How to Present Your Art Portfolio for College

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How to Present Your Art Portfolio for College

Presenting your art portfolio for college is similar to giving out your resume to a potential employer. Your portfolio contains your best art works to date and those that showcase your true potential. It is important that your art portfolio for college aims to impress the panel, who will determine whether or not you get accepted to their arts program.

Each college may ask for a different format of presentation. An old standard for professional and student portfolio was submitted in 35-mm slide format. Today various format types are asked for. It is increasingly common for digital slide shows to be sent to the college. Some still prefer actual portfolio books to be brought into the school on a particular week. To ensure that your submission is suitable for presentation and will be accepted consider the tips and ideas below on how you could present it in the best way possible.

Learn the requirements of each program

Fashion portfolio preparation (16-18 year olds)

Different schools demand different requirements from your art portfolio for college. Therefore, it is important for you to do your research on the schools you wish to apply to, along with the requirements that need to be submitted to each.

Be prepared well in advance so that you have time to prepare the various formats for your  and to ensure that you have all the required types of work in your portfolio.You may find that there are some skills you are missing and you will need time to study and practice that skill in order to add a quality example of it.

You’ll need several months to refine your skills and techniques. Many students leave it too late and then are rushing to get all the work done on time and as such don’t get the quality that they are truly capable of; you don’t want to be one of them. So plan ahead. The research stage is also the time to ask questions to the school if there are any unclear items included in their requirements.

To get a better grasp of what universities require from college applicants, they will also look into certain intangibles in your artworks that will ultimately help your case into getting accepted into an art or design program. Acclaimed art director and current High Point University professor Allan Beaver shares his thoughts to PortPrep on the vide below about what he thinks are factors that you ad your art portfolio must possess.

Reprint or reproduce your work in the highest quality

Since you will be submitting artworks that employ different styles and techniques, it should be noted that you need to send the best copies of your work in your art portfolio for college. If your current copy is damaged, then find a way to restore it to its original appearance before getting it copied. If your artwork is beyond repair, then select another alternative to be submitted in place of the damaged one.

Research the best format and resolution for digital prints or slides. Use high quality flat-bed or drum scanners and printer at large reputable reprographics companies when scanning and printing your work. Some programs are adamant about wanted copies while others want to see originals. Pay careful attention to the min and max size requirements. The review panel is looking for ways to narrow down to a select few, not meeting requirements is a quick way off the short-list of contenders.

Check if you need to label your works

If you are sending digital slides then each artwork you include on your art portfolio needs to be labeled with your name, the medium,  the title, date, and dimensions. If necessary, submit a separate slide for the description of each particularly if the artwork has a fascinating process or concept behind it that is not immediately obvious. Actual copies do not need to be labelled unless asked for or check with the school what their preference is. Sometimes a simple strong visual presentation is better without labels. If you are going to label be sure that the labels are neat, graphically pleasing in design and placed with attention to the composition and securely fastened so that they do not slip and shift–nothing ruins an otherwise great portfolio like messy amateurish labeling does.

Seek professional help

The most ideal way to manage your art portfolio and determine its suitability for submission is to ask an experienced artists to look at your work and see if you have all the bases covered. Since professionals have trained eyes looking at your work, they can easily spot what needs to be improved in your presentation and help you optimize the impact that your art portfolio would have on the review panel.

If you are looking for a quick and painless review of your art portfolio to be submitted to your schools of choice, Karen Kesteloot from is more than capable to provide you with her expertise in portfolio assessments. With 15 years of teaching experience in the arts at community colleges, she can help you come up with a winning portfolio that is sure to please the people in the program of your choice.

To see if Karen’s services would fit your needs, check out her FREE portfolio assessment to see if she can help you on how to make an art portfolio for college. Click here to receive your free assessment now!

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