Admission Requirements

  Apply Now!

 $40 Application Fee

A $40 application fee must be paid when submitting the application. The application fee can be paid online. 

 Official SAT and/or ACT Test Scores

  • SAT and/or ACT scores must be submitted by the testing agency to be considered official
  • Use the following codes to ensure scores are sent to SSA (SAT 7260, ACT : 6916)
  • Test scores are not required if applicant finished high school more than two years prior to applying for admission


Applicants who are high school seniors must provide high school transcripts for admission purposes. If accepted, offical transcripts must be submitted to the office of admission. 

A certificate of General Educational Development (GED) from the American Council of Education is considered equivalent to a diploma from a U.S. high school. 

Transfer applicants must submit official college transcripts from all previous institutions attended

Home schooled students must provide the following:

  • Verification that the home school attended was officially recognized by the applicant’s state of residence, prior to the student’s graduation  

A detailed outline of the home school curriculum, including:

  • Subject areas studied                                    
  • Total hours spent within each discipline                                  
  • Grade awarded (if applicable)

NOTE: A home-school academic portfolio may fulfill this requirement          

For applicants from countries other than the United States, Southwest School of Art generally uses the standards established by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers to determine the equivalent academic achievement.   

 Advance Placement Credit 

The BFA program at SSA will also offer Credit through Advanced Placement, CLEP, DANTES/DSST, and the International Baccalaureate. For more information, please click here.

IMPORTANT: The final 30 BFA Degree credits must be taken at Southwest School of Art. 

 Admission Essay

Select one of the following essay questions. Please type on a separate sheet of paper with your name in the upper right corner of each page. The essays should be approximately 250-500 words.  Essays can be uploaded during the application process or they can be emailed/mailed to the office of admission.

  1. Write an autobiographical essay that tells us something about yourself that you feel is significant to your application and our perception of you.
  2. You just received notice that you were awarded a $10,000 grant to produce an art or design project anywhere in the world. Describe where would you go, the project you would create and why.
  3. Throughout history, artists have been influenced by the places they have traveled, events they have experienced and relationships they have cultivated. What individual (artist or otherwise), event, or personal experience has had a profound effect on you?
  4. Artists often have a specific idea which they are exploring through their work that may not be obvious to the observer. What would you like us to know about your artwork that we might not be able to see from your portfolio?
  5. Based on your life experience, describe your understanding of cultural differences, how this understanding was acquired, and how it has affected you. 

 Letter of Recommendation

  • One (1) letter of recommendation is required, but up to three (3) may be submitted. Click HERE to download the form. 

 Digital Portfolio

Preparing Your Digital Portfolio

Your digital portfolio should include 10 to 15 images of your best work.

All mediums are accepted and please submit only finished and original work. By finished we mean completed (so yes, sketch book images are fine as long as they are completed) and by original we mean from your own creative mind (Manga/Comic drawings are acceptable as long as you made up the characters). Please no more than three detail shots.

Your digital portfolio should include one still life.

This will be a drawing from direct observation, so please set up a dynamic composition that uses five objects. These objects can be found around your home but show careful thought when choosing which you will draw. The final step is to place a strong light source on your composition doing your best to accurately depict the values of light to dark with your shading.

Your digital portfolio should include one piece that shows your personal commentary on a current social topic.

This is not medium specific, what we are looking for are your thoughts and your research put into an artwork that speaks to our times.

Artwork images should not be over 5MB in file size.

Your digital portfolio must be accompanied by a typed inventory sheet. The sheet must contain the following information and formatting for each piece:

  • Names of the files submitted (formatted with no spaces as: 01_lastname_portfolio_imagetitle, 02_lastname_portfolio_imagetitle, 03_lastname_portfolio_imagetitle, etc…)
  • Titles of the works included
  • Medium or media of the depicted works
  • Actual size of the works (H” x W”x D”)
  • Dates that the works were completed
  • A brief description of the creative thought behind the piece

In addition to the required items above, please share with us other parts of your creative activities (soundcloud links, poems, videos of dance, cooking, etc…) we would love to learn more about you through these activities.

IMPORTANT:  Once submitted, digital portfolios become part of the applicant's file and will not be returned. Applicants should keep a copy of their digital portfolio for their own records.

 Evidence of English Proficiency

English is the language of instruction in the BFA degree program at Southwest School of Art. 

Evidence of English proficiency may be requested at any point during the application process if an applicant's English proficiency is in question.  

Evidence can be submitted in any of the following ways:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) minimum scores:

  • 550 on the paper-based test
  • 85 on the Internet-based test with minimum score of 20 on each section

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) composite score of at least 6.5 with a score of at least 6.5 in both speaking and writing.

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) score of at least 500 on the critical reading portion, or 22 on both the reading and writing sections of the ACT

 International Application Requirements

International students should adhere to the same admission requirements and portfolio guidelines as outlined above.

International students must submit officially translated international transcripts and proof of English proficiency to be considered for admission.

SAT/ACT scores are required for international students who have graduated from high school within the past two (2) years, if one of the following situations applies:

  • Student graduated from a U.S. high school
  • Student is a citizen of an English-speaking country
  • Student graduated from a high school in a country in which English is the national language

Any other documents or materials required to obtain a student visa.


Contact Us

Lauri Garcia Jones
Recruitment & Admissions Officer
 Send Admissions an email   

E-News Signup

Would you like to keep up to date on our latest news, course offerings and exhibitions? Sign up for our e-newsletter below!

eNewsletter Sign-up

Your Information
Click to view help for this field.