San Francisco High School of the Arts

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The integration of traditional arts into the core curriculum nurtures, in our students, a strong sense of focus and perseverance essential for both academic and artistic achievement. Our exemplary Whole Child Education Model was recognized by the WASC visiting committee as “a unique and needed educational option for students not only in California but internationally as well.”

Our College Counseling Program is designed to help each student find the college that is right for them. Our school counselors guide our high school students with their college applications, resumes, artistic portfolios, auditions, and interviews. Every student will receive individual attention from our school’s college counselors from freshman to senior year. Learn more about our College Counseling Program. (link to Academics page College Counseling section)

For seven years in a row, we have maintained a 100% graduation rate and 100% of our students were accepted into 4-year colleges and universities. Moreover, most of our graduates to-date have been accepted into their top choice 4-year colleges and universities, including UCs (Berkeley, LA, San Diego, Davis…),  New York University, Purdue University, and the following top-ranking fine arts colleges:

  • Parsons School of Design
  • Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
  • Pratt Institute
  • School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
  • ArtCenter College of Design
  • Maryland Institute College of Arts (MICA)

Learn more about college acceptance

Yes. While studying at SF High School of the Arts, students must choose and focus on one of our four artistic programs — music, visual arts, ballet, and Chinese dance.

Yes. As well as continuously building on their artistic caliber, all students are required to complete our rigorous academic program before graduation.

Yes. Every year, the High School of the Arts has two recitals at the Herbst Theater. We host a variety of community events that showcase our students’ talents and also regularly participate in various performances for local communities.

As the only private, independent art school that serves young artists and scholars from grades 6-12 in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco High School of the Arts (HSArts) distinguishes itself from other well-known, local art schools, like Ruth Asawa School of the Arts (SOTA), a public school in the San Francisco Unified School District. 

HSArts is a small school and we have big expectations of ourselves and our holistic approach to educating our students. We integrate our comprehensive arts program into our rigorous academic program while emphasizing in our students the importance of self-discipline that comes from the timeless values of respect,  responsibility, honesty, kindness, empathy, and tolerance. 

All students interested in arts education are encouraged to apply. HSArts values a student’s artistic passion more than their experience, which is most often revealed during the Admissions process. Our students are admitted with an art emphasis and our college counseling team is strongly committed to their development as an artist. Each receives individualized guidance and a customized pathway of courses based on their talent and dedication to their art. HSArts students also have the opportunity to explore other artistic venues of interest to them during their course of intensive study.

We at HSArts strongly believe that the harmonious integration of character development, artistic training, and academic study will give rise to HSArts graduates ready and able to make vital contributions to the world.

Besides the Physical Education classes, we also offer a sports club in which participating students strengthen their team-building skills through popular sports such as basketball, volleyball, and soccer. SF High School of the Arts also has a school basketball team that has games with other private schools in the area.

Most classes have ten or fewer students. Our small classes allow each student to receive ample individualized attention, which helps ensure effective learning suited to various learning styles.

Academic teachers will only assign meaningful homework for students. For different grades and for different students the time spent on homework is different. Middle school students typically have an average homework load between 1-2 hours per day. For high school students, the homework load ranges from 2-3 hours per day.

A hearty hot meal is served for lunch every day, from 11:15am to 12:00pm. View lunch menu

The Lunch Program is $1,350 per year.

No.  We are a nonreligious, nonprofit arts school. We do not teach classes about religion, nor do we promote any religion in any way. Our staff and students come from a variety of different backgrounds and uphold a firm non-discrimination policy.

All applicants should send in their portfolio on experiences and accomplishments in visual or performing arts. High school students applying for the Music Conservatory program must demonstrate prior training by submitting an audition recording. Learn more about audition requirements.

All applicants to the Music Conservatory program must audition by submitting a recording to the music department. Learn more about audition requirements.

The deadline to apply for the 2020-21 school year is January 15, 2021.  We will begin mailing decision letters for the upcoming school year in mid-March.

We accept high school transfer students who are entering grades 9, 10, and 11. Transfer students must complete at least two full years of study at the High School of the Arts in order to graduate.

High School of the Arts accepts late applications if there are program openings. Contact us if you wish to inquire about programs that are open for late application. For completed applications received after mid-March, decision letters are mailed within two weeks after the interview.

Yes, we encourage students to explore different options. Nevertheless, we strongly urge our students to make their final program choice within the first semester of attending. This will help ensure that they have enough time to complete relevant program requirements, and reach professional artistic levels by the time they graduate.

Yes, students are required to be in school uniform for the academic portion of the day. There are many combinations of shirts, sweaters, jackets, skirts, and pants for students to choose from. See our Student Life page for more information.

Yes. We offer supervised study halls on Monday through Friday, from 4 to 6 pm. We have a variety of after school school clubs and activities available.

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