Getting into a culinary program or school depends on a number of factors, starting with what kind of schools you’ve chosen. Some schools are very competitive and so can afford to be highly selective about applicants. Others are not so selective and only request that prospective students fill out an application and pay a fee.
Start the application process by gathering information about the program. The application is the first impression an application committee will have of you, so it’s wise to know exactly what the admissions office is asking for and follow their instructions. More competitive schools are likely to ask for a list of documents and information. For four-year and two-year culinary programs, you will be required to submit your high school transcript, letters of reference from professors or employers, and a detailed resume of your culinary experience.
Other schools ask for only a minimum of a high school diploma and GED. Some programs require work experience, whereas others might ask about your knowledge of weights and measurements and your skills and techniques reading and using recipes. Experience can also include seminars and conferences you’ve attended, literature you’ve read, and research you’ve done about the culinary industry.
Often, applications ask for written statements or essays. You could be asked to write about why you want a culinary career. This is where work experience is helpful in expressing your reasons. You may be asked to write a more formal essay; in which case their guidelines will indicate if they want more of a personal focus or if they want to see how you think about a topic.
Visit the Campus
If the campus is within a reasonable distance geographically, it’s wise to tour the school to get a firsthand look and feel. Some schools encourage prospective students to visit and spend a day in class. Spending time on a campus also demonstrates your interest in that school and provides you with information you might not pick up without a visit.