National Portfolio Day - This Sunday, January 17 at Art Center College of Design!
For those of you in Southern California serious about wanting to attend or to transfer to an art college or university program with an art program (2D, 3D, or otherwise), I cannot recommend more attending the annual National Portfolio Day event, which is happening locally this SUNDAY, JANUARY 17 at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. (National Portfolio Day is an event held in many different cities at different times across the US. Be sure to check their page to see when they will be hosting an event near you).
National Portfolio Day homepage (http://www.portfolioday.net/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/)
Event details for NPD Sunday Jan. 17 at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena (http://www.artcenter.edu/portfolioday/)
National Portfolio Day will have 2 components:
Tours (of Art Center) and Financial Aid Information: 10:30 am - Noon
Portfolio Reviews: Noon - 4:00 pm
National Portfolio Day is an event where college representatives from many of the country's leading art and design programs convene to review en masse prospective students' (typically high school and transfer students') portfolios. I would recommend attending even if you are not totally sure that you are ready. Seeing the competition will really stimulate you to work harder on your portfolio!
Having attended several of these events, here is some advice regarding portfolio day, which you are free to take or leave:
Take your best work only - select 5-15 of your best pieces and sequence them from best in the beginning, to less best at the end. Present your work nicely - invest in a Cachet Deluxe Portfolio, 20" × 26" (http://www.dickblick.com/zz151/04/) for loose drawings, or in a larger portfolio case (http://www.iadt.ie/en/InformationAbout/NewsEvents/News/Picture,964,en.jpg) for paintings and more durable work. It's better to have a few strong pieces than many weak pieces. Remember that college representatives will be looking through hundreds of portfolios, so put only your best foot forward.
On NPD's website, you can browse by college name, majors and concentrations (http://www.portfolioday.net/content/view/24/38/), etc.
You will want to arrive early!! If you want a tour of Art Center (which is just the host school, there will be many schools represented there) I'd plan to show up around 8-9 am, as parking at Art Center is extremely limited!
Bring a friend/s or family member/s - let them stand in lines for schools in which you are interested. Correspond by cell phone so if one gets to the front of the line before the other, you can go to the line which is the shortest.
Browse attending schools ahead of time and stake them out! - decide which school/s you would like to most, get an event map showing where the college representatives are once you're on the campus (you should receive one at the entrance to the event) and then park yourself in those lines first! You will likely see only 4-5 maximum college representatives, as there will be long lines for the most popular schools, so it's wise to choose the schools you want to talk to ahead of time.
Here is my advice for NPD:
Take a clipboard and a notebook (paper) and some pens / pencils for taking notes on each individual colleges' responses to your artwork.
Note what the feedback is on your portfolio, both positive and negative - what they say you need to put in your portfolio.
For each school, print out questions you are interested in asking related specifically to that school. You may also have general questions for each school.
What is the school culture like? Is it a small, large, medium school? Are the students competitive or friendly?
What scholarships are available, and what type of financial aid is available?
What scholarships do you have that are based on merit vs. need?
How will my financial prospects be affected by the current state of the economy? Will it be harder for me to get a loan in the year in which I apply, or are things pretty much the same as they were prior to the credit crunch?
What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of my portfolio, and what do I need to do before I apply to strengthen my chances of getting in to your school?
What do you feel makes a successful applicant - what qualities do you look for in applicants' portfolios?
How much weight do you give to a student's academic performance vs. a portfolio?
What is the expected total cost - including tuition, room, board, food, cost of living, etc., for a year, and what is the projected increase over 4 years?
What is the success rate of your students, and what are the most viable majors in terms of long term economic success?
These are merely suggestions. Feel free to think of others or to modify these according to your own concerns. Leave spaces between your questions so you can write the answers that representatives give you and print out multiple sheets, one per school.
Good luck! :)