What is a portfolio?
Your portfolio is simply a collection of the best examples of your artwork. Your artwork might be traditional, digital or a combination of both. Think of it as a means to show us how creative and talented you are!
Why is a portfolio required for admission to an art school?
If you attend an art college, the majority of your courses will be studio art courses. A portfolio is our best indication of your potential to be successful in those courses. It also lets us get to know you as an artist in a way that goes far beyond grades and test scores.
How do colleges evaluate portfolios?
In many cases, it's the most important part of your application. Don't let that scare you. It makes sense when you think about the number of art courses you'll be taking. Many colleges look for potential. If you were already an artistic genius, you wouldn't need to go to art school. We take into consideration how much art instruction you've had, and we understand that high school art programs vary greatly. Some have been cut out altogether. We also look at your work as one part (an important part, but one part) of your total application and your grades, difficulty of courses you've taken, recommendations and essay are also important. If you're a great student, chances are you'll make a great artist someday, even if you're not there yet. No two applications are alike, so we look at all of them individually. Individuality is expressed in the portfolio through concepts, ideas and execution. Successful artists need to be creative thinkers. We value your creativity as much, if not more, than your technical skills. We also understand that high school students are still developing as artists. Finding the perfect fit is essential. We firmly believe there is a perfect school for everyone.
What if I don't have a portfolio?
If you don't have a portfolio, or you hate your portfolio, or the dog ate you portfolio, there are drawing exercises on the Ringling website you may turn in instead. Even if you already have a portfolio, feel free to try out the exercises.
What if I'm not good enough?
You're probably better than you think you are! If we believe you're not ready, it's not the end of the world, or even the end of your dreams. We will recommend that you take some beginning art courses, probably at a community college, to strengthen your portfolio so you can re-apply successfully.
How can I get feedback on my portfolio before I apply?
There's no better way to find out if you're on the right track than to show your work to an art college admissions person. You can arrange for an individual portfolio review at Ringling and most other art colleges by setting up an appointment to visit the campus. You can also go to a National Portfolio Day. See below.
What is a National Portfolio Day?
National Portfolio Days are like college fairs just for art students. You can meet with representatives from anywhere from 20 to 70 art colleges and university art departments, depending on the location. In addition to having your questions answered and gathering information, you may bring your portfolio for informal or formal review. Your portfolio can be at any level. The representatives really want to help you! National Portfolio Days are held in major cities in North America on weekends between September and the end of January. All the colleges that participate are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (http://nasad.arts-accredit.org/.) For more about National Portfolio Days, visit the National Portfolio Day Association website at www.portfolioday.net.