Portfolio Reviews

Do you have what it takes?

The Department of Art seeks to enroll the most capable and motivated young artists and designers in its degree programs. Admission is limited and highly competitive.

The following degree programs require a candidacy portfolio review: BFA in Studio Art, BFA in Graphic Design and BFA in Art Education (K-12).

The following degree programs do not require a candidacy portfolio review: BA in Art and Visual Culture with concentrations in Art History, Studio Art or Art Management, BS in Commercial Photography and BS in Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology.

The candidacy portfolio indicates the student’s preparedness for entry into the department’s rigorous and demanding studio-based curricula. It shows the applicant’s aptitude for visual expression and demonstrates technical skills that have been acquired in the art and design.

Newly admitted freshmen and transfer students are strongly advised to attend the Department of Art meeting scheduled during freshmen and transfer orientation sessions where additional important information is given to all prospective art majors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Candidacy Portfolio Review relate to the Foundations Portfolio Review?

The Foundations Portfolio Review no longer exists. The Candidacy Portfolio Review replaces the Foundations Portfolio Review for all BFA programs. This change serves two purposes: 1) it allows easier access to introductory art courses for students across all majors, and 2) it creates consistency in how students are admitted into all BFA programs.

When in my college career do I submit to Candidacy Portfolio Review?

Application at the earliest point of eligibility is recommended, to allow time for re-application or change of major if the application is unsuccessful. For most students, the prerequisite courses will be completed during the fall of the sophomore year, though students with transfer credits may be eligible to apply sooner. All declared BFA majors must pass the Candidacy Portfolio Review before enrolling in any 3000-level classes within their major.

Do I need to apply to Candidacy Portfolio Review if I already passed the Foundations Portfolio Review?

For BFA Studio Art and BFA Art Education majors, no. For Graphic Design majors, you will still need to pass the Candidacy Portfolio Review that has been in place for many years.

Is the candidacy portfolio review for Graphic Design changing at all?

No.

May I apply to more than one Candidacy Portfolio Review in the same semester?

Yes. You may apply to one, two, or all three reviews, provided you have met the necessary pre-requisite course requirements.

What happens if I don’t pass the Candidacy Portfolio Review?

You have several options:

  • You may re-apply the next semester
  • You may apply to a different BFA program the next semester
  • You may use your earned credits toward a different major within the department, or as an art minor with a major outside the department
  • How many times may I re-apply to the Candidacy Portfolio Review?
  • You may re-apply to each Candidacy Portfolio Review one time. In other words, you could potentially submit to each BFA program twice, for a grand total of six Portfolio Reviews.

What courses should I take if I’m not sure which BFA program I intend to apply?

Evaluate the checksheet for each major. There are many classes that overlap amongst the majors, including five of the six pre-requisite courses. Register for courses that will fulfill requirements for all majors in which you are interested until you have advanced to candidacy in one or more majors.

BFA Art Education Portfolio Requirements

Coursework to have completed by the end of the semester in which portfolio is submitted

  • ART 1001 Foundations I
  • ART 1002 Foundations II
  • ART 1003 Foundations Drawing
  • ART 2222 Introduction to Art Education
  • One 2000 level studio art class
  • Either ART 2030 Art from Prehistory to 1400 or ART 2130 Art from 1400 to the Present

Portfolio Submission Date

Monday, November 26, 2018 via Google Form

Portfolio Contents

  • An essay of 300–500 words in response to one of the prompts provided in the form
  • A 10-15 minute interview with the Art Education faculty.

Interview

Interviews will take place on December 6, 2018. A link for signing up for interview times is included on the Google Form.

For information about Candidacy Portfolio Review for BFA Art Education, email Brooke Hofsess at hofsessba@appstate.edu.

BFA Graphic Design Portfolio Requirements

Overview

All graphic design majors must submit portfolios for review to be formally admitted into the BFA Graphic Design program, and before taking Typo­graphy 2 (ART 3102) and Idea Lab (ART 3302).

Portfolio review happens twice a year, imme­diately following the end of classes in the fall and spring semesters. Graphic design faculty will meet with interested students during group advising meetings each semester to announce the date of the review, explain the review process, and answer any questions.

You must complete or have in progress the prerequisite courses listed below to qualify for the review. A C grade or higher in each course is required for admission to the program.

Prospective applicants should review the requirements listed below and download  the application form. 

