I'm putting this entry into both my book and art blog because I get asked this often and I think it is important. I met a young lady, one of the winners of the Toronto Library Book Mark Awards last week. She wrote to me regarding what is needed to get in to animation. Her goal is Sheridan, and although I no longer teach there I think this applies to any other college or animation school.
Thank you for your email. It was a pleasure to meet you at the awards ceremony. Congratulations once again.
In regard to your question about entry to Sheridan (or any other college) and to particular courses you need in high school for entry your guidance (if they are still called that) people at school would know that best. As to what would be valuable for animation I strongly suggest you get as much good drawing in as possible. Many schools offer a lot of digital studies, but since computer programs change so rapidly it is not the program that matters but the principles of good art behind them: design, observation, basic drawing skills with pencil and conte, and colour studies.
I suggest you do things such as watch your favorite animated shows in b/w without any colour or sound. Watch how they use design to keep your eye in the picture and not off to the fridge or phone. Learn to draw what you see as much as what you imagine. Learn structure through skeletons. Draw from life and not from pictures. Go to the ROM or any museum and draw animals. Go to the zoo or a farm and draw them live. Or draw your pet. Go to the AGO and discover how artists 'animated' their work through time and how they keep your attention in the picture. Draw boxes spinning through space. Learn perspective. Sculpt. Paint real and abstract: all realism is based on abstract principles, and all abstraction is based on reality.
That should give you lots to do while getting the requisite courses together. I think you would be a prime candidate if you can do it all. And oh yes, read books - to fill your head with ideas and see the world through other eyes.
Finally- learn to write a good letter. You will need it.
Good luck and keep in touch.
Dear Readers: correct me if I am wrong or if you have other suggestions.