Best Arts Colleges In The USA

Jul 24, 2021

If you have a desire for art, there are some exceptional college options out there for you! Art schools can present you with the tools you need to expand your skills and make a career out of what you love and desire deep down.

In this article, I'll give you a list of the best art schools in the USA, and we’ll go through in detail what each of their programs is like, and give you some suggestions on choosing the right one for you.

What Makes an Eminent Art College?

The top art colleges teach students how to become ingenious, imaginative, and creative across various disciplines and provide them with the instruction and resources that will enable them to fulfill their artistic promise. All the schools on this list are forward-thinking, pioneering well-respected colleges with constantly evolving curriculum that always keep pace with changes in the art world. They have an international name, honor, and strong reputations due to their successes.

These universities offer a variety of majors in artistic development that will lead to fulfilling careers. They also have innovative facilities that allow students to make their visions into a reality, whether that entails welding a giant metal sculpture or creating life-like 3D animations. The digital arts programs are well-known prominents of most of these colleges because knowledge of design programs and other art-making software is vital in the current artistic landscape for students who wish to develop their practice into a career. 

The schools on this list provide outstanding career counseling services to make the shift from student to professional as smooth as possible for their students. Many colleges offer students with the opportunity to work at internships or in other professional development contexts while still in college to develop their experience and be ready to face the real world.

At a renowned art school, you'll be consistently spurred through interactions with some of the most exciting and creative people you'll ever meet. If you love art, these schools will help you develop your passion and take it to places you never thought possible!

Best Arts Colleges In The USA

1. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

RIZ-dee (for the acronym RISD), as it’s popularly called, is one of the oldest and best art colleges in the US. Founded in 1877, the art school has around 2500 students in the Undergraduate and Graduate programs in 21 majors.

For more information about programs offered at the best art school: https://www.risd.edu/academics/

The essential Admission requirement at this art school for the undergraduate art program is that you must have graduated from a secondary school. It’ll help also to take preparatory programs in art and design.

For more information about admission requirements at RIZ-dee: https://www.risd.edu/admissions/first-year/

The acceptance rate at this art school is selective at 24%. Your high school GPA must be around 3.6. This means you must be an above-average student to be accepted. Your SAT scores should be between 1180 – 1440, or your ACT scores should be in the range of 26-32.

Estimated cost of study per year at RIZ-dee is $68,240 + additional costs - Tuition $52,800; Health Insurance $1,460; Room & Board $13,720; and more.

For more information about the estimated cost for one year at the best art school: https://www.risd.edu/student-financial-services/estimated-costs/

International students are not eligible for financial aid

Notable alumni at the best art school: Seth MacFarlane, Kara Walker, Shepard Fairey 

For more information about the best art school: https://www.risd.edu/

Watch videos of the best art school: https://www.youtube.com/user/risdmedia

2. School of Art Institute of Chicago

This private art university was founded in 1866 and is ranked among the top three schools for Visual Communication Design, Painting and Drawing, Photography, and Sculpture. SAIC is also considered the most influential art school in the United States and currently has 2893 undergraduate students in various programs.

For more information about programs offered at the best art school: https://www.saic.edu/admissions/freshmen/areas-of-study#saic

Admission requirements as an international freshman at this art school area as listed above. For more information about admissions at this art school:  https://www.saic.edu/admissions/freshmen/international

The acceptance rate at this art school is around 58%. Your high school GPA must be approximately 3.5 on a scale of 4.0. So you must be an average student to be accepted. Your SAT scores should be between 1120 – 1340, or your ACT scores should be in the range of 22-28. 

Estimated cost of study per year at SAIC is $67,870 + additional costs - Tuition $48,390; Room & Board $14,810; and more.

For more information about the estimated cost for one year at the best art school: https://www.saic.edu/tuition

International students can apply for merit-based aid.

For more information about tuition and financial aid at this art school: https://www.saic.edu/financial-aid/international-financial-aid

Notable alumni at one of the best art schools: Georgia O’Keeffe, LeRoy Neiman, David Sedaris 

For more information about one of the best art schools: https://www.saic.edu/

Watch videos of one of the best art schools:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3-aPcDFeLTcy7mD2tuBniw.

3. Maryland Institute College of Art

MICA, as this private art and design is referred to, was founded in 1826 and is a leader in undergraduate and graduate programs in visual design.

This art school prepares students to experiment and be creative in all they do. Students are encouraged to come up with a modern outlook in art and design.

For more information about programs offered at one of the best art schools: https://www.mica.edu/academics/

International Admission applicants at this art school for the undergraduate art program are offered support services like international orientation, immigration, academic advising, student connectors, academic tutoring, and ESL services.

For more information about admissions at this art school: https://www.mica.edu/applying-to-mica/apply/international-undergraduate/

The acceptance rate at MICA is around 64%.

Your high school GPA must be around 3.47 on a scale of 4.0. Being an average student will help you in getting accepted. Your SAT scores should be between 1030 – 1290, or your ACT scores should be in the range of 22-29.

