5 tips to building a winning portfolio

Creating an art school portfolio is hard work, let alone creating an awesome one that will have your inbox flooded with acceptance letters. These portfolio tips will not only help you choose what work to include, but also give you insights into what admissions counselors are really thinking when reviewing your portfolio.

Tip 1: Make, make, make ... then show us your best work

A portfolio is a collection of your best and most recent artwork that highlights your art experience. It is a visual archive of your artistic accomplishments that demonstrates your ability and potential as an artist.

Allow yourself time to create early on so you have more to choose from when preparing your portfolio. Remember: the quality of your work—not the quantity—is most important.

Tip 2: Take risks and challenge yourself

Take advantage of resources available at your school, in your community, and on your own time.

Attend maker fairs, go to film festivals, visit galleries and museums, take a sewing class, consider enrolling in courses at your local city college and community centers.

Tip 3: Share your personal story

A strong portfolio includes evidence of your solid technical skills and awareness of formal visual organizational principles using a variety of tools, media, styles, and approaches.

Also, provide a focused series of images that illustrate your current interests and reflect thoughts and concepts—your personal experiences, your culture—because we want to know your story.

Tip 4: Get feedback

It's important to talk to teachers, other artists, mentors, and college representatives and ask for critiques.

Be sure to do this before the year in which you plan to apply in order to implement changes based on their feedback.

Tip 5: Take advantage of free admissions advice

Our enrollment counselors meet with students on campus, visit many high schools and community colleges, and host special events for prospective students including National Portfolio Day admissions events.

They are experts in their field, so use their expertise, knowledge, and information.