4 answers

What should I do if I can't make it to Art college after all?

Asked Chester, England, United Kingdom

I'm trying to go to NHIA this fall for a superior education in the Arts, but there's a good chance I won't be able to make it for financial reasons. I'm already accepted, and they've already given me a large scholarship, but it's just not quite enough yet. I don't think you can learn as much from experimentation as you can from learning from experts. My current teacher is running out of things to talk about, and she can't take the time to study college-level courses to help me, because she's got her own career to take. I feel like if I don't get to college this year, I'll bust! #art #life #drawing #painting

4 answers

Andy’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

Hi Sylvia,

Sorry to hear about your situation. You should schedule an appointment with the financial advisors at your school. They will often have some alternative solutions such as work study or other financial aid. Depending on your family income you might also qualify for Pell grants or other financial aid from the federal government:


Look for additional scholarships. Your school should be able to provide you with resources.

Another option would be to work for a year or go to community college first and then transfer in later, deferring your enrollment. More and more people are taking "gap years" to get work and world experience before settling down and focusing on school:


Don't get discouraged. There are many available options out there for people looking to invest in their education and pursue their passions. I hope that this helps.

Vivian’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

Hi Sylvia,

First off, congratulation on getting into NHIA and receiving the scholarship. That is an amazing achievement on its own. I actually went through the exact same thing when I was looking for colleges. The question you have to contemplate is, "What is more important?" 1. Going to NHIA, use the scholarship, work or take out loans? or 2. Go to a lesser known school, bust your butt and gain knowledge and experience by other means? I don't want you to think that I'm encouraging you to take the latter, because ultimately that decision is yours to make. However, for myself, I simply didn't want to come out of college with debt. My family struggled to paid their own bills and just couldn't afford to help me with my college tuition. Also, I witness friends and talked with strangers who struggle to pay off their college debt. I didn't want that to hang over me, if I wanted to do something like design.

There's also this misconception that in order to be a successful artist/designer/art person, you have to go to art school. That's not necessarily true. There have been tons of people who enter into the professional world as self-taught individuals and went to public state colleges. Yes, you will miss out on the experts teaching you the latest and greatest, but you can learn a lot of that now even on the net or via meetup.

Be encouraged! People who choose to go into the art field is always the one more true to their inner calling. I hope this helps. Feel free to ask more specific questions.

Dream big, Vivian

David’s Answer

Updated Waco, Texas

Experimentation is the single most important tool in developing as an artist. Schools are nice. That is all, just nice. Who taught Picasso Cubism? Pollock drip painting? I did not go to art school. I do not have a degree in art. I did have two well known artists take an interest in me. One by chance the other by critique. A diploma only means that you sat in class and later took tests and gave the right answers. That is not proof that you are an artist and worthy of hire, it means you went to class and stayed awake. Lectures are available online and inperson, you don't always need to be enrolled to sit in. I learned camera and lighting at Panavision in North Hollywood for free.I taught myself charcoal, pastels and oil by going to museums and looking at the techniques used by the great artists.

I have been making my living for the most part in the arts for 30 years without a degree. Steven Spielberg finally earned his degree in film by submitting as his finals project a little film titled "Schindler's List".

Theresa’s Answer

Updated Detroit, Michigan

If you feel you absolutely must go to college you must exhaust all options first. Go to the Dean or Director of that school and ask them for guidance. You're not the first student in this predicament. Go to the Financial Aid office. They help students all day long with this very thing. Ask relatives, my girls did. I have 4 daughters and after paying for private tuition for 20 years, we are tapped out, yet all of them are either through or currently in college.

Myself, I never finished college. I found doing, doing, doing to be the best teacher. Are you self-motivated? I was and now have my own company and employ 3 people full time. I just kept teaching myself and rubbing elbows with people in my field. College is not the be all, end all. Or you just take classes here and there that you feel you must have. Most important, know yourself well.