How to Apply



Application Deadlines: Freshmen

NOV 15 N/A Early Action and Priority Merit Scholarship Deadline (Non-Binding; offers larger merit scholarships, priority housing and 1st-semester course registration)
MAR 15 DEC 1 Merit Scholarship Deadline for Freshmen
APR 15 JAN 1 Final Application Deadline*

Application Deadlines: Transfers

NOV 15 DEC 1 Priority Merit Scholarship Deadline for Transfers
MAR 15 JAN 1 Final Merit Scholarship Deadline for Transfers
JUN 1 n/a Final Application Deadline for Transfers*
*Applications received after these deadlines will be reviewed on a case-by-base basis.

Application Fees:

$65 U.S. Applicants
$85 International Applicants

If you are submitting an application fee waiver from your high school or college, please answer "Yes" in the Common App Fee Waiver Section. Please keep in mind you must meet one the economic benchmarks set by Common App and certify your eligibility.

Please click on the categories below to learn about additional application requirements.

Submit a portfolio that gives us a sense of you, your interests, and your willingness to experiment, explore, and think beyond technical skills.  There is no one “right way” to construct a portfolio—you choose what to present. Visit Portfolio Requirements by Degree Program for more detailed information regarding portfolios.

We strongly encourage you to meet with us at one of our events or on campus for individualized feedback about your portfolio.

The portfolio you submit for admission is the one that we will evaluate for merit scholarship.

View our portfolio preparation guide for more information.

General Portfolio Guidelines

  • Show us 10–15 of your best and most recent works.
  • Use your portfolio to showcase your interests, skills, and creative potential.
  • You may show us work created across media or focus entirely in one medium.
  • Work can range from observational to abstract.
  • We have no media-specific limitations nor do we present portfolio assignments.

Advice for Developing a Merit Scholarship Portfolio

  • Be bold, experiment, take risks, and be inventive.
  • Show us what makes you different, and the things about which you are passionate.
  • Build a portfolio of thematic work —show multiple pieces that share similar ideas, techniques, or media.
  • Mesh great ideas —political, environmental, and even social within your work.
  • Think about your portfolio as a gallery show you are curating
  • Highlight work that is consistently expressive, curious, and though-provoking.

How to Submit Your Work

Upload you work electronically through SlideRoom, which you will access through SAIC's member screen within the Common Application under the Portfolio section.

Guidelines for Submitting Work

Type of Media Accepted File Types Preferred File Size
Images .jpg, .gif, .png 72 dpi, no more than 600 pixels in any direction
Video .flv, .wmv, .mov 5 minutes total for all submitted pieces
Audio .mp3 5 minutes total for all submitted pieces
Text Documents MUST be .pdf No more than 1mb per .pdf. PDFs may be broke down into multiple documents.




Your statement should tell us about the work in your portfolio. Why did you make it? How did you make it? What inspired you to make it? What does your artistic process look like? Share why you are interested in utilizing certain materials, and in which exhibitions you have participated. How have specific experiences contributed to the making of your work?

While there are no word count limitations, we recommend a 250–500 word statement. Construct your essay with care, and pay attention to your grammar and spelling.

If you are applying to the BFA with an Emphasis in Writing, your statement also needs to address how you imagine a studio arts environment will impact your writing practice.

You may submit your artist's statement via the Common Application (within the member specific questions), or through your SlideRoom ePortfolio submission.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago considers students who have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent for admission. Your counselor may submit your transcript through the Common Application, Parchment, email or mail:

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Undergraduate Admissions
36 S. Wabash, suite 1201
Chicago, IL  60603

If your high school diploma(s), certificate(s), or transcript(s) are in a language other than English, please include officially translated transcripts.

All admission decisions are subject to evaluation of final high school transcripts, which must be received by August 15 for fall, and January 15 for spring.

U.S. residents, and international students whose first language is English or are attending U.S.-accredited high schools abroad, or who have studied in an English-language school for 4+ years or earned 12 or more semester hours of college credit from an English-language university are not required to submit ACT, SAT or language assessment scores. If you believe your scores provide additional insight into your academic abilities, please feel free to submit them.

International students who do not meet the above criteria need to submit a language assessment from any of the following and must meet the designated minimum scores:

* For the BA in Art History degree, a 96 TOEFL IBT or equivalent is required.

Test scores may be sent directly to us by selecting our school codes when taking the test.

  • SAIC's ACT Code: 1136
  • SAIC's SAT Code: 1713
  • SAIC's TOEFL Code: 1713

Email, or mail scores to:

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Undergraduate Admissions
36 S. Wabash Ave., suite 1201
Chicago, IL  60603

Submit one letter of recommendation written by an instructor or other professional who can evaluate your motivation, commitment, maturity, and potential to succeed at SAIC. If you are currently not in school and cannot locate an instructor or guidance counselor, you may ask an employer or other individual capable of assessing you from a critical perspective.

Your recommender should reference your full name and date of birth, and may submit in the following ways:

  • Electronically through the Common Application
  • Fax to 312.629.6101
  • Email to
  • Mail to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Undergraduate Admissions, 36 S. Wabash Ave., suite 1201, Chicago, IL  60603