This past November 9, 2013, OCAD U held its National Portfolio Day, where aspiring students can get their art portfolios reviewed for free by professors from different colleges. On the same day, Admission Insider, a.k.a. Karen Kesteloot, was present near the event to host her own FREE portfolio review at Karine’s Vegan Restaurant.
The day has come and pass, and here’s Karen to report everything that happened during the event.
Hi Karen Kesteloot here, aka, the Admissions Insider, reporting to you about the OCADU 2013 National Portfolio Day:
My co-op student and I were awe-struck by the length of the line along the sidewalk starting at OCADU’s main doors. It turned the corner around the school and snaked in between Above Ground Art Supplies and deep into the park behind the college.
Students huddled together with their parents in the cold Toronto morning weather toting huge portfolios and bags full of their prized artworks anxiously awaiting the skilled appraisal of the schools of their dreams representatives.
I stopped to talk to the shivering students. Some near the front of the line said they had been waiting since 8 am—the doors weren’t slated to open until 11:45 am. Many wished they had dressed warmer. But their spirits were high with exhilaration to be meeting up with the schools of their dreams… many had their sights set on OCADU but several mentioned CalArts to me too as their school of choice.
Students reported goals of applying for graphic design, industrial design, fashion and drawing and painting. Plenty were dedicated to studying character design and animation. I saw a few of my students there eager to get more input—they waved proudly and I am looking forward to following up with them to help them implement the advice they were given once inside. One I had met at a high school portfolio workshop. He introduced me to his father and I wished him well.
Another student of mine met me at an architectural drawing class in Cambridge. He has some brilliant ideas and he and I have come up with a strategy on how to highlight his ideas in his portfolio while we embark on his goal to learn how to draw well enough between now and when the portfolios are due. He knows to trust me with his education because I happen to have taught his mom! She and I had shared a special bond. It is so gratifying to be working with him so that he can bring his brilliant ideas to the world. I think he might be the next Steve Jobs—only with a whole lot nicer personality!I was impressed by how many students came with their parents. I loved how truly supportive the parents were of their kids and obviously proud of their accomplishments they were—some of them I think were there as much for moral support and they were for lugging their heavy loads around through the long line up.
One set of parents I spoke with felt it was important to be there to witness what the portfolio reviewer told the daughter they had adopted from Korea… they knew she was really talented but they wanted to be sure they completely supported her and that they made the best investment possible in her future. They were really grateful to know that I ‘m there to give advice to students and their parents since it is such a huge financial commitment and they really want to see their daughter succeed.
They proudly showed me some of her work they had stored in their cell phones. Her work was exceptional and I told them she is certainly likely to get accepted. They were shocked by the tough odds of acceptance however of 30:1 for many of the best schools. They were worried that the school they were applying to only take 60 students per year.
I advised them that for the school they wanted, which was Concordia that they needed to read carefully what the requirements stated on the university website are because that school is very philosophical about how students approach what drawing and image making are. They were grateful for the input and expressed that they could see why my services would be a great investment or insurance on their investment of 100 thousand or more in her education. So even though I told them there daughter would get in given the quality of the work they still seemed concerned and interested in my services as insurance.
They were pleased to take my brochure so that their daughter would be able to consult my videos on YouTube and Vimeo so that she would know how to implement the reviewer’s advice.
Lots of parents eagerly took my pamphlets when they heard that 100% of my students get accepted into their top choice colleges. Students looked relieved to know that if they weren’t sure what to do after their portfolio reviews that day that they had a reliable resource to consult that is more readily accessible than the colleges themselves.
My co-op student Quinton Rodrigues talked to hundreds of students too and handed out lots of info to his fellow students and shared his zeal for Animation, CalArts, OCADU and Sheridan College. He found his good friend who had come with her parents to see CalArts with her very fine examples of character designs.
The four of them learned a great deal from their sessions with the CalArts representative and were so impressed by how patient and positive she was despite the long lines.
Quinton reported that is was really well organized this year and that it was easy to find the room where CalArts was and that the whole process ran really smoothly how they brought the students through the process. He felt really excited and encouraged to continue to work towards his goal.
He was one of a few students that attended that was not a senior and was there to learn how to be prepared for the following year. I met a daughter and father duo in the Grange food court in front of my meeting place at Karine’s Vegan Restaurant. The talented girl was only in grade 10! They were both so grateful to talk about her future and how to prepare a proper portfolio. Her father really seemed interested in my stories of how parental support makes so much difference in successful art and design careers. He was 100% behind his daughter and they planned to look up my interviews with Mike L Murphy and his website Successful Animator. She had great work already in grade ten as a character designer.
Another family a spoke to were so grateful to receive advice on how to select the right college and how to go through the selection process—I met some many truly talented students that were assured spots in the programs they were interested in. The mother of one very talented young lady found my insights and advice about why in-depth college campus tours is so important to be uniquely helpful—she hadn’t thought much about some of the points I was raising about not just being evaluated by the school for acceptance but judging if the school passes her own assessment of what was right for her daughter and her family. I directed them to some of my YouTube video interviews and blog entries that would help them assess this big decision and investment.
Go to the next page to learn more about Karen’s FREE portfolio assessment over at PortPrep!