Portfolio redefined 2015!

Reviews with SVA, Parsons, MCAD & SUNY Purchase

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Senior Check-In this Saturday!

*Senior Check-In*
Saturday, January 10th, 10am-1pm
Museum of Arts & Design, 6th floor
 2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY
(just above 58th street, between Broadway & Columbus Circle)
RSVP required: click here

Open to all current high school seniors who are applying to colleges of art and design, this is an opportunity to meet 1:1 with a representative from the Portfolio Redefined team to make sure everything is on track with college applications, portfolios and financial aid. Snacks and free admission to the Museum of Arts and Design will be provided to all participants and parents. Handouts for how to use the online portfolio submission system, Slideroom will be available along with information about applying for financial aid packages.

All participants should come to the event prepared with the following:

  • A checklist of application requirements for each school to which you plan to apply
  • A USB or mobile device with digital portfolio images
  • Specific questions related to your application

We look forward to seeing you soon!

We wish you all the best of luck and hope to see you soon!
Portfolio Redefined Organizing Team

Portfolio Redefined 2014!

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Portfolio Redefined is for all high school students who are preparing an art and design portfolio for college admission as well as members of their families who would like to learn more about art degrees and college readiness.

Join Parsons, Museum of Arts and Design and the Joan Mitchell Foundation for a portfolio development day on October 11, 2014 that is devoted to workshopping ideas and practices for building a competitive portfolio for college admission. The day includes hands-on “how to sessions” on documenting work and writing for portfolio submissions and finding inspiration to kick-start your portfolio. Arts professionals and students from art and design colleges will share projects and give guidance to students on how to best present themselves to the school of their choice.

A breakfast snack, a bag lunch and an afternoon snack will be provided for students and family members at the event.

Workshops will include:

  • Portfolio strategies from artists and students
  • Best practices for digital documentation
  • Artist statement writing
  • Group portfolio reviews (bring a sampling of your artwork to share)


Writing College Admissions Essays

During the Portfolio Redefined event last week, we heard from a lot of teachers that information on writing for college admissions and examples of admissions essays would be helpful. Here are some tips, requirement examples, guidelines for getting started, and essay examples.

Any feedback, comments and requests are welcome!

WRITING FOR YOUR PORTFOLIOGreat advice from Carolina Wheat, Director of Admissions for Parsons


1. Represent yourself through text

2. Use words you are comfortable using

3. Discuss your process

4. Please do not begin the essay “I always knew I wanted to be an artist”




What do you make, how do you make it, and why do you make? Ultimately, where do you visualize your creative abilities and academic study to take you after your education here at Parsons? (Maximum 500 words.)


In 500 words or less, discuss your reasons for pursuing undergraduate study in the visual arts. Feel free to include any information about yourself, as well as your goals and interests that may not be immediately apparent from the review of your transcripts or portfolio.


Describe when and how you became interested in art, design, writing, architecture, or the particular major to which you are applying. Describe how this interest has manifested itself in your daily life.


What makes you a perfect candidate for FIT? Why are you interested in the major you are applying to? The essay is also your chance to tell us more about your experiences, activities and accomplishments.


 Questions to Get you Started

Begin the process of writing your essay for college admissions by answering these questions for yourself in your sketchbook.  

Tell the truth & the more you write for each question the better.

– Why you do like to make art?

– What materials, themes and CONCEPTS do you use? Why?

– What do you see in your work / What do other people see? (ask friends and family)

– What inspires you?

– What are your goals and aspirations as an artist?

– What schools are you interested in and why?

– What does your work actually look like? Describe one work as an example!

– What do you want to do in the future?

When you’ve answered these questions try to organized them into an outline, or 3 separate paragraphs. Once you’ve organized start to use your answers to make structured sentences.  Answering the questions is an exercise to get you writing about your art. Your final essay does not have to include any of your answers verbatim, or it can. 

Make sure that someone else looks over your essay. It is easy to miss mistakes when it’s your own writing. And feedback on how you can improve is always great. 


