Portfolio Preparation

Your Portfolio

Ringling applicants, we are excited to meet you! Every creative person has a unique and powerful voice, and we look forward to learning about you through your portfolio.

If you’ve been preparing a portfolio for your high school art classes, you should have lots of work to choose from. As you compile your work, choose 10-15 examples that showcase your interests, creativity, and technical proficiency, whether they are finalized pieces or works in process from the pages of your sketchbook. Show us what materials you enjoy experimenting with, what topics you like to explore, and how you like to push your work to the next level.

We're always here to help. If you have any questions, please contact the Admissions Office.

Ringling College of Art and Design
Admissions Office
2700 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34234-5895
941-309-0195
admissions@ringling.edu

 

 

Suggestions for Your Portfolio

Not sure what to include? Recommendations vary by major, so review our suggestions below for inspiration! 

 


 

Business of Art and Design applicants fulfill the portfolio requirement by submitting a creative project portfolio that documents interests and creative activities that are an outlet for personal expression. Personal creativity reflective of innovation, collaboration, and imagination should be the thread of the portfolio. 

Demonstrate evidence of excellence in the arts and sciences by showing:

  • Leadership in business, entrepreneurship, and creative media clubs
  • Creation of after school enterprises which have led to the development of a new product or server
  • A personal history of creativity and accomplishment as evidenced through letters of recommendation and a personal essay. 

 

Your portfolio is reviewed with your chosen major in mind. 


Be sure to show lots of examples of drawing from life and direct observation, such as:

  • Hands, feet, human figures and animals
  • Representational drawing
  • Interior and/or exterior environments

You can also include:

  • Class assignments, design projects
  • Animation, multimedia
  • Paintings, photographs, sculptures, film and video

Important to remember: 
Do not copy from another artist. Avoid cliches like anime, tattoo designs, dragons, or unicorns. At least half of your portfolio should consist of drawing from direct observation. Your ability to think creatively is important to us, so feel free to include pages from your sketchbook. 

Note: The Computer Animation application deadline is January 15.

 

 

Creative Writing applicants fulfill the portfolio requirement by submitting a written portfolio that best represents who you are as well as your abilities as a creative writer. 

Applicants should submit:

  • Original writing samples of any kind
  • Poetry
  • Essays
  • Fiction and nonfiction
  • Stage Plays and Screen Plays

Additionally, applicants are asked to include a short written statement, no more than 3 double-spaced pages, that addresses the following:

  • Your literary influences, specifically in terms of what you're learned from them, not just what you like.
  • The critical or creative issues you are interested in pursuing at Ringling College.
  • Anything else that supports your interest in Creative Writing.

Although not required, applicants may also submit a visual art portfolio to supplement the written submission. You may incorporate any or all of the following in the optional visual art portfolio:

  • Design projects 
  • Illustration and animation
  • Photography, film, video, multimedia projects
  • Paintings, drawings, sketches from observation

 

Film applicants may fulfill the portfolio requirement by submitting a visual art portfolio, or by submitting writing samples. You may submit both if you wish. Film brings together all the arts, including visual and performing arts, music, and writing—literature and storytelling.

You may incorporate any or all of the following in your visual art portfolio:

  • Design projects 
  • Illustration and animation
  • Photography, film, video, multimedia projects
  • Paintings, drawings, sketches from observation

Suggested topics for writing samples for the FILM portfolio:

  • Tell us your story: Who you are, and what you love to do
  • Write about a performing arts experience, if any
  •  If you're a writer, give examples (screenplay, stage play, short story, essay, poetry, or article)

 

Your portfolio is reviewed with your chosen major in mind. You may incorporate any or all of the following in your visual art portfolio:

  • Design projects (logos, posters, books, sculpture, products, etc.)
  • Illustration and animation
  • Photography, film, video, multimedia projects
  • Paintings, drawings, sketches from observation
  • Samples of your writing
  • Images from your sketchbook
  • Website or mobile app designs

Important to remember: 
Work may be created by hand or digitally, and should demonstrate diversity of style and strong sense of overall composition, regardless of medium.  Make sure all of your work is original! 

 

Interior Design applicants may fulfill the portfolio requirement by submitting a visual art portfolio, or by completing the written exercises below. You may submit both if you wish. Success as an Interior Designer can be independent of the natural ability to draw; however, the ability to think critically and collaborate is essential. 

