Many students will tell you that their art college of choice solidified at National Portfolio Day, but that’s not how it happened for me. I was never able to go to National Portfolio Day, thanks to Saturday being the day for marching band competitions. Luckily, my parents were able to go my sophomore year, with my portfolio and a list of what to say if asked in hand. When they came home, a new school had moved on to my mom’s radar: SMFA at Tufts.
My mom did extensive research on college admissions when my brother and I got to high school. She was dedicated to getting us into the best college possible in our areas of interest. Of course, she also had her own ideas about what the best school would look like. My mom went to a small, private university and loved it, so she thought I would love it too. I wanted my college to have more students than my high school, which was already huge, so small schools were not shooting to the top of my list. Despite the differences in our lists, we shared ideas about wanting great financial aid and to be located in a city.
One of the SMFA Admissions counselors, Angela, came to my school shortly after National Portfolio Day, which gave me an opportunity to talk to her 1-on-1 about the school and what made it unique. Talking to her, SMFA sounded like the ideal melding of my mom’s list and my own. It was a small art school within a medium-sized liberal arts university, giving both specialized and broad access to resources on both campuses. Best of all, the financial aid policy was ideal, especially for art school. Our talk, most importantly of all, made me excited in a way other colleges hadn’t. Angela was excited to talk about my work, my ideas, and how SMFA could support them. I remember going home and telling my mom all about it. The fact that I had never been to Boston wouldn’t stop me either. I applied Early Decision II, got in, and haven’t looked back since.
Now, going into my senior year, I wouldn’t do the process any differently. I’ve been able to explore mediums high-school-me dreamed about trying, like animation, fibers, and 3D modeling, that have become integral to my practice. I’ve also grown a community of friends and collaborators that are making exciting and thought-provoking work in a city with a lively art community. My favorite part of the experience has been the freedom to explore what I believe will advance my practice, whether it be a new medium or an academic class.
My favorite days are the days I come to SMFA and stay all day, working and attending class. The SMFA atrium is a beautiful place to take a lunch break with friends, work on the computer, or read, especially when there’s a show of student work on display. Seeing the diverse things students create here invigorates me and inspires me all the time. To me, SMFA at Tufts is a place tailor-made for creating community and exploring all that your artistic practice can be in the time you’re here.