ARTIST STATEMENT EXAMPLES by accepted students 

ARTIST STATEMENT EXAMPLE for Parsons by Tiffany 

To be able to excavate the bones of ideas that link humanity in one common whole – it is a beautiful, life-long driven process.

I am keen to my surroundings, expecting beauty in the most trivial aspects of daily life. As people head toward their offices, open the bus terminal doors for the people behind them, and dart across the street as the sign signals an alarming red- it is a gift to be able to observe certain gestures expressed by strangers and acquaintances. I will often take the opportunity to absorb the details of the lives of those other than myself. I search there for new inspiration – it is a search to synchronize the heart rhythms of strangers through my artwork.

With the start of an art piece, I begin by wondering how to capture my life and thoughts in a way that creates a private bond with each onlooker. The ultimate purpose of my artwork is for the viewer to reflect upon their lives and remember emotions they have experienced. Through the work it becomes possible to comprehend the similarities we share as human beings.

One aspect of my work that is effective in evoking a sense of commonality is childhood nostalgia. My unique childhood has formed my character as I was intimately exposed to different cultures – South Korea, China, and the United States. As I resided for several years in each of the three countries, I accumulated knowledge through learning the diverse languages, colors, food, clothing, and mannerisms of these countries. Seeing the differences opened my eyes and altered the approaches I take toward exploring the unfamiliar.

I have developed ideas for a few of my favorite art pieces from my most valued childhood memories, with the hopes to share these fortunate experiences – the time I tied a rope around my pet baby chick’s leg and explored the playground, and the exciting elevator ride with my brother with stacks of soda in our hands. Handcrafted with sculpey and painted with acrylic paint, the sculptures of those memories evoke a sense of nostalgia and excitement with their vibrant colors.

The seemingly simple vibrancy of my work is balanced with structural stability. One example is the sculptural piece titled “Thinking Outside of the Box” which is intended to be ironic because the brain-shaped structure is built with wired boxes. I placed a light bulb in the center encasing it in a mirror-walled box to depict the flash of a new idea as its light fails to pass beyond it’s walls. This piece portrays the human mind as it fails to improve on an idea because of other shortsighted and entrapping thoughts. Such fallacy is a human characteristic that is universally shared.

My search for similarities among humanity has become increasingly simple as my empathy and compassion has grown. As I learn an individual’s story, I aspire to serve as a medium, expressing certain qualities with my creative work. Each person reflects back to me humanity’s common ground.



Many people have told me that I have a restless personality, which I believe to be true. I constantly seek experiences that will make me feel alive. Maybe this why I do the things that I do. I love hiking and traveling, especially to places that seem untouched by man. Most of my inspiration comes from that moment when I absorb the spectrum of beauty in front of me through my eyes. I process the thoughts that subsequently run through my head, and when it is released through every pore of my body, I recreate the feelings through my art.

Even asleep, my thoughts are seeking and restless in the sense that when I have fallen into a deep slumber, and I am no longer physically mobile, my thoughts turn to dreams.  When I am asleep my dreams are either rather disturbing or mysterious and serene. It seems that most people forget their dreams when they awake, but I remember my vivid dreams clearly, as if they were memories from waking life. I am not afraid to show, through my illustrations, what my dreams reveal to me; what I desire, what offends me and scares me. By using my dreams as inspiration I feel unlimited in expressing myself.

I never questioned that I would pursue a future in the field of Illustration because when I am drawing and painting I feel the most comfort. Whether I am reading a book, hiking, taking a picture, or even listening to music, it always leads me into the depths of my mind, and I know that the thoughts will eventually translate into an illustration. I have discovered that art has no boundaries, and that there is no better means to capture the imagery that I create in my head.

Although my ideas come to me most often when I am by myself, I am a very social person, and I am inspired by other creative people. I need to be constantly surrounded by individuals who will fuel this. There is no better way to ensure that I will be, than to attend an art school full of diverse yet creative students.

