In this blog entry, Metisse Arsenault shares her experiences of going to a National Portfolio Day held at OCADU last year. She recalls her expectations and compared it to what actually took place during the event but nonetheless found the entire experience satisfying in terms of getting help to improve her portfolio.
While the article below speaks of what happened during last year’s National Portfolio Day, it is still an informational read, especially for students who are planning to go to the event this year but have no idea what to expect.
National Portfolio Day at OCADU 2012: A Student’s Experienceby Metisse Arsenault
National Portfolio Day is an event where students applying to art and design colleges can get their portfolios reviewed by the school of their choice. All major participating art colleges in North America are present at the hosting college so that students can receive recommendations on how to improve their portfolios and fulfill the school’s requirements.
If you are planning on going to one of these events at a nearby hosting university , bring different finished pieces that showcase your techniques. Also bring works in progress or a sketch book to show your creative process and inspiration. You might want to bring two portfolios to the event – one containing your best works and another one showing pieces that you were unsure to include in the first one.
When I walked into OCAD U for National Portfolio Day on November 10, 2012, it was much different than I expected. I had envisioned a large room with desks set up for the administrator and art portfolios from successful students on the walls. However, the event was more of a large jumble of people who were mostly confused.
First, I had to sign a form and hand it to a very stressed-out administrator. Then she gave me a map so that I could find the school that I wanted to meet with. Before I could do that, I had to find a quiet corner to look at the map because anywhere else I was in the way of someone, which was a feat in itself as the place was just packed.
On the map was a list of all the schools attending and their locations within the building. Some schools had very long lines while others didn’t have any at all. Naturally, it was the most sought after art schools that had the longest lines and are doing the best and most helpful reviews.
Once we found Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, we went to the back of the line which was way down the hall and waited. The line didn’t seem too long but it was moving slower than a snail’s pace. Once we got at the front of the line, the people in front of us were done being interviewed. They told us why the line was moving so slow – the administrators were taking their time to look at each person’s portfolio in detail and give them the criticism they needed to put together better portfolios. We asked some students that had tried other schools, some said that they had great feedback while others said that they only got five minutes of flipping through their portfolios and poor feedback but a short line. We waited for two hours in the NSCAD line up but we all felt satisfied with the input we were given.
In my experience there, I realized that there was a whole range of different places to study at. Also, you have to be very sure which places you want to be criticized by before you go to the event because the lines can take a very long time. My advice is to choose one or two schools to check out and leave it at that. When we got to interview the NSCAD administrator, she told us that the portfolio is the most important part in getting into her school. She said that the interview mattered too but it was the portfolio that would decide if you are in or not.
Here’s a list of all the art and design colleges and universities that participated in the 2012 National Portfolio Day Event at OCADU:
- Alberta College of Art + Design, Calgary AB
- Art Center College of Design, Pasadena CA
- California College of the Arts, San Francisco CA
- California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia CA
- Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland OH
- College for Creative Studies, Detroit MI
- Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus OH
- Concordia University – Faculty of Fine Arts, Montreal QC
- Corcoran College of Art + Design, Washington DC
- Ecole Parsons a Paris (Paris College of Art), Paris, France
- Emily Carr University, Vancouver BC
- FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles CA
- Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Grand Rapids MI
- Lawrence Technological University, Southfield MI
- MICA/Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore MD
- Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia PA
- Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD University), Halifax NS
- OCAD University, Toronto ON
- Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles CA
- Parsons The New School for Design, New York NY
- Pratt Institute, Brooklyn NY
- PrattMWP, Utica NY
- Rhode Island School of Design (RSDI), Providence RI
- San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA
- School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Chicago IL
- School of Visual Arts, New York NY
- The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University, Boston MA
- Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond VA
Click to the next page to find out what you as aspiring art student in college need to do to take advantage of the upcoming National Portfolio Days you plan on attending!