This one is for all you future fashion majors out there.
I knew I wanted to study fashion when I was just 10 years old. And when it came time to think about my post-graduation plans sophomore year of high school, I decided I wanted to major in Fashion Merchandising/ Fashion Business, rather than just Fashion Design.
Although art is my passion and I prefer it over anything business-related, I knew back then that studying Fashion Design, I would only learn about the creative aspect of the fashion industry. I wanted to have a more solid foundation about the fashion industry. That is why I chose Fashion Merchandising, which can give me the knowledge needed for any career in the fashion world.
Junior year of high school, I began to compile a list of colleges. That list had about 20 schools on it. By senior year, I had narrowed it down to 7, then 6. Those are the schools I applied to.
What colleges do I apply to?
When it comes to choosing a college, think about what you would really like to have in your college experience. In simple terms: do you want a green campus, with trees and a square/park or a building in the city? An art school or a liberal arts school? Private or public? Communal bathrooms or private bathrooms? Small class sizes or big? Close to home or across the country? You get my point. It is important to take these preferences into consideration when choosing colleges to apply to. I recommend using the college search filter by Big Future at collegeboard.com to filter colleges with your preferences.
Why is this important?
No matter you major, you will be attending this institution until you receive your diploma, so of course you want to love it!
Liberal Arts: I’ve heard that in many cases, the major you choose in the beginning of your collegiate career is not always the major you end up receiving a diploma in. Just in case I’d be a part of that group of people who changes their major, I wanted to go to a liberal arts college. That way, not only would I also take a variety of courses, I’d also have options in case I wanted to change my major.
Type: I’m not a huge fan of the city, so I wanted a campus that was like a little village: buildings not far from another, sports stadium, park, trees, bushes – the real campus experience.
Size: I also wanted small class sizes. You’ve probably heard that it’s better to not just be a number. In small classes, you are able to interact more with the professor(s) and get more attention/help. Most likely your professor will know your name, and that makes everything easier – especially when you’re having trouble with the curriculum.
Location: Since I plan to stay in the Northeast the rest of my life, I figured I’d also make location a huge deciding factor. Not all my college choices were in the Northeast, but they are on this side of the country. Eight hours was my maximum distance, and I did NOT want to go some place that always had warm temperatures. I need my four seasons.
Prestige: I have always been a fan of academic prestige. Since Ivy League schools didn’t offer anything fashion-related, they were out of the question. I wanted to attend a school that at least had an Honors Program.
Foreign Language: I love learning foreign languages, and Italian is next on my list. That being said, I wanted to attend a school that allowed me to learn Italian.
Note* When I applied to the colleges below, I didn’t consider the cost a factor. Only once I received scholarship offers did I factor cost into my decision.
Mount Ida College
Colleges I toured, but did not apply to: Centenary College, Marist College, Stevenson University
The Final Stretch:
My Top 3 Choices ended up being Mercyhurst University, Mount Ida College, and Philadelphia University. Unfortunately PhilaU did not give me as much scholarship money as I had hoped, and sadly I had to toss that college as an option. The choices left were Mercyhurst and Mount Ida, and I liked them equally.
Mercyhurst VS. Mount Ida
As I said earlier, I wanted to learn both the creative and business aspects of the fashion industry. One of the professors at Mount Ida College told me: “You can’t have one without the other.” When she said that, I knew that school would be one of my top choices – a college that offered both the art and business aspects of fashion in their Fashion Merchandising & Marketing Program.
Mercyhurst’s fashion program wasn’t quite the same, but it did offer the courses I was interested in taking.
I had to make a decision fast. Even though the last official day to confirm your spot is May 1st, I had until April 7th. Why? BOTH colleges had their Accepted Students Day on April 9th – THE SAME DAY! So, the deciding factor between these two colleges came down to the financials. It was close, but ultimately Mercyhurst won with the difference being $2K.
My advice to you:
I want all of you to know that there is a multitude of careers in the fashion industry. Many that you may not have even heard of. Do some research, and decide which major would be best for your desired career. DON’T WAIT UNTIL LAST MINUTE! I personally don’t know exactly what I’d like to do yet. That’s why I want to learn all aspects of the fashion industry. While I do have an idea, my plans may change. You can check out my current degree plans in my about me page.
If you can’t decide between Fashion Design or Fashion Merchandising, choose a college that has both. If you’d like to major in Textiles, choose a college that has that. ALWAYS make sure your desired major, and even back-up major choice is available at the college you choose to apply to/attend.
Location is also more important than you think. Most colleges require students to do internships. An internship can be the key to a student’s future job. That’s why I wanted to stay at most 8 hours away from home. Currently I live 45 minutes away from NYC, and if I end up getting an internship there (most likely with the FIT Visiting Student Program), it’s a possibility my future job will be there too. Like I said, I’d like to stay in the Northeast, so it is wise to attend a college near where you’d like to live/work one day.
Lastly, be sure to tour your top colleges before making a final decision. Sometimes just the feeling you get on the campus can be your indication of whether or not the campus is right for you.
While not everyone has the same preferences or financial status, it can still be easy to find the right fit for you. While I, for example, would love to go to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), it’s in California. While Philadelphia University is beautiful, it’s too expensive, for me at least. If you have a dream of living in LA, go for it; if you want to be the newest fashion designer in NYC, make it happen!
If you need some answers to your questions, leave them in the comment section or check out my contact page for more ways to get in touch!
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I hope you all enjoyed this post, and for all you future fashion majors out there, I hope this makes your decision easier!