The School of Visual Arts is a school that has many qualities that suit me. The faculty at SVA is impressive, and the effort that SVA makes to look for artistic minds, by visiting places such as Ashcan Studio, really caught my attention. I am also impressed by SVA student work. During a SVA admissions counselor’s presentation, I was able to see examples of projects by SVA students and they were all inspiring.  Some of the works held me in a trance. I was in awe and often had the chills on my skin when looking at some of the work. If the students at SVA are making such outstanding work, then I know that the school has a lot to offer me.



I feel that have two identities. Outside of my home I live under the name Helena Juhee Kim, while at home I am my parents’ rebellious teenage daughter, Juhee Kim. Throughout my life I have struggled to define my identity. I have had difficulty figuring myself out, who I represent in this society. However, since my entrance in to high school I have realized that my whole life revolves around art. It has taken me back to the very beginning of my life. I recall that it was art that made me feel happy and complete as a child. It was what I loved.

I believe that all artwork has a purpose. It tells a story. When you see an artwork it is as if it’s trying to whisper the artists story to you. Art does not have to be a visual image. To me, art can be a story. I often come up with new creative ideas through telling stories with words. Words are a very powerful tool to express messages and fantasies. For me, however, words are not enough—if there is a story then there must be an image to portray its meanings. I want visually illustrate it. Images can be mysterious in ways that words are not. Art reveals the artist, the type of person he or she is—not only with the way an artist uses color, their line making and style, but also through the core concept the artist focuses on. It interests me that a certain topic or story can be so essential to a person that they had to make it into art.

My junior year in high school year I made the decision to pursue illustration as a career. Attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in New York definitely played a role in finding my interest among the many majors of art. As a junior I decided to take the classes Illustration and Mural. It was my toughest year, as I had personal issues in addition to academic stresses. Art helped me get through these hardships. It pulled me out from my distress. Moreover, it made me love and understand ‘art’ better. In the end, it was art that helped me grow as a person. It was then I understood what it truly meant to be an artist.

Through my many struggle in life, art is what saves me. In the end it all comes down to what I truly want to pursue in life—in the future, what I see myself doing and love being involved in. Art makes me realize that there is a purpose for everyone. And I believe that by going to an art college my love of art will flourish even more, as I get closer to my dream and start anew to become even a better artist.






Documenting your artwork- its not the camera its how you use it

To admissions counselors, the quality of documentation affects perceived quality of work. Good work, poorly photographed is worse than bad work well documented.

This is an example of artwork by Ashcan student Nicole, who is now a Graphic Design student at RISD. For this painting the context of the work was just as important as the content. She took the photograph ‘on site’ with natural light – as opposed to a neutral background with studio lighting in a studio.




Portfolio Redefined Days

Portfolio Redefined Days are full-days of workshopping ideas and practices to build a competitive portfolio for college submission. The day  includes hands-on “how-to sessions” on how to document work and to strengthen writing to support your portfolio submissions. Students will get a chance to join roundtable discussions with professional artists, designers, and other art professionals. Art professionals share projects and give direct feedback to students.

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Portfolio Examples – Still Life

Observational drawing is an integral component of an art portfolio for BFA applicants. It is always beneficial to demonstrate competent, realistic observational drawing skills. Drawing or painting a still life is one way to make evident your creative skills. The ability to draw from life shows admissions counselors that you can explore and communicate visually. When you begin a still life, use objects and/or colors that interest you, and add something unexpetected.





If you are struggling with your portfolio here are a few programs that can help

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Schedule & Hours : Portfolio Preparation classes 6 days a week, year round

Admissions: Begin classes anytime: Register Here

Contact: hayleypalmatier@ashcanart.com

Tuition: $400 per course for four weeks (discounts for intensive packages)

Monday through Saturday 11-3 and 4-8

Website:  http://ashcanstudio.com/en/


Manhattan Campus: 45 East 34th Street 4th floor, New York, NY 10016 / 1- 212- 967- 8101

Queens Campus : 252-20 Northern Blvd Suite 209, Little Neck, NY 11362 / 1- 718- 819- 0004

