By Stefanie Forman
In the heart of tree-lined Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, Pratt Institute is a hub of contagious creativity. When touring the campus (which is home to about 4,000 undergraduates), we experienced inspired students honing their craft and exploring their passions. It was exciting to be part of this energy at this top ranked art, design, and architecture school.
Pratt is comprised of six different schools, and undergraduates can pursue one of 22 degree programs: the AAS, AOS, or BFA in the School of Art, a dual undergraduate/graduate degree in Art and Design Education; a BFA or BID in the School of Design; a BA in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and a BArch, BS, BPS or AAS in the School of Architecture
Students studying art and design will start with a foundation year that acts as a core curriculum rooted in studio work, art history, and liberal arts courses. For most majors, you can come in undecided. Foundation Year is the most structured and will be the most assignment-based year. Students work extremely hard, as they take six courses per term, including a six-hour studio course. As a result, many students find themselves spending long hours in the studio. But as one of our tour guides shared, because she’s so passionate about what she does and finds the work fascinating (and challenging), she enjoys much of this time outside of the classroom.
Second-year students then get to focus on their majors, while still having time to take electives, complete other department requirements, and pursue minors in different fields. Additionally, students get assigned personal studio space, which increase with size throughout their years at Pratt.
Students benefit from a 10:1 student/faculty ratio. The faculty, who are practicing professional artists and scholars, are a big draw for students and very involved with student success. Professors help students make contacts for their first internships and future jobs, and for example, many major companies will attend events like seniors’ fashion/runway shows. Graduates of Pratt believe they have received some of the finest training in their craft.
Pratt also has strong study abroad programs that are very selective due to size–nominations are required for admissions. But, they are also partnered with other schools through programs such as API and SAI, which gives more options.
On our visit, we saw students immersed in their work–whether it was in communal study areas, lounge spaces, setting up a digital art display in the student center, collaborating on a mannequin, or generating mini replicas of of furniture–everyone appeared engaged. Ultimately, Pratt’s mission is “To educate artists and creative professionals to be responsible contributors to society.”
With Pratt being a mostly pre-professional school, students spend much of their time on their studies. The campus, which sprawls over 25 acres, is the only art school with an enclosed campus and is home to the largest public sculpture garden in the city. Although students are very present on campus, they still take advantage of being in this incredible area of Brooklyn and its close proximity to Manhattan.
Most freshmen live on campus, which is guaranteed, and then after that, it’s split between on-campus and off-campus housing. There are two sorortites and no fraternities and over 140 clubs wiith a equal mix of academic and non-academic foci.
Pratt is a DIII school offering 12 sports teams and is home to the third largest recreational athletic center in New York City, where students take advantage of free weekly classes like yoga.
We had three tour guides: an undergraduate Drawing major from California; an undergraduate Industrial Design major from Vancouver; and a graduate Design Management student from India. They were all creative, thoughtful, knowledgable, curious, focused, and passionate, which seemed to describe the student body as a whole.
The undergraduate population is about 70% female and 30% male. Roughly 76% of students come from out of state and about 28% of the population is international. The three states that have the largest presence (in order) are New York (24%), New Jersey, and California.
Even though Pratt is located within a city, students feel safe in their enclosed campus. The school closes at 7 PM to the public, there is 24/7 security in front of each dorm and gate, and its a Blue Light school, which you can press if you ever feel like you are in danger (we were told they haven’t been used yet).
Clinton Hill is one of the most desired Brooklyn neighborhoods to live in because of its historic buildings, greenery, rich culture, and endless amazing restaurants (some of the top-rated restaurants in New York) and shops. It’s also between Fort Greene and Bed-Stuy, two other bustling areas with so much to explore. Additionally, Pratt is close to the G train and multiple bus lines, making it acccesible to other parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan, which is where you can find many students outside of the classroom.
Admissions and Financial Aid
Pratt offers two options for the application process: Early Action and Regular decision–both non-binding. Most students who apply–program dependent–are required to submit a portfolio. Requirements are clearly stated on their website and does not need to be major specific.
The average GPA of incoming students is 3.86. Pratt is test-optional: the middle 50% ACT range is 26-30, the middle 50% SAT EBR range is 540-630, and the middle 50% SAT math range is 570-700. The overall acceptance rate is 62%.
65% of non-need undergraduates receive merit-aid, and the average award size is $19,200. 60% of needs are met. All applicants to Pratt are considered, and awards are based upon the student’s portfolio, GPA, and test scores.
Pratt is for a student who is creative, motivated, focused, and ready to dive into their craft. Although there is a little downtime because everyone is dedicated to working in the studio after class, students figure out how to take advantage of a true artist community and its resources in an enclosed campus, while experiencing the best of Brooklyn and Manhattan city life.