Prerequisite courses

  • Foundations 1 (ART 1001)
  • Foundations 2 (ART 1002)
  • Foundations Drawing (ART 1003)
  • Either Art from Prehistory to 1400 (ART 2030)
  • or Art from 1400 to the Present (ART 2130)
  • Introduction to Graphic Design (ART 1102) 
  • Typography 1 (ART 2102)

The portfolio

Your portfolio must contain:

  1. From Introduction to Graphic Design: all proj­ects and process work
  2. From Typography 1: all projects and process work
  3. Three drawings
  4. Two pieces of work from non­-graphic design studio courses (one must be 3d)
  5. Application essay (see prompts below)

Organize and present your materials for 1 and 2 in a binder.

Guidelines and Tips

  • Use the tables and walls (where needed) in 212 Wey to present your work. Cooperate with other applicants and take no more room than you need.
  • Present your graphic design and typography work as it was presented in class. Label clearly each work or series of work with the name of the project. Include a brief description of the assign­ment or problem to solve, where appropriate.
  • Leave a clear note with your materials if you have work in another part of Wey Hall that you can­ not bring to 212 that you would like the committee to include in your review.
  • Presentation matters: make sure your work is neat and ordered, with no frayed or ragged edges, creases, and so on. Present only finished work.
  • Stack your 2d work neatly next to your 3d work; hang work on the walls only if it requires it.
  • Print the form on the second page of this hand­ out, complete the items at the top, and include it as the first page in your portfolio binder. The appli­cation essay should be the second item.

Application Essay

Write an essay of no more than 500 words in re­sponse to one of the following prompts:

  • What project in Introduction to Graphic Design or Typography 1 challenged you the most, and why? Describe your creative process. What did you learn from the experience?
  • Tell us about a book you have read, or another course you have taken—both from outside of art and design—and specifically how it has in influenced your creative thinking.
  • Tell us about a collaborative art or design project you worked on, successful or not. How did the experience influence your creative thinking? How would you ensure the success of future group projects?

The Review

There will be a sign­up list posted to the door of the review room, 212 Wey, about two weeks before the date of the review. Add your name to this list if you intend to submit a portfolio for review.

Have your portfolio in the review room ready for presentation by no later than 8.30 am the morning of the review. (The room is normally open to students beginning around 6.00 pm the previous evening.) At that time, the review committee will ask students to clear the room. Review starts promptly at 9.00am. The committee will leave a notice on the door of the review room when it has finished.

Plan to remove your portfolio materials from the room by 4.30pm on the day of the review.

Conditions

The review committee includes all members of the graphic design faculty; its decisions are final and may not be appealed. The graphic design program co­ordinator will email you the results of your review and a copy of your evaluation after finals week.

The review is competitive; the committee will assess not just your achievements but your potential for growth and mastery as a designer. Strong grades in your prerequisite courses do not guarantee a successful review.

If you pass the review, enroll in Typography 2 and Idea Lab the following term; these are the prerequi­sites for Typography 3 and Interaction Design 1.

If you fail review, you may resubmit your port­folio for one further review only. Before resubmit­ting, consult with graphic design faculty for advice and feedback on revising your portfolio. Consider taking additional studio art or art history courses that fulfill graphic design degree requirements. Re­member also that Introduction to Graphic Design and Typography I can count as studio art electives in other degree programs.

Submitting your portfolio for review signifies that you have read, understood, and will observe the conditions of the review as described here. Please direct any questions about the re­view to Mark Nystrom, nystromml@appstate.edu, the Graphic Design Program Coordinator.

Computer Requirement

All students who pass Candidacy Portfolio Review will be required to purchase a laptop computer and software. 

Forms

The application form has detailed instructions on how to prepare artworks and deadline information. Incomplete forms or improperly formatted artworks will not be reviewed.

BFA Studio Art Portfolio Requirements

All intended BFA Studio Art majors must submit portfolios for review to be formally admitted into the program, and before enrolling in 3000-level studio courses.

Portfolio reviews happen once each semester. The submission deadlines are: the last Monday in April (Spring semester) and the last Monday in November (Fall semester).

Studio Art faculty will meet with interested students during group advising meetings each semester to announce the deadline for portfolio submission, explain the review process, and answer any questions.

You must complete or have in progress the prerequisite courses listed below to qualify for review. A C grade or higher in each course is required for admission to the program.

For information about Candidacy Portfolio Review for BFA Studio Art, email Jeana Klein at kleinje@appstate.edu.

