A Cheat Sheet for Fine Arts Applications

Posted by Kira on October 17, 2012

York Stomping Grounds

Accolade East, a building where many Fine Arts classes take place.

As a second year York student, I remember how stressful it is to apply to university. And on top of the usual application process, most Fine Arts programs at York require an extra step! This could be in the form of submitting a portfolio, or attending an audition. But don’t worry! I’m here to give you a mini guide to the process.

The first step for each of these programs, you will start by applying the way you would for any program. If you are in high school, your guidance office will walk you through all of the steps. Everyone else can apply through the Ontario Universities Application Centre. (www.ouac.on.ca/applications/) International students can visit this site (www.yorku.ca/web/about_yorku/international.html) to learn more about this process as well. At this point, the University is looking at your academic history to decide if you are a good fit for the program. If they like what they see, you will be asked to progress to the next step.

In most cases, a supplemental application, as well as some sort of in person departmental evaluation will occur. The supplemental application usually consists of answering some questions and occurs online. The departmental evaluation is where you will demonstrate your abilities in the fine art of your choice.

Each program has an awesome website that will give you step for step instructions in thei different application process:

For my application to the dance department, the supplemental application asked questions about my past dance training and experience, past and present injuries and interest in the dance world. I also had to write a short essay about why York University would benefit my future goals in dance. Although depending on your program the questions may be different, it is important to take your time answering the questions. For the essay portion, write a couple of drafts! It’s not a lot of space to explain why York is right for you, so make sure it is concise and sincere.

The departmental application (or audition) was definitely the most stressful for me. However coming to the school and actually seeing the space where the York students studied dance was really exciting as well! I got comfortable pretty quickly once it actually started. When I auditioned, the evaluation was divided into 3 sections. The first was a class format where we demonstrated our abilities in ballet and modern technique. We also had to improvise across the floor using prompts the teacher gave us. The next section was a world dance style, in my case African dance. I hadn’t ever done this style before, but I had so much fun learning it! The third section was sitting down and watching the upper year students perform a couple of dances for us, and then sitting down and asking them questions about York. A technique for handling nerves that I found really helpful is to look at your audition as a chance for you to evaluate the program and university that you are applying for!

To prepare for the departmental application, I made sure that my dance technique was as clean as possible, as well as eating really healthy in the months leading up to it, and getting enough sleep. Obviously this preparation process is different for each program, but I would suggest that if you are applying you make sure your craft is as excellent as it can possibly be; whether that is by taking classes or practicing at home.

So there you have it! If you have any more questions, feel free to comment below and I will do my best to answer them. Good luck!