Apply to Carnegie Mellon University BFA

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Admission Requirements

DEADLINE: January 1st
  • Common Application
  • $75 application fee*
  • Official high school transcript (please review our Academic Requirements)**
  • All required standardized testing official score reports, which includes SAT Subject Tests for most majors and the TOEFL or IELTS if English is not your native language
  • Secondary School Counselor Evaluation
  • Teacher Recommendation
  • Common Application essay and personal statement:
  • Please submit a one page, single-spaced essay that explains why you have chosen Carnegie Mellon and your particular major(s), department(s) or program(s). This essay should include the reasons why you’ve chosen the major(s), any goals or relevant work plans and any other information you would like us to know. For freshmen applying to more than one college or program, please mention each college or program to which you are applying. Because our admission committees review applicants by college and program, your essay can impact our final decision. Candidates applying for early decision or transfer may apply to only one college and department.
The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don’t feel obligated to do so. (The application won’t accept a response shorter than 250 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 failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
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 or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
write an essay (250-650 words) on the topic selected.
  • portfolio review

    Portfolio Review Submission- FINE ART 

    All applicants to the School of Art must submit a portfolio of creative work for review online, exclusively through the SlideRoom portfolio service.

    In addition to the required online portfolio, applicants are encouraged to visit campus for an optional interview with professors from the School of Art.

    Online Portfolio Review

    Visit SlideRoom to submit your portfolio to the School of Art after October 1.

    Early Decision applicants should upload their portfolios by November 1 and Regular Decision and Transfer applicants should upload their portfolios by January 15.

    For portfolio guidelines and online submission recommendations and FAQ, please review our portfolio review preparation and tips page.

    Optional On-Campus Interview

    Campus visits offer applicants the opportunity to meet individually with the School of Art faculty and students, attend information sessions and take a tour of the School of Art facilities. Applicants who have completed their portfolio submissions through SlideRoom are encouraged to visit campus for a personal interview with faculty from the School of Art. Although this interview may touch on one or more highlights from the applicant’s portfolio, the primary purpose of these interviews is to help the applicant and faculty “get to know” each other.

  • Applicants attending an interview are still required to submit their portfolio online.Register for an on-campus interview here.2016-17 On-Campus Interview Dates:
    November 13 (Early Decision applicants only)
    January 22
    January 29
    February 5If participating in an on-campus interview, Early Decision applicants should attend the November interview day (registering by November 1) and Regular Decision and Transfer applicants can attend any January or February interview day (registering by January 1).

    Portfolio Review Submission- DESIGN 

    Our School of Design faculty are an integral part of the admission process in determining incoming classes. While all applicants must submit an online portfolio, applicants are also encouraged to register for an on-campus review as a valuable supplement to the online portfolio submission. Applicants who participate in the on-campus review will have a brief personal interview with a design faculty member. A design project is also available for students with limited work.

    On-Campus Portfolio Review

    On-campus reviews are highly recommended. If you select this option, you’ll visit Carnegie Mellon to review your previously submitted work, though you’re expected to bring actual samples of your work or design project (photos or video of large pieces that are difficult to transport is fine) with you as well. You can bring previously submitted work, a sketchbook or items that were not previously submitted online. Additionally, an on-campus review provides you the opportunity to speak directly with faculty in an interview, engage with students, sit in on available classes and tour the facilities.

    Register for an on-campus portfolio review here.

    2016-17 On-Campus Portfolio Review Dates:
    November 13 (Early Decision applicants only)
    January 22
    January 29
    February 5
    February 10 (Transfer applicants only)

    If participating in an on-campus portfolio review:

    Online Portfolio Review

    The School of Design requires an online portfolio submission, even if you register for an on-campus review. If you select only the online submission, an admission committee will review your portfolio online.

    Visit SlideRoom to electronically submit your portfolio for the School of Design after October 1.

    If submitting a portfolio online:

    • Early Decision applicants should upload their portfolios by November 1 if only submitting online.
    • Regular Decision and Transfer applicants should upload their portfolios by January 15.

    Design Project

    If you have limited work in your portfolio, the design project is an option to supplement that work. If you have no portfolio or creative work, the design project will satisfy the portfolio requirement. The design project can be located on the School of Design website. Applicants who select the design project as their portfolio can either submit the project online –  if also attending an on-campus portfolio review it would be beneficial to bring it with you as well.

  • Applicants must provide proof of meeting all requirements for an official high school diploma, by the end of May of the year of graduation, and submit an official final transcript, GED or certificate of completion from your local school district.

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