Apart from securing your acceptance, an especially strong portfolio may earn you a scholarship.
Portfolio requirements vary from school to school. Some schools ask students to attend a portfolio review day with a hard (physical) copy of their portfolio, while others require students submit a soft (digital) copy. Take time to check out the program website, speak with an advisor over the phone, or attend an information session a few months prior to the application deadline.
Choosing what should go into the portfolio
Be selective when choosing what to include in your portfolio. Make sure your pieces meet the program’s specific portfolio requirements. Some program’s portfolio requirements may be very general and open, listing only the number of pieces to be included, while some may be very specific, listing specific types of pieces which are intended to demonstrate the student’s ability to execute particular skills. Whether you are confined to specific portfolio requirements or have more freedom in your choices, it is your task to select pieces that best showcase your artistic abilities.
As you compose your portfolio, pay close attention to how it focusses in on the particular interests or skills you wish to showcase. If you are applying to a specialized program or have taken an interest in a particular style or medium, allow your portfolio to reflect this interest.
Consider the viewer when putting together your portfolio. Too many different styles and mediums becomes overwhelming, while too little variation does not give the reviewer enough material to properly assess your strengths and artistic potential. Keep your mind on balance and selecting only your best representative works.
Many student portfolios lack originality. This problem is so common that simply having original pieces in your portfolio already gives you an edge. Instead of attempting to replicate pieces from established artists, the majority or even entirety of your portfolio pieces should be your own creations. An original portfolio is far more interesting and memorable, so let your creativity shine.