How to Build a Great Admissions Portfolio for a Creative Program

By Algonquin College Modified on September 05, 2023
Tags : Arts & Culture

Does your program require a portfolio as part of your application? Not sure what a portfolio is? Here's everything you need to know about portfolios!

 How to Build a Great Admissions Portfolio for a Creative Program

If you’re looking to enrol in a creative program but you’re not sure what an “admissions portfolio” is, don’t sweat it. Here’s what you need to know about portfolios and how to prep your very own!

What’s an admission portfolio?

First and foremost, a portfolio is a collection of your best work. This can include pieces you’ve created in your spare time and school work. Your portfolio illustrates what you’re all about so showcase something you’re proud of, something that was really challenging, or something that was completely out of your comfort zone.

Essentially, the pieces you choose to show off will demonstrate your skills and prove that you’re up for a challenge.

What goes into a portfolio?

Ready to get started? The first step is to carefully read the admission requirements on your soon-to-be program’s homepage. This is because each program has slightly different requirements and processes. The admission requirements for your program will specify exactly how many pieces your facilitators want to see, how they should be displayed, and where to submit them.

Generally speaking, these are the types of pieces you can expect to include:

  • 10-15 pieces of original creative work
    • This is to show your ability and range. It’s nice to have a niche but it’s better to dabble in a bit of everything.
      • Pen and ink or pencil drawings
      • Sketches or drafts
      • Collages
      • Photographs of your larger pieces if they aren’t easy to travel with (canvases, sculptures, pottery, jewelry, murals, etc.).
      • AutoCAD drawings,
      • Hand-drafted architectural drawings
      • Artistic photography
      • Graphic design
      • 3D models layout
      • Typography
      • Painting
      • Web design or interface design
    • Do your best to include a variety of pieces that will demonstrate your ideas, skills, and interest in a variety of mediums.
  • 2-5 optional pieces of your choice
    • These don’t have to be related to your program but can demonstrate your skills, passions, and ideas.
    • These are pieces you feel proud of and really show off your personality and creativity. If you enjoy working with watercolour, charcoal, or any other medium, be sure to include your favourite works here.

We’re here to help

If you already have a portfolio but you aren’t sure if it’s strong enough, attend a free Portfolio Information session. These sessions offer valuable feedback from program faculty and help determine your suitability for the program to which you’ve applied. If you’re looking to apply to the Animation program, Graphic Design program, Illustration and Concept Art program, Interior Decorating program, or the Bachelor of Interior Design program, you won’t want to miss this.

Do your best

Portfolios are important but it’s also important to remember that you’re here to learn! It can be hard to accept criticism at first but keeping an open mind and being open to new ideas is part of the fun. If you put in the work, you’re sure to do great things. You’ve got this!

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