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Getting into an Art History MA program without a background in Art History.


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I graduated with a BA in Communications and Theater in 2005. Now, I find myself very interested in Art History. I have taken a continuing education class in Art History at NYU and continued to fall in love. I have a volunteer position lined up at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (starts Thursday!) and I have been researching programs.


My gpa is not the greatest. I'm even embarrassed to say based on other online accounts that I have read and the response that was garnered...but I am going to be brave. I have a 2.9.


I have researched programs and I am leaning very strongly towards Courtauld. 


I was wondering if anyone had any advice for me. What else can I do to make myself look as good as possible? Should I hire a tutor that does grad school applications? Do those even exist? Is Cortauld aiming too high? Am I dreaming? 


Are there any other programs that you think might be better for someone like me?



Thanks in advance for any help. 




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Hi Fiona!


Firstly, I want to preface this by saying that you should not give up and you are not "dreaming."  While the low GPA is certainly a hurdle, if you can make a compelling case for your interest in Art History then it probably won't be something that outright eliminates you.  


The Courtauld is pretty selective, but they also accept a pretty large number of people.  My GPA was far from 4.0 but was accepted anyways.  I would say you should certainly apply, but don't put all your eggs in that basket.  Also, you are probably aware of this, but the Courtauld is very expensive and the chances of getting any sort of funding are very slim, so it might not even be a great option if you are accepted.  


What I would recommend above anything else right now is to start emailing prospective professors.  If you can get someone in your corner then that will make all the difference.  Make a case for why you want to study what you want to study, and if there is a reason for the low GPA then make sure that is included in your application (i.e. my GPA was significantly lowered because of my math and science gen eds but my major gpa was always strong).  Also, I would say hedge your bets if you can.  Apply to a large number of programs.  If you have an art history professor that you are close with make sure you consult them and run your application by them before you submit.  And grad cafe is very helpful!


Good luck; don't give up!

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