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New Mexico School for the Arts

Apply to NMSA!

New Mexico's Public High School for the Arts


Applications for rolling auditions are OPEN in Creative Writing & Dance

Application Process


Currently, the New Mexico School for the Arts accepts approximately 60 students in 9th grade, and a limited number of positions may be available in the 10th and 11th grades, depending on enrollment levels. Seniors are only considered for admission if they are transferring from another arts high school.

Many students begin the application process by attending a Shadow Day. This is not mandatory, but gives prospective students an opportunity to spend a day on campus, getting a feel for the community, school day, academic classes and chosen art department. Shadow Day participants must be in the 8th grade or above. Shadow Days can be scheduled at any time, but are recommended between October and February, in advance of the application deadline. NMSA also holds weekly, one-hour tours and two Open Houses during this period (one in the Fall, and another in the Winter) to provide prospective students and families with additional insight.

To request a Shadow Day, please contact Director of Admissions Francesca Rodriguez at francesca.rodriguez@nmsa-ai.org or 505.629.9245.  

Who Should Apply?

Students currently in the 8th, 9th or 10th grades who are passionate about their art and eager to meet the challenges of a professional arts mastery education are excellent candidates for NMSA. Professional training in the arts prior to entering NMSA is NOT required. Students are admitted based on their Passion, Promise and Aptitude in the Arts. Furthermore, NMSA does not factor a student’s academic background in the application process. Students attending NMSA should come prepared to participate in extended-day education requirements that may include rehearsals, performances, and/or other physically demanding commitments. 

Home-schooled students are welcome to apply. They will need to provide appropriate documentation of their completed grade level and comply with state or national testing necessary to assist with placement.

All prospective students must be residents of the state of New Mexico and be able to prove residency for at least 30 days prior to the first day of school. NMSA actively seeks statewide representation in its student body and offers a Residential Program for students who live too far from Santa Fe for a reasonable daily commute.

*Please note that misrepresentation of an incoming student’s grade level and/or state residency is cause for being denied acceptance.

STEP 1: Application & Recommendation

After a student has decided to apply, they should complete and submit the application form, which includes a written essay, and then secure a letter of recommendation from a teacher, arts instructor or other community member or leader who is familiar with the student’s art. 

For questions, please contact Dean of Enrollment Francesca Rodriguez at francesca.rodriguez@nmsa-ai.org or 505.629.9245.  

STEP 2: Audition/Portfolio Review

Once the NMSA Office of Admissions has received these, the student will be notified by email of the day and time of their individual audition/portfolio review and interview. Auditions are generally held in late February in Santa Fe. Applicants for whom travel costs would pose financial hardship can email the office to apply for financial assistance.

STEP 3: Acceptance

Acceptance letters are mailed in March. Students accepted to NMSA must inform the school of their intent to enroll, and are required to take academic placement tests to ensure they are placed in the appropriate classes. After acceptance, students who live too far for a reasonable daily commute can also submit an application to the NMSA Residential Program.

Important Dates

There are no upcoming events at this time.

The Application


Submit Application

Filling out and submitting your application form and personal written essay are the first steps in the NMSA application process, which is open to students in the 8th, 9th or 10th grades.


Submit Recommendation

As part of the application process, prospective students must request a letter of recommendation from a teacher, arts instructor or other community leader who is familiar with the student’s art.

Next Steps…

Attend Audition / Submit Portfolio

Once the school receives your application and letter of recommendation, you will be notified by email with your individual audition time and instructions. Auditions are held in late February.

Residential program

After a student has been accepted to NMSA, those who live too far for a reasonable daily commute can apply to live in the school dorms.

Application Workshop

This workshop, led by the NMSA admissions team, is designed for students who need help filling out and submitting their application, and includes computer access. The admissions team will walk students through the process and enable them to submit their applications digitally. The workshop is scheduled once yearly, in advance of the application deadline, and requires a reservation. Open to students and guardians.

Check the Admissions ‘Important Dates’ on the right side column for upcoming workshops.

Welcome Wednesday Tours

Welcome Wednesday Tours are held for prospective students and parents between the months of October and February. These walking tours, led by the admissions team, are around an hour long, and conducted during the afternoon arts block, so students and parents can get a sense of the daily arts instruction. They conclude with a Q&A. Participants must arrive promptly at 3 p.m. in the NMSA lobby.

You must RSVP to our Welcome Wednesday Tours.
Please contact our Director of Admissions Francesca Rodriguez at francesca.rodriguez@nmsa-ai.org


Francesca Rodriguez

Director of Admissions


*Please fill out our inquiry form and a member of our admissions team will reach out to you shortly. Prospective students may also request a “Shadow Day” to audit the program/discipline of their choosing with a current student.

Non-discrimination Policy

NMSA admits students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, sexual preference, culture, and religion or with any disability to all of the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to its students. NMSA does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, sexual preference, culture, disability, and religion in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid programs, arts and other programs.