Interview with Judy Aaron, Admissions & Vice President for Enrollment

Posted in: Admissions

Admissions Perspectives from the Vice-President for Enrollment at Pratt Institute

When selecting prospective students, what factors are considered by your admissions staff? (e.g. grades, portfolio, class rank, etc.)

Academic ability as judged by high school grade-point-average, SAT or ACT scores, visual talent and skill as evidenced by the portfolio, good writing skills, and a passion for the arts.

What do you look for in a prospective student’s portfolio?

Drawing skills as evidenced by observational drawing, sense of color and design, enough samples of work to get a sense of the student’s ability, evidence of a variety of interests, e.g., makes clothes, designs jewelry, sculpts.

What kinds of things are you looking for in an interview with a prospective student?

Ability to talk intelligently about his/her work and goals; eagerness to take direction and continue working; desire to work hard; thoughtfulness about his own work, a passion for art, a sense of creativity and excitement about his/her work.

What three things can most likely DECREASE their chances of getting accepted?

Poor grades, a weak portfolio, attendance problems in high school.

How selective are art schools in general?

Some are more selective than others; Pratt is extremely selective, and these days a student has to have good grades, test scores, and a great portfolio. With an increase of 300 applications each year, acceptance rates have dropped each year for the last nine years.

What advice can you provide to students who are trying to get accepted into art schools?

Make sure the school is the right one for you and then make sure your application is complete with all documentation submitted; submit a portfolio of your best pieces with a variety of work; establish a relationship with an admissions counselor who can fight for you if necessary. Make sure the school knows it is your first choice.

What percentage of applicants to you accept?

Overall 38% with majors ranging from 18% to 40% depending the number of spots available. For example, drawing accepted 26%; fashion accepted 28%;art education accepted 29% Do you have ANY other helpful comments, advice and/or statistics that prospective art students can use?

The most important advice is to visit the schools in which you are interested and try to find the one that feels right to you. Sit in on classes; talk to students; talk to the admissions counselor; visit the website and talk to students. If you don’t get into the school you want, go somewhere else and apply again as a transfer student, but make sure the school accepts transfer students in the major you want first. Many schools have very small transfer classes and some majors are not open to transfers at all.

Explain the similarities and differences between getting accepted into your undergraduate vs. your graduate program.

The requirements for admission are similar in terms of the documents submitted; the standards for the fine arts master’s are obviously much higher since it is expected that the student has had four years of undergraduate preparation in art. Some of our graduate programs are open to career changers and look for strong academic ability and evidence of potential rather than outright evidence of skill. These programs (communications design, industrial design, interior design) offer developmental courses for students who are not yet ready for the graduate level program. These programs are ideal for the student who comes to the realization later in life that he/she wants to work in these fields.