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High school is a time of exploration and self-discovery, especially for students with a passion for the arts. If you’re one of those creative souls eager to pursue your artistic dreams in higher education, the journey ahead is both exciting and full of choices. In this post, we’ll guide you through the process of choosing the perfect post-secondary pathway for high school students who are currently attending an art high school in Ontario, whether it be Burlington Royal Arts Academy or something similar. 


1. Self-Reflection: Discovering Your Artistic Passion


The first step in choosing your post-secondary arts pathway is understanding your passion. What artistic disciplines ignite your creativity? Do you lean towards visual arts, music, dance, theater, or something else entirely? Reflect on your interests, strengths, and long-term goals to help narrow down your options. Post secondary pathways: be it through work experience, the community, college or university all feature different strengths and experiences. Getting in touch with where your interest lies will help you identify goals for this next phase of your life and make aligned choices that move you toward that. 

2. Research Various Institutions, Experiences and Opportunities

The world of higher education is vast, and there are numerous institutions offering arts programs. Research universities, colleges, conservatories, and specialized arts schools. Look into factors such as location, reputation, faculty expertise, and available resources. Create a list of schools that align with your goals.

Feeling the pull to jump right into the working world or diving into some hands-on community settings? The same advice applies here. Do your research! Read up on what’s available. Meet with other experts in your community and ask for their advice and experiences. Learn from those who have walked this path before you and be open to learning from what they have lived.

3. Understand Different Program Types, Settings and What They Offer

Arts programs come in various shapes and sizes, so it’s crucial to understand the different types available:

– Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA): A comprehensive, four-year program offering a deep dive into your chosen art form, often with a strong focus on practical training.

– Bachelor of Arts (BA): A broader, liberal arts-based education with the opportunity to explore other academic interests alongside your chosen art discipline.

– Conservatory Programs: Highly specialized training programs in the performing arts with a strong emphasis on practical experience.

– College or Technical School: Often offering two-year programs and certificates, these institutions provide a solid foundation and practical skills.

– Community Settings and Workplaces: some of these may offer an apprenticeship or internships that will help move you forward. 

4. Visit Campuses and Attend Open Houses


Once you’ve shortlisted schools, programs and community settings, try to visit campuses or attend virtual open houses. This will give you a sense of the environment, facilities, and faculty. It’s also a chance to ask questions and gain insights into the specific program’s culture and opportunities. For workplace settings, get to know the people that work here and ask them what working with them will look like. Perhaps even ask to attend for a day to get a feel for the place. 

5. Consider Financial Factors

Higher education can be expensive, so it’s essential to consider your financial situation. Look into scholarship opportunities, grants, and financial aid options that may be available to you. Compare the costs and benefits of different schools and programs to make an informed decision. Determine the cost/benefit ratio to jumping into the workforce or taking an unpaid internship. Find the balance that works for you and your life. 

6. Seek Guidance from Advisors and Mentors


Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from your high school counselors, teachers, and mentors in the arts. They can provide valuable insights, review your portfolio or audition materials, and help you make an informed decision based on your skills and goals.



Choosing the right post-secondary pathway for high school students attending an art high school in Ontario is is a significant decision, but it’s also a thrilling opportunity to nurture your creativity and develop your skills. Remember to follow your heart, do your research, seek guidance, and stay focused on your long-term artistic goals. With dedication and perseverance, you can embark on a fulfilling journey in the world of arts and creativity.