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Any used educational consultant to advise on US Uni applications?
42

QGMum · 02/04/2021 14:27

I'm looking for some advice. Dc is interested in applying to US for an art degree. We have no idea on how to support preparation, where to apply, the process, chances of success, or how to apply for scholarships to reduce the eye watering cost. I have heard of educational consultants that will provide advice. Has anyone used such a service? Would you recommend the service? What did they provide? How much did it cost?

Thanks in advance for any recommendations, tips and advice.

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Needmoresleep · 02/04/2021 17:02

What year is she in? One option is to switch for sixth form to a school used to sending pupils to the US.

That said Americans (and others) used consultants, though I am not sure who. Application requirements are lengthy and it is important to present yourself well. I just heard that some, though expensive, were not very good, so a need to be careful.

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Ellmau · 02/04/2021 20:26

Is it for a BFA or a BA? If the latter, they'll have to do non art subjects as well.

Financial aid is usually based on parental income and assets, but only a handful of very academically selective unis offer it to internationals.

Merit money based on grades etc is more widely available, but I know less about this for internationals.

No idea what's on offer for fine arts.

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QGMum · 02/04/2021 21:40

@needmoresleep She is currently in year 11. She will be staying at her current school for sixth form as she is happy there and the art department is very strong. A few do go from there each year to US.

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QGMum · 02/04/2021 21:43

@Ellmau probably BFA, but I'm not really sure. Thanks for the info

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mathanxiety · 02/04/2021 22:13

You have very little time to work on this. Ideally you should have started last year but it's still possible to get everything done that needs to be done.

It's possible to get a degree in fine arts from a liberal arts college or a university, even state universities, not necessarily an art school. Even some of those colleges/ universities regarded as extremely selective offer degrees in fine arts, so it's worth your while to find colleges offering to meet full demonstrated financial need for international students just in case they also offer art degrees.

They would be ideal places for your DC to apply to, but they would require a broad curriculum for the first two years as well as art courses. How is your DC at calculus? Essay writing? MFL? Hard sciences?

You need to choose the schools DC is interested in and read the entire admissions and financial aid sections of their websites. Then contact both admissions and finaid directly by email or even phone. Email is better these days thanks to covid. It also works better with the time difference.

Your DC will need to create a portfolio and submit it as part of the admissions process. He or she will need to produce grades from secondary education to date, including GCSE results, and will need references from teachers. It helps greatly to have a list of extra curricular activities handy, including experiences in art, plus any awards won, etc. The admissions process requires personal essays and all the rest in order to get a full picture of the student.

There may be SAT or ACT requirements (not the British SATs) .

You will need to create a College Board account through which your student will do applications and apply for financial aid.

There are US college events in the UK where the application process and all the rest of it is explained. I would advise you to go to one ASAP.

Talk ASAP (i.e. next week) to the sixth form college admissions person because there is a lot to do. Don't wait until your DC is in sixth form.

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mathanxiety · 03/04/2021 07:09

Try to track down 'USA College Day 2021' for info on a big university fair held annually. It was held online last year, maybe this year too.

It's possible the US Embassy or the Fulbright Commission would have info for you.

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QGMum · 03/04/2021 10:42

@mathanxiety thank you for the info. I've looked at the Fulbright Commission website and registered for a webinar on admissions happening later this month. The US College fair is in September so we will go to that too. Thanks so much.

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PresentingPercy · 04/04/2021 10:04

It’s very difficult to get any form of help for an art degree. My DD was offers a place at Parsons New York. She got a small scholarship but it was a small dent in the costs. She decided not to go. We calculated the cost would be close to £250,000 for 4 years.

They don’t look at maths etc. They look at portfolio. That’s all! So art isn’t the same at a private art college as a big state university. I went to a Fulbright talk and came away utterly disheartened. The needs blind colleges are great but art is different. I couldn’t see how DD could get any reduction in cost. In the end, it’s not worth it. We have great art colleges here.

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hidingmystatus · 04/04/2021 17:26

We started the US application process (music) at the beginning of Y12, and that was fine for us. The summer between Y12 and Y13 was almost completely taken up with portfolio preparation and entrance essays. My DD was offered merit scholarships (NOT needs, but we wouldn't have qualified for that, I don't think) of between 10% and 35% of the total cost (tuition and board) per year depending on institution.

While I hesitate to disagree with Mathanxiety, it's not absolutely critical that you start before Y12 at all. However, you do need to understand whether you will need an SAT - which needs preparation - whether you want a university, where at least half the first two years will NOT be doing art (if it's anything like music: we were told at every university that at least 50% of the first and second year credits would have to be in maths, humanities, English (college writing), etc).

