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1. What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is simply a collection of work that represents an individual's creative and technical experiences and accomplishments. No two portfolios are alike and each is reviewed based on an applicant's unique background and education. Ideally, portfolios should include work done from the direct observation of life. For more information, view our Portfolio Guidelines page here

2. Does SVA have an early action option?

Yes. High school seniors whose first choice is SVA can receive a non-binding early admission decision, early financial aid estimate, guaranteed housing and early registration privileges. In order to be considered for early action to the Fall 2020 semester, applicants must complete all aspects of the admission process by December 1, 2019.

3. Can I apply to the spring semester?

Yes, however entry into the spring semester is limited. First-time freshman entry is limited based on program availability. Transfer entry is contingent upon the department chair's approval, based on portfolio quality, credits earned and space in the program. 

4. What is the deadline for admission to the Fall 2020 semester?

Admission to the College operates on a rolling admission basis for applicants to the Fall 2020 semester. Applications will be accepted throughout the year as space remains available in each program. International applicants should complete the application process by May 1, 2020.

5. Are application deadlines different for international applicants?

Yes. In order to process student visas in a timely manner, there is a recommended application deadline of April 1, 2020, for the Summer 2020 semester; May 1, 2020, for the Fall 2020 semester and October 1, 2019 for the Spring 2020 semester.

6. How important is my academic background to the admission process?

An applicant's academic history plays an important role in the admission process. It is SVA's belief that art doesn't come from an empty head. As such, it is important that students demonstrate the ability to succeed in a classroom environment and have an aptitude and interest in humanities coursework.

7. Do I need to submit SAT or ACT scores?

SVA requires applicants to submit the results of either the SAT or ACT. Use CEEB code 2835 for SAT score submission and test code 2895 for ACT score submission. Test scores can play an important role in the review process. However, test scores, whether high or low, cannot replace the insight that is provided in the review of an applicant's academic transcripts.

Transfer applicants who have earned a minimum of 24 college credits, including work in the humanities and sciences, do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores.

8. What is the SVA CEEB Code?

The CEEB code for the College is 2835. Please use test code 2895 for ACT score submission.

9. Does SVA require international students to take the TOEFL?

Because a large part of an SVA education focuses on the exchange of ideas and critiques, it is important that all students possess a strong working knowledge of English. All international applicants must demonstrate a level of proficiency that will allow them to participate fully in class discussions. This can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, including the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). For more information, view our page on International Requirements here. SVA does not accept MyBEST TOEFL scores. 

10. How is transfer placement determined?

Approximately 30 percent of SVA students are transfer students. Transfer applicants follow the same procedures for admission as all other applicants. Transfer placement is based on studio coursework and the portfolio, not necessarily on the total number of credits previously earned. It is important that transfer applicants submit a digital portfolio that contains examples of work from each studio course for which transfer credit is sought. Copies of course descriptions of classes taken at other colleges and universities can be helpful to the transfer review process.


1. When can I register for fall classes?

Beginning in March, accepted students who have submitted the enrollment fee and student health forms* can register online for classes. Registration information will be sent to you once your enrollment fee has been received and processed. 

*International students must also submit sufficient DOF/VOF documents in order to register for classes. 

2. When is orientation?

Orientation for the fall semester usually begins the Sunday before the Labor Day weekend. Orientation for the spring semester usually begins the Thursday prior to the start of spring classes. Orientation offers new students the opportunity to meet faculty, staff and other students and to gain a further introduction to the curricular and extracurricular life they are about to begin.

3. As an international student, when will I receive the paperwork needed to apply for a visa?

The Certificate of Eligibility, Form I-20 will be issued by the International Student Office to students who have paid the enrollment fee and have submitted a sufficient DOF/VOF through the Terra Dotta student portal. Access to the Terra Dotta portal will be granted after an applicant enrolls at SVA. You will receive an e-mail when the I-20 is issued followed by an e-mail with the FedEx tracking number for your package.

