Applying for a visual arts program at a US college or university?
The contents of your portfolio are key in determining whether or not you will get in. While your grades and SAT scores are still important, the portfolio is what illustrates the range of your aesthetic abilities.
In a New York Times article, Portfolio Prep, Daniel Grant gives helpful suggestions to make your college portfolio more marketable, regardless of whether you’re pursuing fine arts, fashion, graphic design, architecture, or illustration.
If you’re putting together a portfolio for a visual arts program in the US, take a look at these insider tips to excel in your college admission requirements and impress admissions officers.
The More Range the Better
A college portfolio should contain fifteen to twenty drawings, paintings, collages, and small three-dimensional works (or photographs of these).
Melissa Morgan, admissions counselor at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia, says in the Times article that she needs to see “a range of drawings and other media that show [her] the depth and range of a student’s talents.”
So don’t just stick to one style or medium!
One Portfolio For All Fields
Regardless of what you choose as your college major, you’re applying for the Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree. Ultimately, admissions officers want to gauge your drawing abilities.
Different universities and professors will value different aspects of your work. Some are more concerned with technique, others place a greater emphasis on concept.
The content of the college portfolio, however, generally doesn’t change. To be sure, find out the specific college portfolio requirements for the university you’re applying to!
How Does Your Portfolio Fair?
To help you perfect your US college portfolio, many institutions hold college fairs in which they hand out information regarding their visual arts programs, answer your questions in brief interviews and (most importantly) evaluate your college portfolio.
Check if a campus near you holds a National Portfolio day. These are fantastic opportunities for you to get some critical analysis that you can use to improve your college portfolio for when the real application process begins.
Portfolio Prep Classes Work
A college portfolio prep class gives you the necessary tools to push your portfolio ahead of the pack as you’ll have access to different types of art classes than your school offers. The admissions officer will immediately recognize this and realize your dedication for having worked harder than the average applicant.
A college portfolio prep class is also fun! Unlike vocabulary and strategy memorization in SAT prep class, a college portfolio class is a real art class that focuses on the final product: your portfolio.
A portfolio is the most important element in application for a BFA degree. If you’re serious about pursuing visual arts in the US, make sure your college portfolio is as sharp as possible.