Frequently Asked Questions

  • DSA Pathways: Detroit School of Arts, Middle School Arts Conservatories

    What is the DSA Pathways Initiative? 

    DSA Pathways is an initiative launched by the District to devote resources and expertise to enhance the artistic and educational programs of Detroit School of Arts (DSA) and four selected K-8 Feeder Schools: John R. King Academic and Performing Arts Academy, Brenda Scott Academy for Theatre Arts, Spain Elementary-Middle School, Edward “Duke” Ellington Conservatory of Art and Music at Beckham Academy. “Pathways” not only refers to creating pathways for admission to DSA but also to the College and Career pathways for which these programs will prepare DPSCD students. New Middle School Arts Conservatories will be established in each of the DSA Feeder Schools, and all DSA Pathways schools will be supported by DSA Pathways Partners. 

    What are DSA Pathways Partners? 

    24 DSA Pathways Partners have been established to support the arts training at DSA and the 4 DSA Feeder Schools. These partners include colleges and universities, major cultural institutions, and community arts organizations. The partners’ work will be spread across the five DSA Pathways schools, though each school will not necessarily work with all of the 24 partner organizations. 

    What is a Middle School Arts Conservatory? 

    Arts Conservatory is a term for a school focused on the advanced study of one or more art forms. The DPSCD Middle School Arts Conservatory programs will allow selected 6th–8th-grade students to focus on intensive arts training in addition to their academic classes. Students will be admitted to DSA Pathways Middle School Arts Conservatories through application and audition. 

    Why do students need to apply and audition for Detroit School of Arts and Middle School Arts Conservatories? 

    Like other Application and Examination schools in DSPCD, DSA Pathways Schools are looking to identify students with specialized interests, talents and skills – in the Arts for potential conservatory students. In addition to identifying the students who would most benefit from advanced arts training, having them study alongside other students of similar artistic interests and skills will intensify the learning experience. 

    Can students currently attending schools outside of DPSCD apply and audition for DSA or the 4 Middle School Arts Conservatories? 

    Yes. Middle School and High School students from any school are eligible to apply, audition and – if accepted – attend Detroit School of the Arts or any of the 4 Middle School Arts Conservatories. 

    Will students already enrolled in one of the 4 Feeder Schools need to apply and audition for Middle School Conservatories? 

    Yes. All grade 6-8 students who wish to be a DSA Pathways Middle School Arts Conservatory must apply and audition to be accepted. Students already enrolled in the school will be given “audition priority.” This means that students already enrolled in one of the 4 DSA Feeder Schools will be allowed to audition for Conservatory spots on-site at their schools prior to auditions for students from other schools. 

    Do all middle school students at the DSA Feeder Schools need to apply to be in the Middle School Arts Conservatory in order to be enrolled in the school? 

    No. Middle School students at the DSA Feeder Schools do not need to be in the Arts Conservatory in order to be a student at the school. Middle school students not in the Arts Conservatory will continue to have the opportunity to take Arts and other K-8 electives. 

    Which Arts Disciplines can a student apply for? 

    Students applying for DSA and all Middle School Arts Conservatories can apply to major/focus in the following areas: Dance, Drama, Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, and Visual Arts. Students applying for DSA can also apply to major in Multimedia Production (a College Technical Education program) and Literary Arts (9th-grade applicants only). Students applying for DSA can only audition for one major. Students applying for the Middle School Arts Conservatories can audition for up to 3 areas of focus. 

    How does a student “audition” for non-performing arts, such as visual arts, literary arts, and multimedia production? 

    Students applying for non-performing arts will have a “portfolio review” and interview instead of a traditional audition. An arts “portfolio” is a collection of examples of a student’s work in that art form. For example, someone applying for visual arts would include samples of drawings, paintings, sculptures – or photos of these. 

    Are 8th graders in the Middle School Arts Conservatories guaranteed admission to Detroit School of Arts? 

    No. Students from the Middle School Arts Conservatories are still required to apply and audition for admission to DSA. The advantage these students will have is that at the Middle School Arts Conservatories, students will get intensive arts training that will help them prepare a competitive audition for DSA and they will get the opportunity to interact with and familiarize themselves with the DSA teachers in their artistic disciplines. 