You may incorporate any or all of the following in your visual art portfolio:

  • Design projects 
  • Illustration and animation
  • Photography, film, video, multimedia projects
  • Paintings, drawings, sketches from observation

Suggested topics for writing samples for the Interior Design portfolio:

  • Describe a collaborative project that you have worked on. This can be a project at school, family (such as a home renovation), church or community service. What were your challenges and successes when working on the project? Photos of the project may be submitted. Links to a social media account are acceptable to supplement the exercise.
  • Critique a learning space that you have experienced (school, church, community center, library, etc.). Discuss the overall appearance and function of the space. Describe what works and what doesn't about the space, and explain why. What could the designer have done differently?

 

Critical and Visual Studies applicants may fulfill the portfolio requirement by submitting a visual art portfolio, or by submitting writing samples. You may submit both if you wish. 

You may incorporate any or all of the following in your visual art portfolio:

  • Design projects 
  • Illustration and animation
  • Photography, film, video, multimedia projects
  • Paintings, drawings, sketches from observation

Suggested topics for writing samples for the VISUAL STUDIES portfolio: 

  • Tell us your story: Who you are, and what you love to do
  • Describe how you would present a life changing experience as a public art project
  • If you're a writer, give examples (screenplay, stage play, short story, essay, poetry, or article)
  •  Successful candidates could demonstrate a range of ideas—for example: technology driven art projects, studio based exploration, online art and crafts stores and photo and/or movie projects. 

 

 

What are we looking for?


 

 

 

 

   

Examples from Accepted Students

 

Portfolio examples

Take a look at some of the visual portfolio work created and submitted by successful applicants to Ringling College. Of course, these are just helpful guides to the levels of creativity and technical proficiency we are looking for, and they are unique to the artists who created them. Be sure to let your distinct artistic voice, perspective, and skills come through in your portfolio. We want to see you in your work, so your portfolio should compile your most original, thoughtful, and inspired work.

 

 

 

FAQ's

 
 

Your portfolio is simply a collection of the best examples of your visual creative work and/or writing. Think of it as a means to show us how creative and talented you are!

You may include:

  • Design projects (logos, posters, books, sculpture, products, etc.)
  • Illustration and animation
  • Photography, film, video, multimedia projects
  • Paintings, drawings, sketches from observation
  • Samples of your writing
  • Images from your sketchbook
  • Website or mobile app designs

 

A portfolio is our best indication of your potential to be successful in the courses belonging to your major of interest. It also lets us get to know you as an artist in a way that goes far beyond grades and test scores.

 

In many cases, the portfolio is the most important part of your application. But don't let that scare you—we are looking for potential. We take into consideration how much instruction you've had, and we understand that high school programs vary greatly. We also look at your work as one part of your total application, along with your grades, difficulty of courses taken, recommendations, and application essay.

No two applications are alike, so we look at all of them individually. Successful artists, designers, and writers need to be creative thinkers, which is why 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.

 

 
 

If you have not yet put together your portfolio, don't worry! We offer plenty of suggestions and exercises to get you started. Review the recommendations listed for each major and see what you come up with!

 

Of course! We are happy to help you. There are several ways to get feedback on your portfolio before you apply. 

Visit campus and meet with an admissions counselor. You can schedule a visit online or call 941.309.0195.

Video chat with an admissions counselor! Ask specific portfolio questions and learn a little more about what Ringling College has to offer.  

Request a Skype chat here

Attend a National Portfolio Day at Ringling College or in many major cities around the US - see details below.

 
 

Admissions Events

Each academic year, Ringling College hosts a variety of events, both on and off campus, for prospective students and their families.

 

Preview Days

Talk with faculty and students.

Preview days are a great opportunity to get to know Ringling College from the people who know it best - our students and faculty. You'll have the opportunity to discuss our majors with faculty members and current students, stroll through our beautiful, sub-tropical campus, learn how to prepare your portfolio, and imagine life at Ringling College! Registration is required.

National Portfolio Days

Get feedback on your portfolio.

Ringling College participates in National Portfolio Days nationwide events, where students who are interested in studying art or design can meet with representatives from NASAD-accredited colleges from throughout North America. Come with your portfolio and your questions ready and become informed about your work, programs and majors, and professional careers in your field of interest. These events are free of charge and open to the public.

 

Learn More About Admissions Events 

 

 

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