Preparing Your Art Portfolio

Fall 2020 Update 

Preparing Your Art Portfolio for College

We understand that our applicants come from diverse backgrounds and have had varying levels of educational opportunity. So, as you prepare your portfolio, keep this in mind and know that Ringling College values your individualism and creative voice. We are simply looking for a portfolio that demonstrates your potential to succeed.


If you’ve been preparing a portfolio for your high school art classes, you should have lots of work to choose from. Choose 10-15 examples that showcase you - your interests, creativity, and skill level. We want to see what you’ve got, from final pieces to works in progress 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 look forward to reviewing your work! Keep in mind that we are always here to help. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Admissions






Suggestions & Guidelines

Need some ideas? Here are a few.

Although not required, applicants may submit a written statement, no longer than three double-spaced pages, describing why you would like to study business in a creative context.

Have questions?
Contact the department head directly:

Business of Art & Design:
Kathleen Sobr

It’s important for us to see examples of drawing from life and direct observation. These can include:
  • Hands, feet, human figures and animals
  • Representational drawing
  • Interior and/or exterior environments

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.

Contact the department head directly:

Computer Animation:
Jim McCampbell
Game Art:
Morgan Woolvrton
Scott Gordley

Show us who you are as an artist and designer. You may include any visual artwork you have created--show us your imagination!


Need help selecting pieces for your portfolio?

Contact the department head directly:

Entertainment Design:
Jamie DeRuyter
Virtual Reality:
Morgan Woolverton


Creative Writing applicants fulfill the portfolio requirement by submitting a written portfolio that consists of two (2) things. 

Applicants must include a short written statement (3 pages maximum) that addresses the following:

  • Your literary influences, specifically in terms of what you have learned from them, not just what/who you like.
  • The critical or creative issues you are interested in pursuing at Ringling College.
  • Your writing/career goals after you graduate with your undergraduate degree.
  • Anything else that supports your interest in Creative Writing.

In addition, applicants should submit well-edited, original writing in two or more of the following categories (excerpts of longer works are acceptable):  

  • Fiction
  • Journalism
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • Essays
  • Film scripts
  • Plays
  • Graphic novel/comic texts
  • Picture book texts


Need help selecting pieces for your portfolio?
Contact the program coordinator directly:

Creative Writing:
Ryan Van Cleave


Film applicants may fulfill the portfolio requirement by submitting two examples of film and or creative writing samples. If you do not have film or creative writing samples, you may submit a visual art portfolio..

Need help selecting pieces for your portfolio?
Contact the department head directly:

Brad Battersby


You may incorporate any or all of the following in your visual art portfolio:
  • Design projects
  • Photography, multimedia projects
  • Paintings, drawings, sketches
  • Images from your sketchbook


Need help selecting pieces for your portfolio? 

Contact the department head directly:

Fine Arts:
Joe Fig
Graphic Design:
Jeff Bleitz
Motion Design:
Ed Cheetham
Photography & Imaging:
Tom Carabasi


Visual studies applicants must submit a visual art portfolio.

You may incorporate any or all of the following:

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


Need help selecting pieces for your portfolio?
Contact the department head directly:

Visual Studies:
Joe Fig



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! For helpful suggestions of what to include, please see the Suggestions & Guidelines section.

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

The portfolio is an important part of your application. It helps us to determine your potential to be successful at Ringling College. 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 recommended list 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.

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

To submit your portfolio, follow these easy steps:
  1. Go to and select Ringling College on the My Colleges tab
  2. Under Art Supplement, select instructions
  3. Follow the link to the Ringling College of Art and Design Art Supplement Site, which will take you to SlideRoom.


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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