You've made your decision: Culinary arts are what you want to do with the rest of your life. But you are not sure how to get into a degree program. Here are a few tips to help you reach your goal.
- Gather as much information as you can about various culinary schools and degree programs offered by colleges and universities. You want to look closely at what is required by each of the programs, the amount of time needed to successfully complete the programs, and what each program promises to provide in the way of instruction. Make a list of at least five institutions that you believe will be right for you, then secure the applications.
- Before you complete the first blank on the application, read both the application and any guidelines that are provided. Make sure you understand exactly what is required in the way of information; do not hazard a guess. If you are unsure about any of the questions, do not hesitate to contact the school and get clarification. Once your preliminary review is complete, fill out the application completely and concisely. Your application will be the very first impression you have the chance to make. It is up to you to make sure the impression is a favorable one.
- Many institutions will ask for an essay to accompany your application. Again, it is very important to understand precisely what type of essay the school wants. Some institutions will be looking for a personal angle, while others are more concerned with your ability to organize facts related to the topic you are given. Make sure that you read the guidelines closely to ascertain what type of essays tend to catch the attention of the particular school. It is not very likely that you will be able to use the same essay for all five of the schools on your list. Be prepared to adapt your basic premise to each one, depending on the instructions you receive from each institution.
- You may be invited to attend events set aside for prospective students, or even receive a request for an interview with one of the admissions committee. Should these opportunities arise, make sure to present yourself as a professional. Wear clothing that is in keeping with the school's standards. Carry yourself with dignity and exercise proper business decorum for the duration of your visit. Maintain a pleasant appearance. Your demeanor will be watched and noted. If the impression you make is favorable, your chances for acceptance improve a great deal.
If you receive the green light on several of your applications, weigh the pros and cons of each one carefully before making your final choice. For the ones that you choose not to attend, make sure that you reply to each school's acceptance letter. Acknowledge receipt of the letter, let them know you have chosen to attend another institution, and thank them for their consideration. You never know when things will not work out as you planned, and you may need to switch schools. A future application from you will be more likely to be viewed in a positive light if you have presented yourself as a professional during the first round of applications.
Culinary arts schools are the doorway to a great career. With a little planning and by paying attention to detail, you can enter the school of your choice.