DP Visual Art Seniors to Attend Top Art Universities

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By Hanna Nam, News Writer

As GSIS was commended by the IB visiting committee for having a thriving arts program, DP Visual Art seniors are on their way to the world’s top art universities. GSIS sent more students to top art universities than ever before with Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the top design school in the world and Carnegie Mellon, one of the top universities in the United States.

“When I actually got the admissions letter I was so happy that I cried,” said Cynthia Lee. 

Cynthia was accepted to RISD with her early decision. “I was 75 percent sure that I would be accepted.” She continued, “When I was working on my artwork, I saw others working on their own artwork.”

Cynthia commented that most of the non-GSIS art students she came into contact with “were not very passionate about their artworks, but they just wanted to get into a good college.” Yet she also felt that there “were people who were really into art and doing great.”

“I guess I was one of them,” Cynthia said. 

Senior Toni Choi was also accepted to RISD. “RISD was my dream school so I didn’t expect myself to be accepted, so I am very satisfied by the result. Compared to my SAT score and the quality of my portfolio it was very surprising.”

Despite getting acceptances from top art schools, achieving college acceptances came with great challenge and endurance.

Cynthia explained how important time management was in achieving success. “In DP Visual Art, HL students are required to produce 8 to 10 artworks. But we only did 8 to 9 because we had less time. Students tend to procrastinate until the deadline. If the artwork is due on Monday they stay after school until 5:30 p.m. to finish their work.”

Toni Choi also stressed the importance of time management. “I was so behind in my workbook because I lost one at the beginning of my Junior year. So I had to finish it off by doing it on my computer. I was the first person to do the digital workbook in GSIS.” She continued, “Besides art, everything was challenging from the start to the end. I did other activities like volleyball so it was challenging to balance my activities with my studies.”

When asked about advice to give underclassmen, Cynthia responded by suggesting an academic viewpoint of art. “I always wanted to tell them that they should see art in a more academic way instead of just drawing. Skill is important but the most important part is for them to understand why they are doing art. They shouldn’t believe that they are doing art just because they like it. It is not going to help you go anywhere.”

Cynthia also suggested that art students form a solid goal within their art. “When you get into college, there will be many students who have specific goals. I advise students to choose a specific subject or topic and be consistent within their artworks.

She added, “For me I am most interested in monsters and stories, so I am majoring in illustration to draw the images that I have in my brain. The most important thing for an art student is for them to know what they want to do.”

The 12 DP Art students will attend eight different schools with nine of the 12 students attending a top art university. These include: RISDPrattCarnegie Mellon, and, SAIC. Yet numerous students were accepted to multiple top universities making decisions difficult. 

Teddy Ahn, known for his unique Graffiti Art style and desire to major in architecture was accepted to RISD and Pratt. “I applied to many good schools and was expecting just a few acceptances, but God blessed me with the majority of the schools getting back to me with acceptance letters. After contemplating, it came down to two schools, which were RISD and Pratt. I decided to commit to Pratt Institute for its great architecture program, which is recognized globally.” Teddy continued, “I could not say no the Presidential Merit Scholarship,” which is awarded for academic excellence.

 Teddy also mentioned that when it came to city life he felt Pratt offered the best environment for him.

“Yes everyone knows that RISD is like Harvard of art schools and it was one of my dream schools, but I decided to make Pratt Institute the place for me to fulfill my dreams and make the best out of it,” said Teddy

In addition to being accepted to top art universities, three of the twelve students opted to attend Liberal Art Universities. Hannah Kim accepted admission to Boston University, a top 50 university, while Monica Kim accepted admission to Drexel and Kaye Park accepted admission to Syracuse University, both top 100 universities.

The following is a list of the University Rankings:


– First in the world for Design

– First in Printmaking.

– First in Industrial Design.

– Second in Fine Arts.

– Second in Drawing and Painting.

– Third in Ceramics.

– Third in Photography.

– Fourth in multimedia/visual communications.

– Fifth in sculpture.


– One of the top ranking schools in Design.

– Third in Fashion Design.

– Eighth in Industrial Design.

– Eighth in Animation.

Carnegie Mellon:

– First Multimedia and Visual Communications.

– Third in Industrial Design.

– Fourth in Graphic Design.

– Seventh in Fine Arts.

– Twelfth in Sculpture.

– Twentieth in Painting and Drawing.

– Twentieth in Photography.


– Tenth in Video Game Design.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC):

– Twelfth in Art Schools nationally.

– Top 50 for fashion worldwide.

Syracuse University:

– Third in Architecture.