Admissions to the School of Art is based on a holistic approach that considers your portfolio of artwork, academic record, extracurricular activities, recommendations, and personal statements.

While your portfolio should demonstrate technical proficiency, we are most interested to see how you use art to express your voice and explore ideas. Portfolios that excite us are those that demonstrate experimentation, risk-taking, and curiosity rather than purely technical studies. Most importantly, we want to get a sense of who you are as a person and creator!

Portfolio Advice Session

It can be challenging to know what to include when curating your portfolio. At any point in the process, you can meet virtually with our senior admissions officer to get feedback on your artwork, suggestions on putting together the strongest pieces, and support in completing the application.

It is never too early for a portfolio advice session. High school sophomores and juniors can get valuable feedback and recommendations for continued artistic development.

Click here to schedule an informal 30-minute portfolio advice session before you apply. 

To learn about the other application requirements and deadlines, please visit the Admissions page.

Portfolio Guidelines

Portfolios should include 12 to 20 images and/or videos of your most recent work that best showcase your ideas, interests, and unique artistic voice. There is no universal recipe for a successful portfolio; in fact, your portfolio should be as unique as you are. Consider what kind of story your portfolio tells about you and your interests, and include works that will give reviewers insight into how you think.

Possible portfolio pieces:

  • Art made outside the classroom.
  • Pages from your sketchbook.
  • Art that shows off your personal view of the world, sense of humor, or interests.
  • Works that explore complex ideas such as:
    • Social, political, or economic issues
    • Humans’ relationship to the natural world
    • Personal identity, for example: queer, racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender identities
    • Feminist perspectives
    • Philosophical, spiritual, or religious exploration
    • Other questions of ethics or morality
    • Critical takes or reflections on culture and popular culture
    • Scientific or mathematical concepts
  • Work in a wide variety of mediums, demonstrating a curiosity to experiment with many different art materials. Works may include:
    • 2D images like drawings, paintings, photographs, artist prints, collaged works, zines, and mixed media
    • 3D work like sculpture, textile experimentation, and environmental or site-specific installation
    • Computer-generated or computer-assisted imagery
    • Time-based art such as kinetic sculpture, animation, performance, live-action video, film, and audio works
    • Interactive projects, such as a game you programmed yourself, or work made with Arduino, Processing, Unity, or other software

Technical details:

Your portfolio should consist of 12 to 20 recent works. SlideRoom allows you to type in additional details when uploading files. Please include:

  • Title of the piece
  • Dimensions (length x width x height)
  • Mediums used in the piece
  • A short written description of the meaning behind the work, any influences or inspiration, or any additional research that went into the making of the piece. If the artwork was made in collaboration with other artists or groups, describe what your specific contribution was to the overall piece.

For images:

  • Images should be uploaded as JPGs of approximately 1 MB, or around 1000 pixels on the shortest side. (Do not include very high-resolution images.)
  • Do not include picture frames or borders in your images. Your flatwork should fill the digital image completely.
  • For sketchbooks, zines, artist books, or other multi-page works, upload as a multi-page PDF (up to 10MB).
  • Do not add distracting information such as embedded titles, descriptions, or designed borders to your images. This can make it difficult for reviewers to see and focus on the actual artwork.
  • Digital illustrations may be uploaded as a JPEG or TIFF.
  • Illustrations with animated elements or short animated GIFs are acceptable.
  • 3D models may be submitted as Sketchfab links or videos (see below for video requirements.)

For sculptures, 3D media, and other physical objects:

  • Photograph your work with a neutral background, unless the surrounding area is integral to the work (such as an installation that is site-specific and/or interactive).
  • For kinetic sculptures or complex installations, consider presenting a 30-second demonstration video in addition to a still image.

For video and sound:

  • Videos may be no larger than 250 MB each and should be uploaded in MOV, MP4, WMW, or FLV format.
  • Audio files are limited to 30MB each and should be uploaded in MP3 format.
  • Video and audio files should be no more than 3 minutes long. If your work is longer, choose an excerpt to present.
  • If your video uses a soundtrack (such as a song) by someone else, be sure to credit them.

For interactive projects, such as a game you programmed:

  • Document interactive software projects with screen-captured demonstration videos, ideally with narration.
  • Documentation videos should be no more than 3 minutes long and under 250MB.
  • Note which programming languages you used.

AI Policy in your Admissions Portfolio Submission:

Generative AI is having a transformative and complex impact on creative practices, and we recognize that applicants may use AI in a variety of ways. We value your transparency and ask that you describe whether and/or how you used AI techniques in your application artworks. In particular:

  • We expect that you will not misrepresent how an artwork was made. For example, it would be a violation of our academic integrity policy to claim that an artwork was a handmade oil painting, when you actually created it by prompting a generative AI system.
  • We do permit you to submit works created with commercial AI tools (such as MidJourney, ChatGPT, etc.), if you feel that the work genuinely represents your creative effort. If you include such works, we ask you to include descriptive information about your tools, choices, and process.

We also welcome unconventional portfolios that include tools or AI-powered artworks you have programmed yourself. Be sure to describe your research as clearly as possible, and mention any libraries you may have used (such as PyTorch, Tensorflow, etc.).