What is it?
If you are a high school or college student interested in applying to an art school for fine arts or design, then National Portfolio Day is for you! Representatives from the nation’s leading art colleges and universities accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design will travel to VCUarts to review your artwork, discuss your educational and professional goals, and share information on art programs, careers, admissions, and financial aid and scholarships. This event is free and open to the public.
Please note: Admissions decisions and scholarship awards will not be offered at a National Portfolio Day. Some colleges may accept your portfolio as the visual portion of your application while others have policies which prohibit making an admissions decision at the time of your review. We recommend speaking to and having your work reviewed by as many representatives as possible.
National Portfolio Day takes place on the same day as VCU Open House. For information on our Open Houses click here.
I’m nervous! What is it like? What do I do?
Don’t worry! If you’ve never had a professional critique your work before, it can be nerve wracking, but once you get into the swing of it, you’ll find your groove. This portfolio prep brochure will help you feel more prepared. Research attending schools ahead of time and have a list of 4-5 that you would like to speak with.
When you arrive you will receive a map of the two locations that outlines the visiting institutions, their location in the buildings, and a spreadsheet of the majors they offer. When reviews start at 1:00pm, the doors to the buildings will open. When this happens you will walk up to the table of an institution you are interested in. When it’s your turn you will open your portfolio and will present it to the representative. Every representative is different. Some want you to speak about your work, some want to take a first glance in silence, so stay open to cues. You will also have time to ask questions, so do your research ahead of time. Be sure not to ask questions about information that is very clear on each schools’ website. Each rep typically spends 10-20 minutes with a student.
Schools will want you to fill out an information card at some point so they can stay in touch with you and make notes about your work. To save time, bring a few address labels with you that you can stick on the info cards.
Stay on top of time. Reviews must stop at exactly 5pm, so if you’re still in a long line at 4:45, you may want to think about talking to a representative at a school that doesn’t have a line. Just because you may not think you’re interested in that school doesn’t mean you won’t get valuable feedback, or learn something about the institution that rings with you.
What to bring?
In your portfolio, we advise bringing up to 20 of your best, most recent works, which can include finished pieces, work in progress, and sketchbooks. Bring your original artwork whenever possible. Keep the presentation simple; there is no need to spend time or money on extra matting or framing your art, as the work itself is more important. If your work is bulky, difficult to move, or time-based, you can bring a laptop, CD/ DVD, or flash-drive.
(Note: Be aware that not all representatives will have a laptop. If you bring your own be sure your battery is charged; you may not get access to a power outlet.)