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First-Time College Students
If you have not had any formal education beyond high school, you are considered a first-time college student, even if you have been out of high school for several years. Learn more about undergraduate admissions and the application process, including important deadlines and requirements below.
Fall 2023 admission Deadlines
If MassArt is your first-choice college you may want to consider Early Action. This option is intended for students in good academic standing who have finalized their portfolio by December 1st. Admissions decisions for Early Action applicants are released in early January. To be considered for Early Action, you must:
- Submit all application requirements by December 1
- Indicate your interest in Early Action on your application
Please note that if you are not accepted for Early Action, you will not be automatically reviewed for the regular deadline. Furthermore, if you are not accepted under Early Action you must wait a year to reapply. Early Action is not the same as Early Decision, which is binding; you are not required to attend MassArt if accepted Early Action and will have until May 1 (the universal reply deadline) to make your decision as to whether or not you will attend.
MassArt's priority deadline for admission for the Fall 2023 semester is February 15, 2023. Applications completed by February 15 are given priority consideration for admission, scholarships, and housing. International applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by this deadline to allow ample time to process paperwork in support of the visa application.
The admissions committee begins reviewing completed applications in January. Applications received after the priority deadline are considered on an ongoing, space-available basis. Complete your application early to receive your decision in a timely fashion.
You should apply for financial aid at the same time you apply for admission. Don't wait until you have been admitted to a program to apply! The only financial aid application that MassArt requires is the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. MassArt's priority deadline for filing the FAFSA is March 1. Learn more about how to apply.
Please note that international applicants are not applicable and do not need to file the FAFSA.
Students should apply online by completing the Common Application. The application form and a $70 fee must be submitted to be considered for admission.
Please plan on completing the following steps by the priority deadline of February 15 (December 1 for Early Action applicants):
- Complete the Common Application and pay the application fee by credit card
- Upload supplementary materials electronically or mail/deliver them to MassArt's Admissions Office
- Upload the portfolio; after submitting the Common Application, you will be emailed a link (within two days of receipt of your application) through which you can upload the portfolio.
- Check the status of your application using the application portal
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 school 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:
- 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.
- 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?
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
- 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.
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- 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?
- 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.
SUBMITTING YOUR PORTFOLIO
The MassArt Application is completed in two phases:
Phase 1: Complete and submit the MassArt Common Application. After the Common Application is submitted you will receive two emails with login information and a link to the MassArt Applicant Portal. It can take up to 24 hours after submitting your Common Application to receive these emails - plan your time accordingly.
Phase 2: Upload portfolio and submit remaining materials. On the MassArt Applicant Portal you will be able to upload your portfolio, see missing materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc), and the check status of your application. The Applicant Portal has many resources for applicants about application requirements, financial aid, scholarships, next steps, and more. Decision letters are released on the Applicant Portal.
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:
- Directly to MassArt in an envelope stamped and sealed by a high school or a college registrar
- Electronically through the Common Application
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.
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.
International applicants are required to submit academic records that have been converted to the U.S. educational equivalents. This includes course-by-course evaluations for both secondary school (high school) and college transcripts. Massachusetts College of Art and Design requires official evaluations of secondary and post-secondary transcripts or records from other countries. These evaluations can take up to six weeks to complete, so please begin this process early. Evaluations must be arranged through NACES or AICE approved members.
- Center for Educational Documentation (CED)
- Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)
- International Education Evaluation (IEE)
- International Education Research Foundation (IERF)
- World Education Services (WES)
International applicants who have academic documents from institutions outside of the U.S. are required to submit official (original, attested, or certified true) copies of academic records for secondary school education and any college-level study. Please note that this should begin with the first year of secondary school or high school. Credentials in languages other than English must be accompanied by a certified literal English translation. Translations must be complete, literal, word-for-word translations and mirror the original document.
All secondary (high school) and post-secondary (college) transcripts should be converted into the U.S. educational equivalencies. Records that are not converted into the U.S. equivalencies must have a course-by-course evaluation by an external evaluation agency and should include:
- Name of the educational institution
- Country where it is located
- Length of study and its U.S. equivalent
- Courses studied by year
- A conversion of grades and/or examinations to the U.S. grade equivalents of A, B, C, D and F on a 4-point scale
- Total credits earned and conversion of course hours to U.S. semester hours
- U.S. degree equivalent
Massachusetts College of Art and Design will no longer require standardized tests scores (SAT/ACT) as part of our admission requirements.
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.
Students whose native language is not English are required to demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting official TOEFL, IELTS, DuoLingo, or the Pearson Test of English scores as part of the application process.
A letter 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, school counselor, employer, or mentor.
Using the Common Application, you can provide the contact information of the recommender, and they will be able to submit an online form on your behalf.
We will also accept a letter of recommendation via postal mail, or e-mail sent directly from the reference's account to email@example.com. All recommendation letters must be 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 a family member that have not been signed and sealed by the reference.
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.
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
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.
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
Admissions decision letters are released electronically within a student's Application Portal. Decisions are released on a rolling basis, beginning in early January for Early Action applicants. Please allow 4-6 weeks for your application to be reviewed once it is complete to receive a decision.
If you have any questions during the application process, please contact your admissions counselor.
firstname.lastname@example.org • T: 617.879.7222 • F: 617.879.7250