A person interested in history and the arts may want to know if there are specific requirements for applying to college for an art history degree. The answer to this is somewhat complicated because every university has its requirements for applying for admission, and those requirements tend to be different from one institution to the next. There are some similarities that college applicants should understand as they prepare their admissions documents.
Basic Steps to Applying for an Art History Degree at a College or University
There are several basic and identical steps required to apply to college and earn an art history degree. According to U.S. News and World Report, those steps include deciding whether to apply for early decision or regular admission; determining which application platform and which supplemental materials are required; and selecting and completing an essay prompt. The other necessary steps include submitting official high school transcripts, sending basic personal information and submitting standardized test scores. Students should also plan to seek two or three letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors or other professionals at least two months before the application to an art history college is due.
Submit Relevant Volunteer Experience
Art history is a high-demand and competitive major. A student who wants to major in art history should be prepared to submit some relevant volunteer or internship experience as a part of their college application. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a candidate might need to work part-time or volunteer at an institution that is related to hart history. For example, a high school student might gain relevant experience by volunteering as a tour guide at an art history museum. They might also apply for a job in the gift shop at a museum. Volunteering at an art gallery or cultural center for the arts would also be relevant experience for a college application to an art history program.
Take a Range of High School Classes
In an art history program, students are expected to have a well-rounded liberal arts education. In high school, the student should take visual and performing arts classes. They should also take several history classes. English and language arts classes are also important for the college application. A student should also have some courses related to culture, sociology, business, civics and mathematics. These courses will prepare the student for the college curriculum.
Gain Experience in the Arts
Colleges look for students with well-rounded experiences. Beyond the academic scores and performance, colleges that offer an art history major also look at the student’s application to find out if they have a focused passion in a particular area. According to the National Society of High School Scholars, colleges also look at what the applicant has done around their passion. For example, a student who wants to major in art history may want to list their favorite art museums, historical centers or sites or their involvement in arts education and historical societies.
Demonstration of Meaningful Involvement
Students applying for an art history degree should demonstrate meaningful involvement in the arts and history. For example, a student should have a portfolio of their artwork. They should also be able to describe their meaningful experiences related to history, culture and the arts. One example could be an extracurricular trip to a historical site of significance to the arts. Another example of meaningful involvement in art history for a college application could be a senior project related to historical arts.
Understand the Diversity of Art History and Where It Can Lead
Few people who study art history will become museum curators, archivists or established historians. According to the Washington Post, the education and experiences learned in an art history degree program sets up a person to become an architect, public relations, interior design, retail psychology, marketing, video game design, art education and community recreation leaders. Colleges want students to demonstrate their understanding that an art history degree can lead to many satisfying careers in the humanities.
Showing an Appreciation for Culture
Diversity continues to be important in college admissions. According to Salon, tolerance and acceptance of other cultures, their history and their accomplishments are quite important to college admissions officers. College campuses tend to be diverse places, especially schools that are known for their liberal arts degrees and other arts programs. An applicant to an art history degree should show that they accept and appreciate all cultures, including those from the past and those in the present day. This may be reflected in an essay, volunteer work or other parts of a college application.
Related Resource: What Can I Do With An Art History Degree?
Appreciation for the Learning Process
A person who earns a degree in art history is likely to be a person who educates others. Colleges will look for the applicant’s appreciation and respect for the learning process. This may be demonstrated through trends in increasingly difficult classes or increased responsibility in an extracurricular activity. For example, a student who volunteers at a community center in its arts programs might show that their first year of volunteering included organizing supplies; their second year was setting out supplies for classes and their third year involved assisting students with their artwork.
Applying to a college requires doing some research and taking specific steps to meet that educational institution’s requirements. It is important that a student not miss any of the steps, as one error or one overlooked item could result in their application being thrown out or deleted. Knowing if there are specific requirements for applying to college for an art history degree helps a student to be fully prepared for the admissions process.