FAQ 9: Students, Parents, Public
How do I discover which schools are best for me?The easiest way to discover which school is best for you is to have a general idea of what characteristics you are looking for in an institution and what you are interested in studying. Once these issues have been decided, the remainder of the task should be focused on research, study, and the process of elimination.
Each institution of higher education typically publishes catalogs and other documents of valuable and informative material ranging from campus size to student life, from curricular offerings to course descriptions. Usually, these publications are readily available from an institution's admissions office.
For the reasons noted under Does NASAD rank schools?, it is important to develop an in-depth knowledge of ranking systems, the parameters used by those ranking, and the reasons for the actual ranking. Make sure those areas ranked are those that are important and apply to you. A school at the top of a particular chart may not, by this indicator alone, be a perfect match for you. Learn about an institution. Study what it has to offer and how effectively it delivers education in your particular area of interest. Talk with art and design professionals you know and respect, with recent graduates, with those who work professionally in your area of career interest. Look for matches between (a) your personality and goals, and (b) the institution's environment, approaches to learning, artistic agenda, and corporate culture.
Try to visit campuses. Typically, institutions will provide informative tours for prospective students and their parents. These tours should provide a flavor of the institution as well as an opportunity to pose questions and have them answered face-to-face by administrators, faculty, and/or students.
Approached without a plan, college hunting can be daunting. Approached with a plan, it should be an intellectual fact-finding mission that leaves the potential student with several positive choices and potential matches.