The estimated cost of study per year at MICA is $62,915 + additional costs.

- Tuition $50,160; Room & Board $12,755; and more.

For more information about the estimated cost for one year at the best art school: https://www.mica.edu/tuition-fees/undergraduate-tuition-fees/

There is no financial aid for international students at this art school, but you can compete for merit-based scholarships. 

For more information about tuition and financial aid at this art school: https://www.mica.edu/financial-aid/undergraduate-financial-aid/new-students/financing-options/scholarships/competitive-scholarships/competitive-scholarships-for-international-students/

Notable alumni at one of the best art school: Jeff Koons, Hans Schuler, Kika Karadi 

For more information about the art schools: https://www.mica.edu/

Watch videos of one of the best art schools: https://www.youtube.com/user/MICAmultimedia

4. California Institute of the Arts

This private art university founded in 1961 offers over seventy-degree programs in visual, performing, media, and literary arts. CALARTS, as it is popularly known, is renowned for its innovative faculty, and the path-breaking cultural impact of its alumni is a homage to what they have learned.

For more information about programs offered one of the best art schools: https://calarts.edu/academics.

Admission requirements at this art school for the undergraduate art program are as mentioned above. It also includes a Declaration of Finances.

For more information about admissions at this art school:  https://calarts.edu/admissions/apply/international-applicants

The acceptance rate at this university is around 23%. Your high school GPA must be 3.34 on a scale of 4.0, and your SAT scores should be at least 1160.

Estimated cost of study per year at CALARTS is $68,156 + additional costs - Tuition $52,850; Room & Board $15,306; and more.

For more information about the estimated cost for one year at the best art school: https://calarts.edu/tuition-and-financial-aid/tuition-fees-and-estimated-expenses/tuition-fees

International students can apply for scholarships from outside resources.

For more information about tuition and financial aid at this art school: https://calarts.edu/tuition-and-financial-aid/financial-aid/financial-aid-resources-international-students

Notable alumni at one of the best art schools: Tim Burton, John Lasseter, Brad Bird 

For more information about one of the best art schools: https://calarts.edu/

Watch videos of one of the best art schools: https://www.youtube.com/user/calarts.

5. Pratt Institute, New York

Set on a 25-acre campus in Brooklyn, this college is considered the epicenter of art and design. It is reputed for its excellent programs and faculty and alumni who are world-renowned artists and designers. This art school is well known for its fine arts, architecture, interior design, industrial design, and graphic design.

For more information about programs offered one of the best art schools: https://www.pratt.edu/academics/.

International admissions to this art school for the undergraduate art program are handled by the Office of Admissions, and requirements are as mentioned above.

For more information about admissions at this art school: https://www.pratt.edu/admissions/applying/applying-undergraduate/ug-application-requirements/international-undergraduate-applicants/

The acceptance rate at this university is around 39%. But your high school GPA must be 3.77 on a scale of 4.0. This means you should be an above-average student to be accepted. Your SAT scores should be between 1110 – 1330, or your ACT scores should be in the range of 26-30.

Estimated cost of attendance per year at Pratt is $ 67,742 + additional costs - Tuition $48,810; Room & Board $12,622; and more.

For more information about the estimated cost for one year at the best art school: https://www.pratt.edu/admissions/financing-your-education/financing-undergraduate/cost-of-attendance/

No financial aid is available for international students. No need-based or even merit-based aid is available for international students.

Notable alumni at one of the best art schools: Betsey Johnson, Robert Redford, Jules Feiffer

For more information about one of the best art schools: https://www.pratt.edu/

Watch videos of one of the best art schools: https://www.youtube.com/user/prattinstitute\

How To Choose The Right Art School For You

It's challenging to decide on the right art school. The first thing you should think about its location. Are you willing to go to another state or country for college? Or would you prefer to stay closer to home? Now, you can decide which schools in the area of your choice appeal to you most.

One factor that sets many of these colleges apart is the level of specialization throughout the curriculum. For example, the Rhode Island School of Design needs a baseline course of study for all freshmen before splitting up into their separate artistic disciplines sophomore year.

But not all programs are similar: some art schools require you to pick an emphasis and get started with the learning process right away! Remember to pay attention to how your degree is structured to make sure it's a good fit for you.

It's also essential to consider whether each school offers the types of opportunities and facilities you want. If you're more design-oriented than fine art-oriented, you might check out a college like Parson's. Its school programs focus on the practical application of design-thinking to solve problems in the real world. 

If you want to spend some time studying abroad in college, you might think about the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which requires students to complete an off-campus study program.

The significant takeaway is this: fully explore what each school has to offer before making a decision. Understand what do you want to get out of your art education? Acknowledge the potential connections you'll form with faculty and the surrounding artistic community. This type of networking can be a huge help down the road. Colleges in New York City like Pratt and Parsons have an advantage in this regard since they're located in one of the art world’s central hubs.

All of the schools mentioned above on this list have great things to offer, but if you choose one that strongly appeals to your interests and provides the particular types of programs you're looking for, you'll be in for an excellent college experience.

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