Many students emerge from high school with talents that lead them toward careers in the visual or performing arts. Students must be willing to do research to find the schools with the best programs. The first choice that a student must make is the type of college environment they want—a large university or a smaller specialty college.
Any student committed to their craft in the performing or visual arts can achieve great success in specialized colleges, but know that if your career goals change, you might have to change schools. Certain colleges are built for only specialized programs, such as Savannah College of Art and Design.
Creative students can benefit from being surrounded by other students who share the same interests and perspectives. While many programs and majors are offered that relate to the visual arts, if a student changes their mind and wishes to seek something like a business, medical, or social sciences major, this is not available at the college. Transferring colleges would be your only option.
Large universities typically organize themselves into smaller colleges. You might find a college of music or visual arts within the larger university structure. If you change your mind about a major, you may not have to uproot yourself and attend a new school.
Keep in mind when you apply to the college, there may be additional requirements for admission into the program you desire. Just because you receive a letter of admission from the university, it may not mean you have been admitted to the program you intend to pursue.
Students are expected to demonstrate their abilities to the selection committees. You may need to audition (in-person or virtually), provide a detailed resume of your achievements and awards, or submit a portfolio of your work. You will need to demonstrate your talent, as the reviewers of your information will likely be professors within your specialized field and not the general admission officers. It is also critical that you meet both the university and program deadlines for your applications.
Commitment is the key, as the question will arise if you want to major in a program or just be a part of the academic and extracurricular offerings. Theater majors can still get involved in college musicals without having to be theater majors. A high percentage of the marching band members at any university or college are not music majors. If you love art or dance, colleges with these programs will certainly allow students to enroll in classes to grow their knowledge and skills.
The question is: Do you choose to major in your chosen field, or do you wish to be a part of a group while pursuing other academic programs? The best advice is to research your potential colleges carefully, understand how they are structured, talk with representatives of the programs, and be ready to demonstrate your skills!