For those whose calling is photography, painting, printmaking, design, sculpture or assemblage, finding an institution that will make you the best you can be in your field is imperative. There are a significant number of fine art colleges across the country, but only a few have well-known programs and prestige across multiple disciplines. Even fewer colleges have a significantly long history of successful and well-respected faculty and alumni.
When looking for your area of concentration, you want to find that which will help you most, and that can vary widely from student to student. Some students need more hands-on craft-based instruction and practice, while others may need to spend more time on discipline-based theories and history. Others may need a research-based study on aesthetics more than anything. When choosing an institution to attend, all of these factors should be considered before commitment. Ideally, you will find an institution and a faculty that can help with all of these issues.
Beyond that, you will want to research the available faculty at institutions, much like prospective students often do for scientific programs of study. You may wish to find a professor with real-world positive notoriety, or you may wish to study under a specific professor who comes significantly recommended by other professional artists in the same field. No professor teaches in the same way, so it is imperative to find the staff from whom you want to learn.
For more information on attending one of the most well-respected fine art colleges, contact the School of the Art Institute of Chicago or visit them online at saic.edu.