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What Can An Art Supplement Really Help With?

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Reuben Stern in a CollegeVine Livestream. You can watch the full Livestream for more info.

 

What’s Covered:

 

 

What is the Purpose of an Art Supplement?

 

On some college applications, you’ll have the opportunity to add an optional art supplement. Can this really help? What, exactly, will it do for your likelihood of admission?

 

Let’s say you’re an excellent oboist. You’re principal chair in the All State orchestra. Maybe you’ve done a number of summer festivals in music, and you’re a truly skilled musician.

 

You record a supplement between 7-15 minutes, playing solo, with or without accompaniment. This ends up being shared with the orchestra director or conductor at the college. 

 

Perhaps this individual really wants a talented oboist in their orchestra, so they tell the admissions committee. That can be an enormous help for you and your application.

 

What’s Considered High-Level Art Talent?

 

What, precisely, does “extremely talented” mean when it comes to playing music? 

 

If you’ve won some concerto competitions, that’s certainly an indication. Or, if you’ve done any excellent solo recording or sit as first chair of a local youth orchestra — usually at the state level — that also suggests you’re at a high enough level.

 

If you have any doubts about your abilities, you should ask your music teachers or others who have a good handle on what constitutes musical talent. They can review your materials and make a suggestion about whether you should submit your supplement.

 

Do You Always Need to Submit an Art Supplement?

 

The short answer is “no.” You can also record a supplement and choose not to submit it. You could even choose to submit a supplement to only a couple different schools. It’s never necessary, and it will never count against you if you don’t submit an art supplement. But if you have real talent, it could be worth it.

 

The exception, of course, is if you’re applying to an arts school, such as a conservatory. For example, schools like Northwestern’s conservatory have a separate application for musicians or art students.

 

But an art supplement is intended for liberal arts schools and universities, not specialized institutions. And you will never be required to submit one, no matter what your intended major — nor will a lack of a supplement count against you.


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At CollegeVine, experts host weekly livestreams on college admissions topics, including application advice, essay writing tips, and college information sessions. To register or check out more livestreams, visit www.collegevine.com/livestreams.