Portfolio Tips for Applying to College

Here are some helpful tips from Sonya Blesofsky, a teaching artist, on how to build a strong art portfolio when applying to college.

Questions to ask yourself when applying to College

  • Do I want to go to a 4-year University, an Art School, a vocational school, or transfer from a Community College?
  • Do I want to stay local or go out of town/state?
  • What kind of program do I want to apply to/what program is the best fit for my interests?          

Portfolio should include:

Observational Skills: Draw what you see, not what you know. Draw objects in space (not floating on a white background)

Color and Compositional Skills

Work in a Variety of Media: You show an understanding of the materials you’re using/technically proficient work.

Creative Problem Solving Skills:You know how to solve composition issues, address interesting subject matter in a new way, and you rise to the challenges presented by materials and projects.

Invention and Commitment

Communication Skills: You should know how to speak about your work. This is very important at Portfolio Days and if you are granted an Interview!!!

Things to help you when making work to include in your Portfolio:

  • Still Life
  • Spaces/environments (from observation)
  • Abstract and non-objective work
  • Figure drawing
  • Portraits
  • Sketches/sketchbook pages
  • Composition/Design work
  • Photography (only Art photography!)
  • Sculpture/Installation
  • Video/Animation
  • Work from outside of class assignments

About smartready

Mentorship Program Manager, Smack Mellon
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