Preparing Your Art Portfolio for College Admission

Posted by Nick Mohler on Mar 11, 2015 11:00:00 AM

Is your art portfolio ready for college admission?

The art portfolio is the most significant indicator of serious artistic commitment, ability and potential to succeed in applying for a college education in the visual arts. By now, you have probably done some research on the importance of portfolios, so you know it’s essential to provide an evaluation of technical skills and competency, demonstrating your ability to succeed in a highly competitive application process.


But the question remains, “How do I put an art portfolio together?” Although your portfolio plays a determining role in the admissions process, it doesn’t have to be intimidating.

Typically, your portfolio should consist of 10-15 original artworks as well as three drawings from direct observation that display a range of media and subject matter.

Old work should not be included. Even if your most prized piece was drawn 6 years ago, it doesn’t present an accurate representation of how you have transformed into the artist you are today.

722_March2013_PCAD_TENNISON          Girl-with-Camera

Include work that conveys experience with a variety of tools, media, styles, and approaches. This exhibits that you are comprised of more than one skill set and can demonstrate versatility, taking the initiative to learn and hone skills in contrasting media.

Think about quality over quantity! In other words, don’t include 15 original artworks for the sake of having the maximum suggested number, when you only feel completely confident towards 10 of your pieces. You want to be sure you are showing your best artwork, so make each piece count.


Consider your sketchbook as the last important addition to your art portfolio. Although this is viewed as a private and personal keepsake, it’s important to show your thought processes, how you developed ideas, and how your work has matured. In other words, it shows how you solve visual problems and offers an insight into your mind for the viewer.

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Topics: Art Student

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