The Art Institute of Dallas is part of the continent-wide system of The Art Institutes, which group together as one larger for-profit higher education foundation geared towards providing students with training and degrees applicable to a future in the field of the creative arts. The school traces its history back to its foundation in 1964 under the name of the Dallas Fashion Merchandising College, which in 1978 was changed to the Fashion and Art Institute of Dallas, finally acquiring its definitive, current name in 1984 when it was acquired by the Education Management Corporation (which operates the entire network of The Art Institutes at the continental level).
The Art Institute of Dallas consists of five academic departments, and a given program of study (certificate or degree) will likely combine several courses linking two or more of these departments. Specifically, the departments are: the Culinary Department; the Design Department; the Fashion Department; the Media Arts Department; and the General Education Department. The last of these, the General Education Department, does not have actual degree programs within its structure but rather is intended as a tool through which students may complement their more focused studies in other departments, offering greater technical depth, and promoting the kinds of practical knowledge students will need to harness their creative impulses and convert them into the basis of a successful career.
The Culinary Department offers several associate degrees and a maximum degree of Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management. The Design Department offers two associate degrees and a handful of Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, in Graphic Design, Interior Design, and Advertising Design. The Fashion Department offers one associate and two bachelor’s degrees, and the Media Arts Department offers two associate and four bachelor’s degrees.
To make the academic atmosphere at The Art Institute of Dallas a bit more flexible, the school has in recent years implemented weekend and online study opportunities. In the best of cases, students complete their associate degree programs within little more than twenty-one months, whereas typical bachelor’s degrees take approximately thirty-six months or more.
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As a counterpoint to the high selectivity of The Art Institute of Dallas’s admissions rate, the school has made the overall admissions process remarkably simple and straightforward. Roughly speaking, only about half of all applicants are actually accepted to the school, and this highly selective status is due to the fact that The Art Institute of Dallas is one of the most popular institutions within The Art Institutes system and happens to be located in one of the most bustling urban settings in the country.
To be considered for admissions, applicants must have a GED or high school diploma (or be on track for graduation) and submit an official transcript of their secondary studies as well as of any college level studies. A personal statement, usually less than a page, describing why The Art Institute of Dallas is the right destination for the applicant, is a central part of the admissions process. Though SAT or ACT scores are not a necessary component of the application process, the school does encourage applicants to forward their test scores if they have them. Part of the admissions process implies taking math and English placement exams, and admitted applicants that don’t perform well in these areas may be obliged to partake in what are known as transitional courses to bring them up to speed.
Though the availability of financial aid resources is not comparable with that available at many public institutions of higher education, there are several options to choose from, and (as is common) the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is the best way to get started. Among the specific financial aid resources tapped into by the students of The Art Institute of Dallas, a token sampling would have to include the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Stafford Loan, the Academic Competitive Grant, and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.
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