  • The Fine & Performing Arts Program Application

    How do I apply for DSA or a Middle School Conservatory? 

    Applications will be accepted online only. Visit and click on the Apply Here button after 10 a.m. on March 7, 2022, to start the process. The first round of applications are due no later than 11:59 pm on May 29. Additional rounds will only be announced if space remains. 

    When will auditions take place? 

    Detroit School of Arts auditions are online only and must be submitted with the application. 

    The Middle School Arts Conservatory application allows online auditions to be submitted with the application, but also gives the option to schedule a virtual or socially distanced live audition.  Once an application has been submitted and accepted, the school will schedule a specific audition date for students who do not submit an audition with their application. 

    I don’t have a computer at home, and don’t have a way to start my application, and I need help with uploading documents. 

    The application is mobile-friendly and you can do it all on a smartphone. If you prefer, you can visit one of the DSA Pathways schools or check out one of our parent workshops. Be sure to bring all documents with you. You will have access to a laptop and someone to assist you with scanning and uploading your documents. 

    Whose contact information should I enter at the beginning of the application? 

    The contact information provided on page 1 of the application should be for the parent or guardian who can serve as the primary contact person for the student. Make sure you have regular and frequent access to the email address used to create this account; all major communications will be sent to this email. In most cases it is best if this email is that of the parent or guardian. 

    I need to change the email address on my account. How do I do that? 

    You can change the account email by clicking "Settings" from the user menu found in the top right of the browser, then clicking "Update Profile Info." 

    I’m interested in more than one school. How many schools can I apply for in this process? 

    You may only apply for one DSA Pathways school per student. 

    How will I know if my child was accepted? 

    After the audition process, final notifications will be provided by the school you applied for. It will be sent via email, or you can log into your Submittable account to see your results. Middle School Arts Conservatory students who apply on or before May 29th will get their results by no later than June 17th. 

    I had some problems with my application. Can I just start a new one? 

    No. You may make changes to your application before submitting. You may save drafts and return to it anytime before the deadline. If a student submits multiple applications, the first one will be accepted. 

    How do I save my application so I can return to it later? 

    You may save and come back to your application submission at any time by scrolling to the bottom and clicking "Save Draft." You can access it and resume editing by clicking on "Submissions", "Saved Drafts" and then "Continue." 

    I submitted my application, but realize I need to make a change. 

    If you would like to change, edit, or modify something on an application that has already been submitted prior to the application deadline, you can click into the application submission and then click "Edit" on the top right of the submission detail page. 

    I have general questions about DSA Pathways, DSA or Middle School Arts Conservatories. 

    Contact DSA Pathways Initiative Lead Consultant Richard Sperling, 313-873-4575 

    I have questions about each specific school. 

    Call the school or attend one of their scheduled open houses. 

    I have a technical question about Submittable, what should I do? 

    Contact Submittable's customer support helpline 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

    The phone number is: (855) 467-8264  ext. 2. 

    Whose email should I use to create my application account?  

    The email associated with the Submittable account will be used for all communications regarding the application, including exam and interview appointments and acceptance decisions. Please be sure the email address meets the following criteria:  

      • Belongs to, or is easily accessible by, the applicant’s parent/guardian  
      • It is an account that is frequently checked  
      • Please do not use a school-issued student email account, as firewalls often prevent emails from being sent to these accounts.  

    I don’t have a home computer.  How can I submit an application?   

    The application is mobile-friendly, so you may apply using any internet-enabled device like a smartphone or tablet. If not, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with our trained support team. Services include webinars and 1-on-1 support phone and video calls.   

    Click here to schedule an application assistance appointment. For a list of upcoming webinars and appointment dates, click here.   

    Whose contact information should I enter at the beginning of the application?  

    The contact information provided on page 1 of the application should be for the parent or guardian who can serve as the student's primary contact.  

    Ensure you have regular and frequent access to the email address used to create this account; all communications regarding the application will be sent to this email.   

    Who should complete the application?  

    A parent or guardian should complete the application and electronically sign it.