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 official high school transcripts for admission purposes 

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

The digital portfolio should include 10 to 15 images of the applicant’s original work (no more than three (3) detail shots should be included). 

The digital portfolio should include at least three (3) examples of observational drawings and at least one (1) should be a still life.

Artwork images must be submitted as jpegs and should be approximately 800 x 600 pixels at 300 DPI. 

The digital portfolio must be accompanied by a typed portfolio inventory sheet.

The portfolio inventory sheet may contain a very brief commentary on concept, process, or other relevant information.  

The portfolio inventory sheet must provide the following details:

  • Names of the files submitted
  • Titles of the works included
  • Medium or media of the depicted works
  • Actual size of the works
  • Dates that the works were completed
  • Identification of the computer platform necessary to view the files (MAC or PC)

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.