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Getting into Graphic Design Schools
Getting an excellent graphic design education comes first. Before you can begin working on that dream of having your designs featured on posters and window displays the world over, you have to get the graphic design expertise to be able to hit the ground running. Though certain aspects of graphic design can indeed be self-taught, getting a graphic design degree is still the best way to go about it. Not only do you get a well-rounded education by taking a wide variety of classes taught from the perspectives of multiple teachers, but a degree in your hand enhances your credibility in your employer's eyes as well.
But even before that happens, you have to be accepted into a graphic design school first.
No matter how great your artistic talent, you still can't afford to completely disregard the basics. A strong academic record is the foundation upon which the rest of your art school application is built. For high schoolers, that means decent grades and mandatory test scores. For all others, a high school diploma or GED is a necessary prerequisite in most cases. Check out your specific school's policy on prior academic history.
If other graphic design classes are available to you, then take them whenever you have the chance! Not only do relevant courses look good on your application, but they have practical value as well. This should be an easy tip to follow if you're truly passionate about graphic design, because more likely than not, you'll be itching to learn all you can about your intended field. Classes specifically on design are a no-brainer, but don't hesitate to branch out a little bit as well: fine art, painting, photography, and computer courses can all help you out along the way.
Even more impressive than taking the art class offered at your school is taking the one that isn't. Those who choose to enroll in graphic design classes at a local community college, or attend a graphic design workshop during the summer, or even travel to hear a lecture held by a renowned graphic designer are showing a level of enthusiasm for the subject that speaks louder than words. And even if you can't find a way to study under official outside programs, there are always tutorials and online forums that you can use to hone your skills.
Hands-on experience is a great boost to your application. Take the old adage of getting a summer job to a whole new level by getting one pertinent to graphic design. Whether it's working as an assistant to a professional designer or selling your own hand-made greeting cards at an art festival, practical experience is a definite boost.
Flattery works wonders; miracles, even, if it's genuine. After hearing about your passion for graphic design, the next thing that art schools want to hear about is your passion for them. Call them up to ask for information, sign up for their email lists at college fairs, show up on campus for guided tours, ask for an interview if one is available. The more interest you demonstrate, the more likely a school is to remember you. Just beware of crossing the line from sweet to smarmy.
The worst thing that can possibly happen? No, it's not getting rejected from the graphic design school of your dreams (hint: safety schools are always a must-have). It's missing the deadline completely and never knowing, forever afterwards, what could have happened if you had made it. Don't let it happen to you-keep a handy calendar, notebook, or spreadsheet within reach to keep track of when important dates fall. All your hard work at assembling the components of a strong graphic design school application could go down the drain if you miss but a single deadline.
Now that you've got the fundamentals of a strong graphic design school application down, it's time to find out where to submit it to. Start searching today, and perhaps in a few months or a year, you'll be happily working away towards your graphic design degree.