10 months ago
Admissions Advice

Should I be submitting supplementals? (both instrumental and vocal)

Sooooo... I am a rising senior and I'm pretty confused about whether or not I should be submitting portfolios to my colleges. I play acoustic guitar and electric bass, I also sing. I have absolutely no plan to major in music, but I hope to participate in choir or, maybe, an instrumental group at whichever college I go to. This being the case, am I supposed to submit portfolios or will that put me on some special, "music applicants" pool. For context, the schools I'd be potentially submitting these portfolios to would be Vassar, Kenyon, Hamilton, and William and Mary. Thank you so much! I understand that I might be able to email these schools and I'd definitely be willing to, I just don't know if it's necessary to ask this question to each individual school! Let me know if anybody has any knowledge about either of these schools please, I need any advice.

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
10 months ago

Some schools welcome supplemental materials from students who have had significant participation in music, dance, theatre, visual arts, the sciences or mathematics (that exceeds coursework and course requirements).

I would recommend checking the application requirements for each of the schools you listed to see if they mention it. If they do accept a supplemental art/music portfolio it likely wouldn't require you to major in music or art.

My sister submitted a singing sample for Hobart and William Smith but she majored in Psych. I think it could help with scholarship consideration.

10 months ago

Hi there! If you've had significant participation in music and you plan to continue it, you might consider submitting one, but keep in mind a few things:

1. Most people who submit arts supplements are really, really good. Like the kind of good that gets you into state/national ensembles, or gets you that level of awards. If you participate casually in music, and submit a supplement that isn't as good in comparison, it may actually hurt your application.

2. Submitting a supplement doesn't necessarily put you in a special pool - the supplements usually get sent to the corresponding music departments, and are rated, then sent back to the admissions committee. At smaller schools like yours, however, adcoms might be looking to "fill" certain roles on campus (like people to join the orchestra). If you submit a supplement that indicates you could fill a certain role (and the rest of your application backs it up, i.e., you've played in orchestra throughout high school), that might give you a boost.

I don't have any personal experience with your schools, but I went to Amherst (another small LAC), and submitted a violin supplement (I participated in relatively-selective orchestras throughout HS). I believe it impacted my application because the orchestra conductor recruited me (and others who'd submitted) upon acceptance, and he mentioned my supplement. So this helped me there, but in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have submitted an arts supplement at larger schools like Duke and Princeton. With the bigger applicant pool and more skilled musicians, my supplement was probably not rated highly, which might've hurt my application (makes it look like I think I've good when I'm not that good relatively).

So long story short: evaluate your music abilities critically, and ask for a second or third opinion. For the music disciplines you've actively participated in (and at least in a somewhat competitive context), you might consider submitting an arts supplement. But avoid submitting supplements for any music that was more casual for you.

Hope this helps, and let me know if you have more questions! Also, this article might help: https://blog.collegevine.com/should-i-submit-an-arts-supplement-the-dangers-of-submitting-supplementary-application-materials/


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