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First-Time Freshmen

Please note the application for Fall 2018 is now closed. The application for Fall 2019 will be available on this page in September; please check back. In the meantime, you may review the application guidelines and requirements listed below.

Application Requirements

If you have not had any formal education beyond high school, you are considered a first-time freshman applicant, even if you have been out of high school for several years. Please note there are special requirements for other types of applicants including transfer students and international students.

  • Before applying, applicants should review MassArt's admissions standards
  • The priority deadline for Fall 2019 is February 1, 2019. Students applying for Early Action should submit all items by December 1, 2018. 

Application Requirement Checklist

  • Application form and $70 application fee
  • Essay
  • Portfolio
  • Official high school transcript
  • Official SAT or ACT scores (optional)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Résumé / list of activities
  • Proof of graduation
  • Proof of legal permanent residence (legal permanent residents only)

Application form and fee

Students may apply online either by completing the Common Application, or our MassArt application. The application form and $70 fee must be submitted to be considered for admission.

Apply Online
  • Step 1: Submit the application form electronically and pay the fee by credit card
  • Step 2: Upload supplementary materials electronically or mail/deliver them to MassArt's Admissions Office
Application Fee Waiver

An application fee waiver request will be considered in cases of extreme financial hardship substantiated by a College Board fee waiver form issued from your guidance counselor or a letter from your social worker, financial aid officer, or clergy person. Fee waivers may be submitted by fax, email, or mail. Your application will not be considered complete until this request is received by the Admissions Office.


The application essay gives you an opportunity to express yourself in words and gives the Admissions Committee more insight into who you are as an individual. Please answer one of the following questions, and provide a statement of at least 500 words:

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. 

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? 

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? 

4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. 

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? 

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. 


Submit a selection of 15-20 examples of your strongest and most recent artwork, reflecting your interests, skills, and willingness to explore, experiment, and express yourself. Your portfolio may concentrate on a single medium or may show a variety of media. We encourage you to include work representing a sustained interest and/or development over time.

Portfolios must be submitted digitally via SlideRoom. If submitting your application using the Common Application, there will be a link provided to complete your portfolio. If submitting the MassArt Application, visit to begin building your portfolio in SlideRoom. When at the website, click Sign up > Start a new submission > Undergraduate.


All transcripts must be official. High school/secondary school transcripts must include the most recent semester grades. If you have already graduated, please ask that school to send us your final transcript. If you are currently in high school and have taken college-level classes, please request an official college transcript to be sent.

In order to be considered official, transcripts can be sent one of two ways:

  1. Directly to MassArt in an envelope stamped and sealed by a high school or a college registrar
  2. Electronically through either Common Application or Parchment

If using Common Application, you will be able to use that platform to request your official documents. If using the MassArt Application, please visit Parchment to create an account and designate which schools you would like your transcripts sent.

High School Equivalency

If you have completed the General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or HiSET, please send us your official score report including percentages as well as your high school transcript. MassArt's HiSET code is MA1001010.

Home-Schooled Students

To be considered for admission, home-schooled students must submit transcripts or the GED/HiSET. Please note that the college does not consider applicants who do not have a high school diploma or equivalency.

SAT or ACT scores (optional)

Massachusetts College of Art and Design will no longer require standardized tests scores (SAT/ACT) as part of our admission requirements. 

International students whose native language is not English will be required to submit TOEFL/IELTS to demonstrate language proficiency. Learn more.

MassArt reserves the right to contact the student during the admissions process to further determine a student's college readiness. If an applicant submits SAT or ACT scores, we will not factor these test scores into the admission decision, but will reserve the right to use these scores in statistical analysis if the student is admitted and decides to enroll at MassArt. In addition, test scores will not be used for merit scholarship consideration.

If you choose to submit test scores, MassArt's SAT school code is 3516. MassArt's ACT school code is 1846. SAT or ACT reports should be sent directly from the College Board, American College Testing or through the high school guidance office.

For any exceptions, more information can be found under admissions standards.

Two letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendation can be very helpful in consideration of your application. It's best to choose someone who can discuss your potential as a student, your motivation, skills, background, and character. This person should have first-hand knowledge of your art or academic achievements. We recommend asking someone such as an art teacher, liberal arts teacher, guidance counselor, employer, or mentor.

If you are using the Common Application, you can provide the contact information of the recommender, and they will be able to submit an online form. If using the MassArt Application, there is no required form for letters of recommendation. At the top of the letter, please make sure your reference prominently lists:

  • your full name
  • the semester for which you are applying

We recommend using either the Common Application or MassArt Application, as both allow references to upload the recommendation letter directly to your application.  We will also accept letters of recommendation via postal mail, or e-mail sent directly from the reference's account to All recommendation letters must sent by the reference, or be on signed high school, college, or business letterhead and sent in a sealed envelope. We will not accept recommendation letters sent by a student or family member that have not been signed and sealed by the reference.

Résumé / list of activities

Include a list of your activities including employment, community service, school clubs, organizations, and extracurricular interests. Specify positions held (if any), length of service, and awards or prizes.

Proof of graduation

MassArt requires proof of graduation for all first year and transfer students. This is necessary for both residency documentation and financial aid verification. To satisfy this requirement, you may submit one of the following:

  • A final high school transcript from a U.S. high school or U.S.-accredited high school, including a date of graduation; signed, stamped, or sealed by a school official, and sent from your high school or recognized third-party vendor
  • A Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED) or High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) results sent directly from the testing organization
  • An official copy of documentation sent directly from the IB Organization indicating that a diploma has been awarded
  • Some national exam results: GCE/GCSE exams (O-Level and AS-level), India Secondary School Examinations, Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) Exams, and CAPE I, etc.
  • Home-schooled students have the additional option to submit a letter from a local school district official or state education agency certifying that the student received an education substantially equivalent to instruction given to students graduating from high school in a public or private institution

Copy of permanent registration card (legal permanent residents only)

Legal permanent residents of the U.S. must submit a copy of the front and back of your permanent registration card along with your application materials in order to be considered for admission.

Mailing address

If you are mailing materials, please address your package to:

Office of Admissions
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
621 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115