That is the million dollar question!
A portfolio that gives the viewer some insight into the person who created it.
A portfolio that demonstrates creative thinking, drawing skills and a variety of other media.
They are also looking for the creative process to be evident. By this we mean showing your research, your exploration and interrogation and your final outcomes. Your portfolio can show that you’re a committed student or that you are a student that is just going through the motions – which would you rather be?
It’s all well and good saying the above but HOW do you show this – read our eBook ‘Creating a sensational portfolio’ to learn more on how to make an art portfolio for college or university.
Yes, this is essential not only because most universities ask for this but it is related to your theoretical / contextual studies (written work – used to be called art history).
We cannot work in a bubble, unaware of others’ creations both historically and currently.
All art and design courses have theoretical studies as part of their courses to engage you in how your work fits in the context of the bigger art and design world.
This involves research, reading and written work. With more and more art and design being conceptually driven the colleges need to sure of your ability to understand, interpret and communicate your ideas, visually, orally and in written formats.
There really are no rules about what size your art college portfolio should be.
Most portfolios that I have seen in my years interviewing have been A1 but I have seen a portfolio of purely photographic work that was A3.
I would keep it to A1 or A2 and then follow our instructions in the eBook on ‘How to mount and present your work’ for further details about how best to show your work.
Read our eBook to learn more on presentation and mounting an art portfolio.
Again there are really no hard and fast rules about how many pieces of work you should have in your art college portfolio.
Some colleges have a pre-selection in the form of digital uploads that you need to submit to show them a ‘mini portfolio’.
Check out with the college what they expect here as this is usually limited to a certain number of pieces. I would say to you that you need to be careful in selecting your work, don’t put everything in just because you’ve done it.
Also, don’t have an army of helpers bringing in truck loads of stuff. Limit it to what you can carry – please! Get someone to help you select pieces for your art college portfolio, your tutor or teacher should be doing this anyway. If you’re not currently at college or school then try to get someone who you trust to help you – but not too many opinions because this can be counter productive. For more guidance read our eBook on how to make an art portfolio for college or university.
Of course – this is an important part of any art college portfolio.
Your sketchbooks should show your thought processes, how you tick and offer an insight into your mind for the viewer! Sounds a bit weird perhaps?
But really your sketchbooks are so important that you must have, I would say, at least 2 full ones to take with you.
Follow our eCourse 'Sketchbook development' for art sketchbook ideas and make sure your sketchbooks shine.
This depends where you are in the world and where you are applying to.
If you're applying to a course in Scotland the 4-year degree takes students in from school usually without a Foundation. Check the entrance requirements. You might feel that you still want to do a foundation course so that you know which subject you'd like to apply to however if you have the grades at A level or Advanced Higher you'll be qualified without a Foundation Course.
If you're applying to coures elsewhere in the UK, you will usually need to do an art foundation level course first. Some courses don't ask for one but my opinion would be that the ones worth applying to do ask for a Foundation Course.
Even if you are in Scotland, you might be best to apply for an art foundation course as well to cover all bases – just in case you don’t get into a degree programme as it is very competitive.
Yes, yes, yes!
From my experience of working with mature students they are fantastic learners with a different outlook on life that is reflected in their work and very much valued for their contribution to the group dynamic.
Check out with each college what the entry requirements are for mature students as they are relaxed slightly in favour of life experience.
However a portfolio of work is still required and is usually assessed against the same criteria as students straight from school. For more guidance read our eBook on how to make an art portfolio for college or university.
Oh no, you got that college rejection letter – me too (26 years ago!)
Depending on how badly you want to go and how supportive your family and finances are, keep on trying.
Sometimes it’s just that you’re not ready to go, your work might not be mature enough, by that I mean that another year might get you to the level where the colleges will accept you. Then read our FREE eBook.