Financial Aid

1. What is SVA's tuition?

SVA is pleased to offer an undergraduate tuition that remains at the lower end of the spectrum for colleges of its size and stature. The full-time undergraduate tuition for the 2019-2020 school year is $41,900. Tuition typically increases by 3 percent to 5 percent each year.

2. How do I apply for financial aid?

Currently, 74 percent of SVA students receive some form of financial aid. To be considered for financial aid, applicants must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is available in the Office of Financial Aid and can be filed online at Be sure to indicate the Title IV School Code 007468 for SVA in Step 6. Applicants are assigned a specific financial aid advisor who will assist in identifying a variety of financial aid and payment plan options.

3. Does SVA offer scholarships?

SVA awards partial tuition scholarships to new students entering the fall semester through the Silas H. Rhodes Scholarship program. Scholarships are primarily available to full-time students seeking admission to the fall semester who possess a minimum 3.0 GPA. Scholarships are based on academic and creative merit. To be considered for a scholarship, first-time freshmen must submit all admissions and scholarship materials postmarked by February 1, 2020. Transfer applicants must submit all admissions and scholarship materials postmarked by March 1, 2020. Spring 2020 applicants must submit all admissions and scholarship materials postmarked by November 1, 2019. All applicants, including international students, citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for scholarship. There is no scholarship application.

4. What is the SVA Title IV School Code?

The Title IV School Code for the College is 007468.

Getting to Know SVA

1. Is SVA accredited?

The School of Visual Arts is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 215.662.5606. The Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.

SVA is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, and is a member of the International Association of Independent Schools for Art and Design (AIAS) and the Association of Independent Schools of Art and Design (AICAD).

2. What undergraduate majors are offered at SVA?

The School of Visual Arts has been authorized by the New York State Board of Regents to confer the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts on graduates of four-year programs in advertising; animation; cartooning; computer art; design; film; fine arts; illustration; interior design; photography and video; and visual and critical studies.

3. Is it possible to choose two majors?

All applicants must select one program to major in. Since SVA majors require students to complete an intensive four-year studio program it is not possible to "double major" at SVA. However, cross-registration into other departments is available on a case-by-case basis, with the permission of departmental chairs.

4. Is it possible to obtain a degree as a part-time student?

Part-time study is only available for the BFA Design Program on a case-by-case basis.  Students can complete the entire program through the Division of Continuing Education.  Prospective students can apply for evening matriculation status through the Office of Admissions, following the same procedures outlined for the full-time study.  Also, a variety of courses in the full-time program are scheduled between 9:00 am and 10:00 pm. 

5. Does SVA have programs for high school students?

Yes. Each year, more than 600 high school students enroll in pre-college studio courses held on Saturdays during the fall and spring and in an intensive three-week program each July.

6. How do I schedule a portfolio review or tour?

The Admissions Office offers many on-campus events, tours, and opportunities for portfolio reviews. Please check out our "Visit Us" section here.

7. Does SVA have housing?

SVA houses approximately 1,400 students in its four residence halls. Students are permitted to stay in SVA housing throughout their four years of study. As such, not all students can be housed each year. It is recommended that applicants who are interested in housing and whose first choice is SVA complete the application for admission process as early as possible.

8. Can I study abroad as an SVA student?

SVA offers both summer abroad and semester abroad programs. Summer Arts Abroad programs are up to three weeks in length and are open to anyone who meets the course prerequisites. Detailed program information is available in the summer Continuing Education catalog and on the Special Programs website. Third-year, matriculated students may apply to the International Exchange Program (IEP) to study abroad for one semester at an affiliated exchange partner institution. A list of affiliated schools is available in the Registration Book or from the exchange program administrator. Countries currently represented in the IEP include Belgium, China, The Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

9. Does SVA accept advanced placement credit?

Yes.  For the exam score of 5, SVA will award 3 elective credits in studio for AP art, and 3 credits for scores of 4 or 5 in selected Art History and Humanities and Sciences courses.  Neither credits nor exemptions are given for English Language AP examination.

10. Does SVA offer internships?

Career Development offers an internship for-credit program for qualified juniors and seniors. SVA students have completed internships at over 600 different companies. To learn more about these opportunities, please visit here.

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587