Completing the application form is the first step to admission to PAFA. Students can apply with either the Common App or PAFA’s Online Application. Applicants can apply to the PAFA BFA or the PAFA/Penn BFA using either application here.
Creating your Self-Service Center Account
If you apply using our online application, this won’t be an extra step for you. If you are applying through the Common App, please check your email and follow the directions to set up your Self Service Center account.You will use your Self Service Center to check on the status of your application and view your admission decision. When setting up your account please be sure to use the same email you used on your application.
Preparing your portfolio
Applicants must submit 12-15 images of their best recent work. We have Portfolio Guidelines, but it is up to each applicant to choose the works that best exemplify their talent and ambition. Applicants should submit their portfolio of 12-15 images online, via SlideRoom. For good image quality and fast upload, we recommend all portfolio images be in JPEG format.
Image Inventory on SlideRoom
When uploading your work, please include the title, medium, size, and year of each piece of work. SlideRoom will prompt you to fill this information out as you go along.
Statement of Purpose
For our statement of purpose, we have created four prompts. Applicants should pick one of these prompts and write a one-to-two page, double-spaced response. You can upload this statement at any time through your Self Service center.
Personal statements should be submitted as either a Microsoft Word document (.doc, .docx) or PDF (.pdf). Please do not submit as a Mac Pages (.pages) document. Select and answer one of the personal statement prompts:
- Define artist.
- If you could spend the day with any artist, who would it be and why?
- Artists are entrepreneurs. True or False? Explain.
- If you could be any work in PAFA’s collection which one would it be any why?
Letters of Recommendation
We require two letters of recommendation on behalf of each applicant. These letters should come from individuals who are familiar with your abilities, such as teachers, mentors, guidance counselors, and employers. Applicants can send requests to their recommenders through their Self-Service Center.
Official transcripts are required for each applicant. Transcripts must be sent directly from the applicant’s school to be considered official. PAFA accepts electronic transcripts via Parchment, Naviance, eSCRIP-SAFE, Student Clearing House, and other verified transcript servicers. Hardcopy transcripts should be mailed to PAFA's Office of Admissions.
- BFA and PAFA/Penn BFA applicants must provide proof of graduation (a final, official high school transcript showing date of graduation) or high school equivalency (GED).
- Currently enrolled applicants should submit official transcripts with their courses in progress and official, final transcripts upon graduation.
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 resume is an optional, but helpful, way to describe life experiences and accomplishments. Resumes can be uploaded through the Self Service Center.
TOEFL or IELTS scores. (International Applicants Only)
International applicants who do not have English as a first language must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores. Visit our International Students page for more information on PAFA’s language requirements.