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Applying for a degree in recording arts can seem like quite a challenge for international students. But there are some important things to keep in mind that will make sure you're organized and ready. Above all, make sure you know your prospective schools admission requirements since each program is a little different.

Standing between you and your enrollment in a recording arts program is an application process that may seem tedious and even daunting. But don't let that deter you from taking the application process for a recording arts degree quite seriously. Yes, it does feel a bit like jumping through hoops at times, and the added requirements for international students make it seem even more complicated, but prospective students seeking admittance to recording arts degree programs should think of the application process instead as a chance to get yourself organized and focused on your intended career. In this article we'll lay out some of the basic parts of the application process and outline some extra parts to expect for international applicants.

Before diving into the application process itself, you should consider which schools would be the best fit for you. Does it have the type of program you're seeking? Is it one of the best recording arts degree programs in the country? Is it geographically located where you most want to live? Do you qualify under its admissions requirements? These and many other questions are important considerations to make before spending time, money, and lots of paper on your applications.

Once you have figured out which schools are best for you, then the real application process for a recording arts degree begins. Before we dive into the requirements, it's very important to remember that different recording arts degree programs have different sets of requirements. Always look up your desired school's admissions information to make sure you're on the right track.

Basic Admission Requirements

First, let's cover some basic requirements for admission. Most schools list their admission requirements on their websites, so that's the best place to get started.

Fill out an application

Every school will ask you to fill out an application. This will usually include filling out information about yourself, describing your educational background, and sometimes writing an essay. Some schools will accent the Common Application, while others may have their own unique application. Nowadays many schools offer their application online. Typically, schools will have a fee associated with the application. This fee usually ranges from $60 to $150. Be sure to know your desired school's deadlines. Though most schools have their application deadlines in December or April, there are always exceptions.

Education requirements

All recording arts degree programs require a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent. This includes scoring well on the GED, or in the case of international students, supplying sufficient documentation and necessary transcripts to show that you have completed the equivalent in your home country. Many larger schools will also ask for SAT or ACT scores, though schools that are more specialized toward recording arts may not have these testing requirements.

Immunization records

Often schools will require that you submit immunization records along with your application. This is to make sure you have received necessary immunization against measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis, and other diseases.

Letters of recommendation

Most colleges and universities will ask for one to three letters of recommendation. These vary from school to school, but often schools will seek letters from high school teachers, employers, or any other person who can speak sincerely about the applicant.


An unofficial admission requirement for recording arts programs is active interest in recording arts. This does not mean, however, that you are expected to have formal training in recording arts. Schools will often state directly that they have no recording arts pre-requisites for admission. That beings said, it certainly helps if you've been involved with music or TV production in high school or have significant experience with computer programs. In addition to preparing you for the more challenging college coursework, it also shows that you have a solid interest in the subject.


Since recording arts is an artistic and creative field, even in its more technical variations, most recording arts programs require applicants to include a portfolio of their work. This is another great reason to get involved with your recording arts interest while you're still in high school. A portfolio can include just about any sort of creative, artistic, or musical work you've produced that you feel is relevant to your blossoming recording arts career. Typically recording arts programs are looking for these things in CD or DVD format.

Additional Admission Requirements for International Students

The application process for a recording arts degree becomes a little more complicated for international students, but it's nothing that should deter you from chasing your dream career. As mentioned above, each school will have a slightly different process for international applications so make sure you thoroughly research your school's requirements. Larger universities and some specialized colleges have international centers with staff dedicated to guiding prospective students through the sometimes confusing application process.

English language proficiency

International applicants to recording arts degree programs will need to demonstrate English language proficiency. More often than not, this can be done by submitting TOEFL scores. Each school maintains different score requirements, and some schools will accept alternative tests, such as IELTS or Accuplacer.


Colleges, universities, and other higher education institutions will always ask international applicants for a copy of the identification page of their passport. Sometimes schools will require that the passport be valid through six months past a student's intended stay in the US.

US student visa

Once you are accepted into a recording arts program, the school will send you an I-20 form, which is required to apply for a US student visa (F1). Another requirement for both the student visa and final admission into a school is a certificate of financial guarantee, which demonstrates a student's ability to pay for his or her education. Depending on the school, other forms may be necessary, such as a SEVIS I-901 fee receipt. Check with your prospective program to make sure you know its requirements for international students.

The application process for a recording arts degree may be taxing, but after you've made it through, you're well on your way to an exciting and rewarding career!

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