We had a list of 10/11 institutions (universities and conservatories) by October half-term in Y12, visited them in Feb half-term and Easter of Y12, didn't need an SAT for the conservatories so didn't do that (though DD had been on the prep course run by her school), and spent the summer drafting essays, sorting out the portfolio and making sure we had all the entrance requirements and scholarship application requirements covered before deadline, which was 1 Dec, I think.
You will need support from your school for such things as transcripts, tutor and academic recommendations, and so forth. You can't start that conversation too early if your school doesn't send a fair number of people to the USA.
If you have detailed questions, message me.

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PresentingPercy · 04/04/2021 20:29

Not at Parsons. They are art - no Sats.

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QGMum · 05/04/2021 12:06

@hidingmystatus and @PresentingPercy thank you for sharing your advice and insights

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mathanxiety · 06/04/2021 03:59

Ivy League colleges (plus Univ of Chicago, Stanford for certain, and maybe other highly selective Ivy equivalents) offer fine arts degrees and offer financial aid to international students.

You should leave no stone unturned.

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mathanxiety · 06/04/2021 04:15

Lesser known but very good universities you might look at are Tufts, Williams College, USC, California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo.

Cornell has a good art school. Not sure about finaid for international students.

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PresentingPercy · 06/04/2021 07:23

Why would any of these be better than Slade or Glasgow or St Martins here though? Their reputation doesn’t really compare.

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Empressofthemundane · 06/04/2021 08:56

Art schools that come to mind in the US:
Parsons
Rhode Island School of Design
Ringling school of art and design

US education is eye watering. The financial aid and scholarships available are greatly overstated. (It’s a political crisis is America now.)

With world class schools here, I would think long and hard.

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PresentingPercy · 06/04/2021 11:01

We worked out Parsons NY would cost us £250,000. UAL was way cheaper!

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Magda16 · 06/04/2021 11:06

I’ve worked in schools providing USA advice for years. Don’t do it anymore but can recommend good companies to work with if you would like?

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mathanxiety · 07/04/2021 04:05

I agree that the best UK art schools are excellent, @PresentingPercy.

But an Ivy League degree will open doors all over the world and the Ivies offer financial aid to international students.

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Needmoresleep · 07/04/2021 07:53

Unless money is no object, there are strong US links, or unless someone is absurdly talented, there is probably no harm in studying the UK first and then leaving a top US school until postgraduate.

We have known two who have done this, both to Parsons. One received a Fulbright, and the other may also have received funding.

If you are planning to work in the UK, there is no harm in building UK networks first.

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PresentingPercy · 07/04/2021 08:51

The problem for art students is they may not get into Ivy League as there are very different hoops to go through. Sats for a start. It’s normal to have a portfolio for art. Not necessarily high Sats scores. I’m not sure how many DC in the uk would look at Ivy League for art? Artists would not consider themselves Ivy League students. I think Ivy League is a very different experience and not one artists would really consider.

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hidingmystatus · 07/04/2021 11:47

We had the debate at home about the US. The conclusion was: DD would only go to the US if she got into one of the top 5 schools there, which coincide with top 10 in the world. Otherwise it wasn't worth it.
However, she is looking to a career where the US schools are the best respected in the world, too.

There is no point paying the US fees if you aren't going to get into somewhere that is at least as good as, and as internationally respected in the field you want to enter, everywhere in the UK. It's far too expensive for mediocrity. Sometimes that's going to mean some very hard discussions - it's really difficult to have a conversation that says, effectively:
"You are 16-17-18 and you're about to find out if you actually have any talent."

Obviously you put it more tactfully than that, but that's what it comes down to. Is DC talented enough to go to one of the best institutions in the world? If not, the US is not worth the cost.

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PresentingPercy · 07/04/2021 12:58

We are talking about an Art degree. That is what the OP said. This is not Harvard or MIT territory - with the best will in the world. The institutions I mentioned in the UK are world class. Yes, the USA is fun and has great art colleges too but Ivy League is not where most art students go freom the UK, for very obvious reasons. We are not talking about technology and sciences etc where choices would be different.

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Needmoresleep · 07/04/2021 13:11

Percy, in retrospect was UAL a good choice in comparison with Parsons?

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PresentingPercy · 07/04/2021 13:44

DD changed her mind about the course she actually wanted! So for her, yes. She did a fashion course. I’m not convinced spending £1/4 million was the best way to go. She did work experience (As part of her course) in NY so she benefitted from that. It’s definitely horses for courses but lots of arty students are just not Ivy League students. DD is building up her fashion business and it’s getting noticed in magazines so no negatives really. UAL doesn’t hand hold though and definitely has some lecturers from industry who are great and others who are not.

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hidingmystatus · 07/04/2021 16:35

As I said above, I was coming from a music perspective, which is not an Ivy League perspective either.
But the analysis is the same: are you going to go to a college which is worth the money for the level of your DC's ability and the future prospects they have? The UK has many world-class institutions, so you have to be very sure that the US would be noticeably better for your DC's circumstances.
Sounds like for art, that's absolutely not the case.

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