Tips & Tricks On How To Apply To Design School!

Saheim Clervoix, Staff Writer

As of April, I committed to Parsons School Of Design, with plans of majoring in Strategic Design & Management as well as a minor in both public relations and photography. However, my decision on what I wanted to do was not a very easy process; I’m here to offer some advice and tips to make the whole process easier for some of you.

Last year, I knew which career field that I wanted to enter, but I didn’t know which area of study that  I wanted to commit to for the next four years.

Luckily, you can always change your major, but with applying to design schools, it’s mandatory for most majors to hand in their applications with portfolios. So, be sure to do your research before you fully commit to a major. Also, you’re always able to take classes outside of your major for pure enjoyment.

Here are some of my personal tips!



Take a summer course at a college that offers your interest. Summer courses provide the clear message for if you really want to commit to the idea of pursuing that as your career. Certain courses at different schools often vary in price but if you save up, you’re most likely able to afford it. Schools near our area such as FIT, Parsons School Of Design, Pratt Institute, and LIM College offer various amounts of classes and programs for students to take! Gratefully, I was able to take part in two courses at FIT last summer.

My professor, Ms. Karen Scheetz,  taught us important things such as picking a theme throughout your portfolio, drawing fashion figures, and helping us focus on what we should individually improve on. Scheetz also spoke to us about some of things you should expect schools to look at and review over  when you submit your application and portfolio.

“Having an economics course under my belt before graduating high school was extremely helpful! Having credits before leaving high school is very beneficial to getting a head start to your college career,” said senior Samantha Imber.

Summer courses also make you aware of  the workload, group projects, and the overall curriculum that you should expect if you attend the school.


Internships are also another way of finding what you’re interested in. It’s not required, but it looks great on transcripts. Being an intern, especially at a young age, shows maturity and independence because you’re introducing yourself into the work field at such a young age.  

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to intern at a fashion brand called “TOME” over the summer and I can’t express how much it opened up my eyes to what it’s like being an adult. There’s so much work that you don’t see that goes into creating a collection and displaying it to buyers in a certain way. If you are looking to pursue an internship, I’d recommend going to and see if you find anything you like. Then just apply!


Visit all the schools that not only offer your career choice but are also prestigious and recognized by others regarding their academics. The mistake I made was not visiting all the schools I could and I only visited the top three. I failed to realize that there were so many  more schools than just the ones that I was aware of. Schools like School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Kent State University (KSU), and Academy of Art University in San Francisco (AAU) also offer various programs for fashion.

“Look at the Campus Life, the academics, and the overall vibe that you get from the school,” said senior Nylah Safforld.

The guidance office provides three excused absences for college trips, and if you’re interested in visiting more, you could always fill out an educational trip form!


Your portfolio is truly what shows the reviewers your personality, interests, and the unique creativity deep within you. Make sure that your focal point and overall theme correlates with everything that you stand for. Reviewers want to think that you are proud of what you’ve been creating for months. Decide on a theme early, but don’t be surprised if you end up changing your mind throughout your portfolio.

Portfolios should tell a story, and adding little details makes the whole end product much better. Remember to focus on what you like and steer clear from popular trends; they want to see what new ideas are floating around in your head. All the requirements for your portfolio are usually posted online!

Fashion is one of many things that is constantly changing, so why not add a twist on the piece  and make it bigger and better.


We were always taught that SAT Scores, GPA’S, and extracurricular activities are ultimately what gets you into college. However, fashion schools often look past all of that. Your essays and portfolios are usually what is most important to them.

Although grades are not the major factor to whether you get accepted or denied, they’re still important because they showcase your overall worth ethic.  So keep your grades up regardless if you’re confident about getting into the school of your choice. Good grades can benefit you in numerous ways when it comes to applying for scholarships and such.

Fashion schools such as FIT & Parsons don’t require you to send in your SAT score. So if you don’t feel confident in your score, do not feel obligated to send it. FIT also offers the option of not having to send in your transcript which can either benefit you or can become a disadvantage to your application. So choose carefully!

As far as extracurriculars go, being in clubs helps your application in a lot of ways. Reviewers get to see your interests outside of your academics. If you have a leadership role in any of the clubs you participate in, that shows a great deal of responsibility and initiative. Luckily, our schools offers numerous clubs for anyone to participate in, so take it to your full advantage!


These are just some of my tips! Of course there are many more factors that go into getting accepted. Just remember to stay sane, confident, and have fun throughout the whole process because it only happens once!

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Tips & Tricks On How To Apply To Design School!