for art schools.

Accreditation is a process of third-party verification that a school’s educational programs meet a certain standard of quality. Did you know that the U.S. Department of Education houses an accreditation database? You should check this database to confirm that your prospective school is nationally recognized as accredited. The Department of Education also recommends that you use additional sources of qualitative information when vetting your school, even beyond their database.

Why does accreditation matter? The answer is simple. Your education is an investment in time and money.

Accreditation will ensure that your credits can transfer should you switch schools,  and help future employers recognize the quality of your degree or diploma. Don’t spend money on a diploma mill that won’t help you further your professional development. Always do your research when it comes to accreditation!

2) Inaccessible Faculty

Face time is important in a good art school education. If you’re going to invest in going to art school, then you’ll want to have plenty of access to your professors and resident artists so that you can ask questions, learn from them, and interact with other creative professionals.

As you consider your art school options, if you find out that there isn’t a good ratio of teachers to students, or that faculty is largely unavailable for one-on-one access, then you might consider pursuing your art degree at another institution.

3) No Studio Space

As an art student, your art school’s studio will be a very important learning environment that can help to foster creativity, camaraderie, and challenge you as an artist to explore new artistic mediums.

Having steady access to a studio is an important part of the art school experience. If, during your research, you discover that your potential art school does not offer studio space, or only offers very limited studio access, you might want to consider going elsewhere.  A campus visit or discussion with students and alumni can answer your studio questions.

4) Unqualified Instructors

As a student, one of the biggest things you are paying for is access to quality and qualified instructors who are experts in their field.

You wouldn’t want to pay for classes about cooking taught by somebody who had never cooked, and you won’t want to invest in an art school led by people without an art pedigree.

Before choosing your school, look into the background and education of your potential professors and teachers. If they are high-quality art instructors, then their biographies should reflect that training. A good art professor should be able to demonstrate an ability to instruct art classes authoritatively by pointing to his or her own art background and education.

Choosing and getting into art school can be tricky enough. Finding one with accreditation, accessible teachers, studio space (and equipment), and qualified instructors will all help you get your art career off to the best start possible.