If you’re interested in applying to programs at SFPC but are unsure about how to write your application, these are our considerations in our admissions process.
The main thing that we are trying to do in our selection process is to put together a cohort of people with diverse backgrounds and interests who will have a lot to offer to each other as peers. We center people from identities and backgrounds that are often marginalized and excluded from art, technology, and higher education spaces, and look for a cohort with a wide range of passions, skills, experiences, and technical abilities. Above all, we are selecting for openness to building a shared experience around learning, critical theory, art making, and technology. Please email us at email@example.com with any questions you may have.
Artistic merit and technical expertise are both qualities we look for in applications, but they are not the central concern. If an applicant has a polished portfolio, or an active github page (for instance) it’s worthwhile to ask—what would this person like to learn from their peers? What would they be interested in offering? And if an applicant has less experience with code/tech, or does not identify as an artist, the same questions apply. A central belief is that people of varying levels of experience have a lot to learn and unlearn from each other in the fields of art and technology, so striking a balance of participants is the most important thing.
We get many applications from current students, researchers, and teachers in academia. Many of these students get into SFPC programs! However, where we can, we look to give opportunities to people who may not have other access to art, technology and critical theory education.
We really value hearing that applicants are interested in each other. We are trying to move towards future possibilities in education where the role of teacher is less and less entrenched. When an application gives the sense that a person is eager to participate in creating a horizontal learning environment, that means a lot to us.
We love having a wide range of ages and geographies in classes, and having participants coming to class for all different reasons—connection, joy, personal interest, professional development and self-discovery to name a few.
We want to provide pathways for alumni to come back to the school, and for new folks to join. In a class of 20, we look to reserve between 4-6 seats for alumni who apply. When making difficult decisions between applicants who the admissions team is roughly equally excited about, the team is encouraged to check applicants against a list of past applicants, giving priority first to folks who have been waitlisted in the past, and then to folks who have been rejected in the past.
We do not look at applicants’ ability to pay any amount of tuition in the first round of reviewing applications. In the first round, we admit as many applicants as we can, regardless of their ability to pay, until we run out of scholarship funds. After we run out of scholarship funds, we begin a second round where ability to pay influences admissions decisions. Unfortunately we do not currently have the funding to fully disregard ability to pay in our application process, but we hope to move towards a system in which we make admissions decisions that are not based on an applicants’ ability to pay.