How to Evaluate Fine and Performing Arts School

Choosing a fine and performing arts school or program can be a difficult and time-consuming choice. At first you will need to make many decisions: whether you wish to pursue a degree, diploma or certificate; study on a full-time or part-time basis; what majors and areas of specialization interest you; how important special features such as co-op, international exchange and so forth are to your decision; and the importance of cost, location and other similar factors. Once you have decided on these, you will still need to undertake a significant exploration and consultation to focus your interests and choice of a fine and performing arts school.

Here is a step-by-step process to help you evaluate each school or program:

  • Visit the school's website. Most fine and performing arts schools provide detailed information about their programs - degrees/diplomas/certificates offered, amount of tuition and fees, admission requirements and intake times, student demographics, faculty qualifications, industry experience and research accomplishments, and more! Often the school's website will provide a "Q&A" or FAQ page which will answer the most common questions about the school.

  • Visit the school. Many fine and performing arts schools also have "open days" where high school students are invited to tour the school for a day. Campus visits allow you to learn things about the institution that might not be obvious from their marketing materials, such as facilities, campus lay-out, transportation and how it feels to be on campus.

  • Speak with an admissions counsellor or academic advisor: they have a thorough knowledge of the curriculum and study programs that can lend a perspective to your decisions, and sometimes lead you in new directions.  

  • Research other sources of information.  There is a wealth of things that you can do here:

    • If you know past graduates of the school, talk with them about their experiences while a student.

    • Confirm which organizations have recruited graduates in the past and talk with their human resources departments to determine their satisfaction with the school's graduates and programs, whether they continue to recruit from them, and whether they value the school over others on a regular basis.

    • Search the Internet for information on awards and achievements bestowed on specific fine and performing arts schools - competitions won, faculty honours, research grants, etc.

    • Consult Facebook and other social networking sites that may provide testimonials and other student comments on specific fine and performing arts schools and the programs they offer.
Then match these facts and figures against the visual, fine and performing arts schools that you are evaluating.

Check out CampusStarter's database of Canadian Fine and Performing Arts Schools and Programs