BA/BFA, pronounced bah-fuh, is the word used to describe a tiny portion of students at The New School who are working towards two degrees. The word literally describes what such a student will achieve at the end of their five years at The New School—a BA (Bachelor of Arts) from Eugene Lang and a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) from Parsons.
When I came into The New School as a freshman I was only studying at Parsons. In fact, I didn’t decide to transfer until Fall 2009 about half way through my third semester. I didn’t come in as a BA/BFA student not because I wasn’t aware of the option. I had actually given it some thought and chose not to do the program because I figured I really ought to make up my mind what I was interested in. I’d had a bit of a decision crisis when applying for schools because I thought I wanted to do English and I thought I wanted to do design, but I really wanted to make up my mind one way or the other and give one of the two areas everything I had.
It took me a while to realize I didn’t have to pick one over the other. And that I’d be happier if I let myself be interested and passionate about two things rather than just one. I think often students think they must pick just one field to excel in. For me, exploring two different majors and doing my best in more than one way was even more rewarding.
I wasn’t discontent as just a Parsons student. I enjoyed foundation year and I loved Communication Design. My teachers were great, I was creating good work and I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I felt completely satisfied, but I was also oddly discontent. The part of me that loved reading and writing was starting to itch.
I went to a information meeting regarding internal transfer to the BA/BFA program around October 2009 and made up my mind. The application to Lang was straightforward and though I knew I’d be pressured to finish my BA in time since I was starting late, my advisor assured me it was possible. I was accepted in Spring 2010 and became a full time BA/BFA student in Literary Studies with a concentration in writing starting Fall 2010.
BA/BFA can be confusing. Being at The New School is already different from most universities and any student who studies here can safely say that their experience is unique. So being BA/BFA in a school that’s already different pushes the boundaries of typical tertiary education. Of course, most New School students aren’t in BA/BFA, but it’s worth considering. Deciding to apply to BA/BFA is an individual decision and has to do not only with a student’s interests but also with their personality.
Please let me know if you have further questions about being BA/BFA.