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MS, Communication & Media Technology | BFA, '07
Saratoga Springs NY

National Portfolio Days

Ashley Hennigan on Sunday, 13 September 2009. Posted in The Arts

Applying for a major in the College of Imaging Arts & Sciences (CIAS)? Meet with our Faculty members at a National Portfolio Day this fall!

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If you are applying to a major in the School of Art, School of Design, or School of American Crafts you will be required to submit a portfolio of work along with your undergraduate application to RIT. 

Not too long ago I was preparing my own portfolio for art school and attending National Portfolio Days myself. 




Originally from Saratoga Springs, NY, I attended a National Portfolio Day in Connecticut and it is one day in my life that I will not soon forget. I was able to visit with faculty and admissions representatives from three schools that I was interested in. 

My experience with each school was very different. The first school I saw gave me a great critique and gave me tips on how to improve my work for my application. The next school made me cry. I laugh about it now, but it was not exactly what I had planned on (and I wasn't the only student in line for that school in tears). Long story short- this school questioned my passion as an artist because I had written "undecided" on my inquiry card. They told me to leave with out even seeing my portfolio. I insisted through my tears that they have a look, and after the review I was encouraged to apply. I'm sure you can already guess that I chose not to!

RIT was the last school that I stopped by to see. I had a great experience with the faculty members. They laid out all of my work at once and gave me very positive feedback. During the visit I was asked if I would like to make this critique a part of my official portfolio review. I agreed to it and had my portfolio accepted on the spot! It was a great feeling and a good note to end the day on. 

I hope more students make it through National Portfolio Days without tears, but it was a valuable experience that I would do all over again in a heartbeat. Here are a few tips to make your trip an enjoyable and productive experience.


Ashley's Tips: 

Do your homework 
Research schools that are a good fit for you and make a list of your top 10. 
There is a good chance you will run out of time to see everyone on your list, but a plan for the day will definitely help! 

Get organized 
Bring your work in a manageable portfolio. 
Keep your work neat and clean. 
Be prepared to speak about each piece. 

Arrive early 
It's a long, busy day. 
Plan to be there from start to finish. 
Check in early and map out your day!

Have an open mind 
Take criticism, note it and make plans to improve your work.


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