Coursework to have completed by the end of the semester in which portfolio is submitted

  • ART 1001 Foundations I
  • ART 1002 Foundations II
  • ART 1003 Foundations Drawing
  • ART 1005 Studio Seminar I
  • One 2000 level studio art class
  • Either ART 2030 Art from Prehistory to 1400 or ART 2130 Art from 1400 to the Present

Portfolio Submission Date

The submission deadlines are: the last Monday in April (Spring semester) and the last Monday in November (Fall semester). Submissions to be via Slideroom.

Portfolio Contents

10 images of your best work, including:

  • one example of representational drawing
  • one example from Foundations I
  • one example from Foundations II
  • one example from a 2000-level studio art course
  • and six additional images representing the best work you have made so far
  • a brief essay responding to one of three prompts
  • an unofficial transcript

The portfolio and application essay must be submitted via Slideroom. The link to the portfolio review will appear below four weeks prior to the deadline.

Please complete all required boxes on Slideroom including: title, dimensions, media, and additional information, which should include a description of the assignment, your process, your thinking, and/or your creative problem solving.

Application Essay

Write an essay of no more than 500 words in response to one of the following prompts:

  • What is an area of interest or issue outside of art and design with which you are concerned, and how has it influenced your art and creative thinking?
  • What does studying art at the college level mean to you? How do you see this experience impacting your future?
  • What project in one of your studio classes challenged you the most, and why? Describe your creative process. What did you learn from the experience?
  • What is the most influential artist talk you have attended? How has this impacted your creative process?

Documentation of Art

As an artist, most opportunities in your career will be judged from images. Good documentation of your portfolio is critical. For installation work and many 3D media, giving a sense of the work may include offering various angles, carefully considered lighting, and appropriate setting. This is your chance to give us the best possible experience of your work. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Make sure you are photographing the art, not background clutter
  • Photograph your work on a plain, neutral background
  • Crop your image so that your art fills as much of the frame as possible; show off your work, not the background. The perspective crop tool in Photoshop is an excellent way to get clean, straight images.
  • If you don’t have a lighting setup, photograph your work outside on an overcast day, or in the shade. This will provide even light without harsh shadows
  • Consult with your past or current instructors or artists in your community
  • You may also consider hiring a fellow student or professional photographer who advertises portfolio services

Image Specifications

  • File format: JPEG only
  • File dimensions: 1500 pixels on the longest side
  • File resolution: 72 ppi/dpi (standard web resolution)

Documenting your work tips

Review Process

All members of the Studio Art faculty will review portfolios and essays submitted via Slideroom by the deadline each semester. Students will be notified of their acceptance status within three weeks of submission.

The review process is competitive. The committee will assess not just your achievements but your potential for future growth as an artist. Strong grades in your prerequisite courses do not guarantee a successful review.

If you do not pass the candidacy portfolio review, you may resubmit your portfolio for one further review only. Before resubmitting, you are strongly encouraged to consult with studio art faculty for advice and feedback. You may continue to advance toward your degree via additional art history courses and 2000-level studio art courses.

Submitting your portfolio for review signifies that you have read, understood, and will observe the conditions of the review as described here.

Criteria

  • Creativity: Work reveals an original approach to process, concept, subject matter and a willingness to take risks.
  • Craft & Technique: Work reflects mastery of chosen medium.
  • Content: Work successfully communicates meanings, ideas, attitudes, views and intentions of the artists in a concrete, complex, nuanced, and intelligent manner.
  • Design: Work appropriately applies formal design and composition principles (scale, balance, weight, color relationships, etc.) in support of conceptual intent.
  • Drawing: Drawing demonstrates competent representational drawing skills.
  • Communication: Writing is insightful, articulate, introspective, and specific.

Evaluation

  • 3 = strong evidence of specific criterion
  • 2 = some evidence of specific criterion
  • 1 = minimal evidence of specific criterion
  • 0 = no evidence of specific criterion
Graphic Design student trims project

Graphic Design student trims project

Metals student disc cutting

Metals student disc cutting

Printmaking student prepares plate

Printmaking student prepares plate

A student's process binder as part of their graphic design portfolio

Show us how you think

Docuemtation of a student’s design process is a critical component of Graphic Design’s portfolio review. Graphic Design faculty want to see finished work, but they also want to know how a student thinks. Every sketches and prototype for assignments in Introduction to Graphic Design and Typography I serve as evidence of how they work. The student whose binder is pictured here was accepted into the prgoram and is now working as a graphic designer in Los Angeles.