Getting into culinary school can be as simple as filling out an application or as complicated as taking exams, undergoing interviews, and proving financial feasibility. How difficult or how easy your application process will be depends on where you go to school and your personal background. While you will need to check out each culinary program before you can know for certain what steps are required, there are a few things to consider before you pay that application fee.
Competition: Highly competitive culinary schools like the Institute of Culinary Education and Culinary Institute of America are going to be more difficult to get into than a vocational program located in almost every state. While these more prestigious programs may not require you to have a perfect high school grade point average or ten years of experience in the food industry, you may have to demonstrate your commitment to your culinary education through other types of experiences, including internships, volunteering efforts, seminars, and other related activities.
Academics: If you intend to get an Associate, Bachelor’s, or even Master’s degree in your chosen field of culinary study, you will need to submit documents like high school transcripts, letters of reference, and detailed applications (often with essays), and you may even need to take an admissions test. These are usually the same requirements that come with any type of education at a community college or public or private university.
Costs: The costs of culinary school can be high, and most schools want to make sure you know the ins and outs of your payment plan before you are admitted to the program. This means that in addition to paying around $50 for an application fee, you may need to sit down with one of the school’s financial advisors to map out what type of funding you’ll be receiving and how you will pay it back over the next five, ten, or even twenty years.
Getting into culinary school can be one of the most exciting times of your career. Although not getting into your desired program can be disappointing, remember that the culinary world is competitive after you graduate as well as before. You have to work hard and keep on trying in order to be a real success.