Seniors plan to pursue arts in college


Alex Muzila

Shot from Muzila’s film

Mandy Maselli , Staff Writer

   For most Weston seniors, the school’s culture of applying to elite colleges and universities guides their post-high school planning. Art schools are not often the traditional choice, but each year several students from WHS have chosen to look at various art schools or programs to pursue a career in a creative field. These applicants must tackle the rigorous process of creating a portfolio or preparing an audition in order to apply to these institutions, which can be just as selective as other colleges. 

   “The admission process for art school looks very similar to the admission process for any school, except for your area of art you may have to submit a portfolio,” said guidance counselor Maryann Shea said. The type of art school students apply to will dictate what is required. 

   For music schools, the applicant must audition by playing multiple pieces for review. For vocals, the applicants must audition as well.  The music department at WHS works to help prepare students for these challenges.

   “What I think we do pretty well here [WHS] is creating interest, passion, and achievement,” said Christopher Memoli, the music department director.

   WHS offers many resources to help students succeed in their applications when applying to art schools.

   “Our art department does a fabulous job. Our art teachers know a lot about putting together a portfolio,” Shea said.                

   The more advanced art classes prep students for the application requirements. “Last year I put together an art portfolio in Art 3,” said Thalia Papageorgiou, a Weston senior who is considering studying art as a minor in college. For Papageorgiou and others, the fact that higher level art classes, such as Art 3 or 4, enable students to create portfolios for their college applications is very helpful.

   At WHS there are a wide variety of art classes available, which allows students to explore their interests to figure out their niche.

   “I have taken video production, and Art 2, 3, and 4,” said Papageorgiou. These classes help students curate their own interests. 

   There is a very big difference in the application process between fine arts and theater. For those interested in studying drama, an audition is often necessary. 

   “There are two ways to audition for theater programs. Some programs have a BFA (Bachelors of Fine Arts) and other programs offer a BA (Bachelors of Arts). The difference is that the BFA programs typically require an audition,” said Anne Issacs, WHS drama director. These auditions usually involve a prepared monologue and some kind of improvisation.

   Those applying to art programs need to have both the talent and the grades to obtain admission.

   “Depending on the school, the application will need the approval of both the art and admissions departments at a college,” said Shea. In the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, for example, there is an audition for the theater program for actors that plays a major role in one’s application, but grades and other academic indicators are also considered.

   WHS is able to offer students opportunities to create these portfolios or audition material given the range of classes available and support for the arts.

  “There is more openness in the community to students [going to art school],” said Shea. Many schools do not have the resources or ability to put money into art programs; however, Weston does. 

   Some students involved in the arts in high school and who intend to pursue this interest in college still feel their choices are not as supported as other options. 

   “Doing the arts rather than sports or extra academics should be more of an acceptable thing,” said Alex Muzila, a senior applying to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts’ film school. 

   Papageorgiou agrees. “There is not a lot of emphasis on the arts in Weston.”

   The application process for art school can be quite long and hard, but for Muzila, the work involved in applying to film schools was worth it.

   “In addition to having to make a film you have tons of essays. For me, the schools I was applying to had seven to eight essays,” said Muzila. 

   Most students at Weston who take art, music or drama classes do not end up applying to fine or performing arts schools; however, students are still required to take three semesters worth of art credits at Weston, and for some, fulfilling that requirement is the start of a lifelong love of the arts. 

   “Art is for everybody. We encourage all students to get involved in the arts for reasons beyond art school,” said art department director, Christopher Fehl. “Art can help de-stress a student and provide a creative outlet; it helps you  stretch into the unknown.”