Getting into Stanford as an Artist

Martha Collins
Martha Collins

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 Stanford University often earns association with Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, or Engineering. Although Stanford has one of the top STEM programs in the world, the competitive university has expanded in another area: the arts. It may seem counterintuitive to apply to such a STEM based school if you are passionate about the arts. In the past few years, however, we’ve seen something new. Stanford has made a conscious effort to improve its programs and facilities in dance, music, art practice, and art history. This article discusses my journey of getting into Stanford as an artist.

In 2013, the university finished the construction of Stanford Bing Concert Hall. Additionally, Stanford built the McMurtry Building, which is home to the school’s art and art history department. These state-of-the-art facilities indicate Stanford’s growing interest in the arts, and that the school is looking for students to take advantage of these new buildings and programs. 

My journey began…

I personally applied to Stanford as a classically trained ballet dancer who was interested in studying art history. I attended a performing arts high school and had a strong passion for all things artistic. After submitting the common app along with an arts supplement, I was beyond thrilled to find out that I was accepted into Stanford.

Here are some ways you can use your artistic talents and aspirations to get into Stanford University and other top colleges:

Excel in your art form

Colleges like Stanford are looking for students who are incredibly skilled in their craft. In other words, they are looking for artists who are training at a pre-professional level. If you are a musician, start taking classes outside of your high school and join the county orchestra. If you are a dancer, try to take dance classes outside of your local studio and audition for nationally ranked programs.  

Attend summer intensives

 The summer is a wonderful time to enroll in advance programs for your prospective art. Empowerly has created a list of top art summer intensives here. Not only will summer art programs take your artistic talent to the next level, but they will also look great on college applications. 

Combine art and charitable work

Use your artistic talent to raise awareness and/or money for a cause you care about. For example, I put together a dance show and donated the money to a shelter for battered women.

Take an art class at the college

When visiting a college such as Stanford, see if you can drop in and take a dance, music, or art class. 

Submit an arts supplement

Sending in an arts supplement can show colleges that you are serious about your art form. Empowerly can help you decide how to craft your arts supplement here.

Recap: Getting into Stanford as an Artist

Although Stanford is one of the most competitive schools in the nation, having an impressive background in the arts can be a leg-up during the application process. Stanford’s beautiful, new, art-focused buildings demonstrate the university’s interest in attracting artists. 

As for myself, I am starting Stanford’s brand new Master’s program in Art History. I believe that artists have a special place at Stanford; and that if you are interested in the arts, Stanford may be the perfect fit for you. 

Questions? Let us know!