Colleges are increasingly looking for a more holistic approach to evaluating students’ abilities, and a portfolio can be an excellent tool for that. Whether a student is applying to a STEM program or an arts program, it’s important that they have a well-rounded portfolio that highlights their passions, skills and achievements.
The first step in creating an effective portfolio is identifying what it is that you want to share with the admissions counselors. Then, you can decide what materials are best suited to conveying that message.
Choosing what to include in a portfolio can be challenging, as it depends on the specific requirements of the school you’re applying to. Many schools have their own rules about what pieces of artwork are acceptable, how much evidence they require, and when it’s due. The key is to check these guidelines thoroughly and make sure that your submission meets all of the criteria.
Aside from technical ability, art schools are also looking for creative expression and originality in the artwork you present. You don’t need to show off a lot of artwork, but the pieces you choose should reflect your own unique vision.
If you’re a high school student, it’s a good idea to start compiling a portfolio during your freshman year. This way, you can build up a collection of work that shows how your skills and interests have grown throughout high school, and shows that you’re willing to put in the effort needed to become a better artist.
When you’re ready to start putting together your portfolio, consider using a platform that focuses on visual arts such as Behance, Adobe Portfolio, Squarespace or Weebly. These platforms are free and easy to use and provide a professional look and feel for your online portfolio.
Another consideration is which pieces of artwork to include, and how many. While it is tempting to include everything you create, it’s important to remember that college admissions counselors will be reviewing your entire portfolio, not just a few samples. Therefore, it’s a good idea to choose your top artwork and keep the rest for a separate submission.
You may also consider adding a section where you explain your process of creation, or how you used a particular technique to create the piece. Providing this information can help the admissions counselors understand how you went about your design process, and what you did to make the pieces you’ve chosen stand out from the crowd.
The most important thing to remember when making your portfolio is to make sure that each piece tells a story about you and your goals. Ensure that the order of your artwork is logical, so the admissions counselors can easily find what they’re looking for.
Including your favorite pieces of art, or ones that showcase your talent and artistic ability, can also demonstrate how you think critically. You should also consider presenting your work in the context of a project or theme, so that the art school admissions counselors can see how you apply your knowledge and skills to your work.