Choosing to continue your studies within a form of the fine arts after high school graduation is both risky and expensive. However, if done correctly, it can pay off in the form of success and self-fulfillment. The most important thing is that you can tell the difference between a hobby and a possible career. Once you’re able to objectively make that choice, you can move forward and determine what direction to travel in next.
Subjects may include painting, sculpting, dancing, singing, acting, directing, and numerous other majors offered at colleges across the country.
Below are a series of questions that you should ask yourself before looking at (or applying to) any college in particular.
· Do I love what I do enough to do it every single day for the rest of my life? If the answer is yes, consider majoring in the fine arts.
· Will my imagination and creativity feel forced if my hobby becomes a full-time career? If the answer is yes, reconsider majoring in the fine arts. You might be better off enjoying your talent as a hobby, rather than something you have to do in order to put food on the table.
· Do I honestly believe that my talents warrant enough interest to become successful? If the answer is yes, consider majoring in the fine arts. But you must be realistic. This is vital. You need to know, in your heart, that you have what it takes and that you stand out from the competition. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.
· Do I have any form of a backup plan? If the answer is yes, consider majoring in the fine arts. As long as you have a well thought-out plan, you’ll be able to survive the worst case scenario.
· Would I enjoy working in the career of my backup plan, while making a hobby of my dancing/acting/singing/etc.? If the answer is yes, seriously consider doing exactly that; making a career out of your backup plan while choosing a minor in the field of your hobby. You can still break through the ice during your free time, without necessarily having to do it for a living.
After working your way through these questions, if you still want to study the fine arts as a career, you should keep the following advice in mind.
· Attend a university that is located near a large city, where you can book gigs and find jobs while you’re in school. If you plan on doing this for a living, you need to start getting your name out there as soon as possible. Some careers, such as mathematicians or engineers, can afford to wait until after school. You can’t.
· Attend a university that has notable financial aid for a majority of their students. You need to avoid taking out as many loans as possible, because you’ll find that they are very difficult to pay back on the salary that you’ll likely be starting out with. Prepare yourself for that reality. It’s better to go to a more affordable university (and maybe transfer after your second year) than to spend $50,000-$60,000 a year on a prestigious school that focuses on fine arts. Your talents alone are what matter in this business, not where you went to school.
· Choose a minor that reflects your back-up plan. While singing, dancing, acting, and painting are inspirational and memorable careers, you need to choose something less competitive as a fallback, in case you find that breaking through is proving nearly impossible to do. Popular back-up plans for fine arts students are journalism, entrepreneurship, social studies, and education.
· If you’re going to go to school, get your Bachelor’s degree. It shows initiative, and gives you more options after graduation. Many jobs require a Bachelor’s degree, but don’t specify what field they should be attained in. You can use this to your advantage while waiting for your other career to take off.
· Be prepared for a struggle. It’s going to be difficult to make ends meet, at first. Stay with your parents for as long as possible, in order to save up money. Then, find a job in a related field and begin the process of being discovered. It might help to secure several roommates and find an apartment in the city.
· Don’t give up on yourself. It only takes one other person to believe in you for your entire life to change overnight.
· Create an amazing resume. This is how potential employers are going to get to know you. And, as you already know, we can help you with that.
· Post online every chance you get. So many musicians and artists are breaking the mold this way, and you might find that you can use this less-traditional method to get your name out there.
By being realistic, engaged, and prepared, you’ll find that studying the fine arts is simpler than you ever imagined. Good luck!