The path to advertising jobs goes through an educational institution. Finding and being accepted by the right one can be a time-consuming process. Here are some ideas for applying for a school for the Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree:
- During your junior year of high school, take the college entrance exams. If you are not satisfied with your scores, you still have time to retake the tests.
- The summer before your senior year in high school, or that fall, visit selected college campuses. Visit classes, take a tour of the campus and dormitories, and talk to current students.
- As soon as your senior year of high school starts, talk to your school advisor. They will have information about colleges, scholarship programs, and they can help you with applications.
- Decide on the colleges that you will apply to.
- In October, ask teachers, advisors, and bosses for letters of recommendation. You will need them to add to your applications.
- Make sure you know what the colleges require with the application. If a personal essay is required, start on it.
- In November, submit the applications. Be sure to send everything listed—the application, essay, letters of recommendation, and so forth. Have your ACT/SAT scores sent to the schools you choose, if they haven’t been sent already.
- In January, have the grades from the first semester of your senior year sent to the colleges of your choice.
- From January to March, fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid); the sooner the better.
- The acceptances will be coming in, so prioritize the schools by your criteria.
- Make your decision and start planning for your first year of college.
Application for a graduate school is somewhat different. Find out what advertising degrees are available at each school. Check out the requirements for entrance to the advanced degree programs. You will probably need to take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) before being accepted. Plan time for self-study or take a tutoring class and sign up for the exam. Scores from the GRE should be sent to your school choices. Consider the possibility of your employer reimbursing or helping with the costs. Decide whether or not you will continue to work during school. Gather any information that the school requires, submit the application, and wait for the acceptances. Prioritize the schools by first choice, second choice, and so on, and choose the one you most want to attend.
Graphic Design School Accreditation
To have a solid start for advertising jobs, people should attend accredited schools. The accreditation of a college or university ensures that the school has met or exceeded standards for its programs. Most colleges in the United States are accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies. For example, The Western Association of Schools and Colleges provides accreditation for schools in the western U.S. You can visit the agency’s website or the site of the Department of Education to determine the accreditation status of the colleges and universities that you are considering.
Graphic design schools need to have accreditation from a valid organization to be valuable for your future career. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) have an extensive program for providing credentials. The Association is an organization of about 300 accredited schools and universities. These schools have met or exceeded standards set by NASAD. They include standards for both undergraduate and graduate programs. A student who attends a school accredited by NASAD can be assured that the education they receive will meet the expectations of any employer.
The AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) is professional organization for those in the graphic arts field. They are working on an accreditation program and they have a wealth of information about schools on their website.
Accreditation is an important factor in your choice of school. The school should have recognized credentials, as well as those available for graphic design. When you attend an accredited school, your courses, professors, and degree plans all meet standards that will put you ahead of other graduates once you are looking for advertising jobs. Checking the accreditation level of the schools you are considering is a crucial part of your school selection.