First Year Admissions

Requirements and process for first-year undergraduate applicants

PAFA’s School of Fine Arts offers a world-class professional education that focuses exclusively on the success of the emerging fine artist. With over 200 years of experience of training artists, we nurture the artistic development of our students. Our priority is the quality, comprehensiveness, and relevance of a fine arts education to develop and pursue an artistic vision wherever it may lead.

Application Deadlines

November 15 Early Decision Fall semester applications
December 1 Spring semester applications
Early Action Fall semester applications
February 1 Regular Decision applications
Fall semester applications
Regular Decision Scholarship Priority Fall semester applications
Financial aid (FAFSA) applications
June 15 Early Action and Regular Decision acceptance due

After the stated deadlines, PAFA will continue to accept applications on a rolling basis.

Academic Transcripts

Official transcripts are required for each applicant. Transcripts must be sent directly from the applicant’s school to be considered official.

BFA and PAFA/Penn BFA applicants must provide proof of graduation, such as a final, official high school transcript showing the date of graduation, or high school equivalency diploma (GED).

If your academic credentials are not written in English, they must be translated into English by an approved translator prior to submission.

Electronic Transcripts

PAFA accepts electronic transcripts via eSCRIP-SAFE, Liaison, Naviance, Parchment, Student Clearing House, and other verified transcript servicers. Electronic transcripts may also be emailed to from the institution you attended.

Physical / Hardcopy Transcripts

Physical copies of transcripts may be mailed to the following address:

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Office of Admissions
128 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Transcript Exceptions

The following candidates are not required to submit high school transcripts:

  • BFA and PAFA/Penn BFA applicants who have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Transfer students who have, or will have, earned 30 semester credits before enrolling at PAFA.

Submitting A Portfolio

Admission to PAFA is contingent on submission of your creative work through a portfolio. Portfolios consisting of 12 to 15 images must be submitted through SlideRoom. It is up to each applicant to choose works that best exemplify their talent and ambition. For good image quality and fast upload, we recommend all portfolio images are saved in JPEG format (.jpg).

Refer to PAFA’s Portfolio Guidelines document for advice on how to select, prepare, and submit your work.

When uploading your work, please include the following information for each piece of work—SlideRoom will prompt you to fill this information out as you go along:

  • Title
  • Medium
  • Size
  • Year

Statement of Purpose

Applicants should pick one of the following writing prompts and write a 1-2 page, double-spaced response.

  • How do you see a PAFA education influencing your artistic development and ambitions?
  • If you could be any work of art in PAFA's collection, which one would you be and why?

This statement can be uploaded at any time through the Self-Service Center portal.

Personal statements must be saved as Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx) or Portable Document File (.pdf) documents. PAFA does not accept any other file formats for the Statement of Purpose.

Letters of Recommendation

Two (2) letters of recommendation are required. At least one should come from an art teacher or someone familiar with your art interests. You will be directed to invite recommenders while completing the application.

Other Supplemental Materials

Applicants may include an optional resume as a way to list life experiences and accomplishments that may not be reflected in an application otherwise.


SAT & ACT Scores

SAT and ACT tests are optional; applicants do not have to submit standardized test scores as part of the application.

We will review SAT and ACT scores for applicants that have chosen to send them. Applicants must use the following institution codes for submitting SAT and ACT test scores:

SAT 3038
ACT 0624

English Language Proficiency Scores

Students are required to submit official language proficiency scores if their primary language is not English. PAFA accepts the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) tests.

Degree Program Test Type Minimum Score Test Code
BFA TOEFL 80 8499
PAFA/Penn BFA TOEFL 100 8499

Admissions Decisions

Students applying for fall admission have the option to apply Early Decision, Early Action, or Regular Decision to PAFA.

Your official decision letter will be published in the Self-Service Center. If accepted, you can confirm or decline your offer of admission by using the "Respond" button on the decision letter.

Early Decision

The Early Decision (ED) option is meant for students who know PAFA is their first choice. ED applicants receive an admissions decision before other applicants in the other decision plan options.

Early Decision is the most restrictive option and it is binding.

  • Early Decision applicants must submit their materials by November 15.
  • Accepted Early Decision students must enroll at PAFA by January 15 if offered admission.
  • Early Decision students are required to pay the Undergraduate deposit by January 15.
  • Any other active applications submitted to other schools must be withdrawn upon acceptance to PAFA.

Early Action

The Early Action (EA) option is for students who know PAFA is a preferred choice and would like to receive an admission decision before Regular Decision applicants. Early Action decisions are non-binding.

  • Early Action applicants must submit their materials by December 1.
  • If accepted, Early Action students will have until May 1 (National Undergraduate Reply Date), to confirm or decline their enrollment.

Regular Decision

This is the standard option for applying and is non-binding. If you apply by the Scholarship Priority deadline and are accepted, you will have until May 1 to confirm or decline your enrollment.

Fall Semester Applications

PAFA will continue to review applications submitted after February 1 on a rolling basis. Rolling Admission Decision applicants for the Fall semester admitted after May 1 will have four (4) weeks to confirm or decline their offer of enrollment.

Spring Semester Applications

PAFA may review applications submitted after November 1 on a space-available basis for the Spring semester.

Picture Yourself at PAFA

The Admissions and Financial Aid staff at PAFA are ready and available to assist you during all stages of the application and enrollment process.

Telephone: (215) 972-7625
Fax: (215) 569-0153
Financial Aid Telephone: (215) 972-2019