About Ashcan Studio: Certificate program, SVA 1 + 3 program, 100% acceptance rate, 5 million + in student scholarships, art school admissions expertise, small class sizes, individual projects, Arts high school portfolio preparation, College Freshman  & Transfer art & design school portfolio preparation, Masters art & design  portfolio preparation


Studio art space at Ashcan Studio 

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Schedule & Hours : The class runs annually from October-June with 3 hour classes, two days a week    jumpstART

AdmissionsRegistration or  registration page

Tuition: Free for students who qualify

Contact: arted@joanmitchellfoundation.org

Website: http://joanmitchellfoundation.org/education-programs/after-school/jumpstart

Location:  545 West 25th Street, 15th Floor, NYC

About jumpstArt:  intensive after school program for high school juniors and seniors,  student art exhibition in Chelsea,  focus on college and portfolio preparation, students  work closely with artists, designers, printers, curators, public-speaking coaches and art administrators

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jumpstART students & student work 

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Schedule & Hours : Saturday mornings for 11 weeks in the fall and spring semesters and every weekday for two weeks in the summer.

Admissions: Classes meet on Saturday mornings from September 28 to December 14, 2013. View course offeringsread the registration instructions, or register online now.

Tuition: Certificate Program: $410.00 (11 Saturday sessions) Young Scholars: Scholarship based

Contact: academy@newschool.edu.

Website: http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/design-scholarship/ 

Location: The New School, 66 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011

About Parsons Pre- college: Parsons offers a certificate program for students in grades 9–12 who plan to apply to art and design colleges. If you are entering the 12th grade, Portfolio Development course, help preparing artwork and presentations for college admission applications, other pre-college courses

About PARSONS SCHOLARS PROGRAM: Every fall, Parsons recruits 10th-grade students from New York City public schools for theParsons Scholars art and design college preparation program. This program offers scholarships to talented young students from lower-income families to study design at the college level. Parsons Scholars also explore the range of art and design careers and acquire skills and knowledge that will help them gain admittance to and succeed at Parsons or any other college of art and design. Learn more.

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Parsons Scholars

Pratt, Spring Weekend Program

Schedule & Hours: The class runs from February 1/2 – March 10/11 with 3, 5 hour classes per Saturday/Sunday (12 sessions)

Tuition: $395 – $745 plus fees

Admissions: registration page (Download form)

Contact: prostudy@pratt.edu

Website: http://www.pratt.edu/academics/continuing_education_and_professional/pro_credit_programs/precollege/hs_programs/

Location: 144 West 14 Street, Manhattan

About Weekend Program: Weekend courses in architecture, art and design, and portfolio development classes. High-school students have an invaluable opportunity to sharpen their portfolios, get a taste of college life, and earn college credits.

Pratt, Pre-College Summer Program

 Schedule & Hours: The class runs from July 7 – August 1 (4 weeks, 3 weekends), all courses and schedules will be available for students upon check-in

Tuition: $3.298 plus fees

Admissions: registration page (Download form)

Contact: precollege@pratt.edu

Website: http://www.pratt.edu/academics/continuing_education_and_professional/pro_credit_programs/precollege/hs_programs/

Location: Brooklyn Campus, 200 Willoughby Avenue

About Pre-College Summer Program: Every summer, Pratt sponsors a college-level program for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors at its Brooklyn campus. It is an intensive immersion experience; approximately 400 high school students, ages 16–18, seize the opportunity to experience college-level study in Pratt Institute’s PreCollege program. Students are immersed in a program of art, design, architecture, or creative writing, modeled after Pratt’s undergraduate offerings. Upon completion of the program, students earn four elective college credits.

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PRATT Pre- College Program 

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SVA, Spring Pre-College Program

Schedule & Hours: The class runs from January 25 – April 5 with 3 hour classes

Tuition: $600 per course (A limited number of need/merit-based scholarships are available)

Admissions: registration page

Contact: precollege@sva.edu

Website: http://www.sva.edu/special-programs/pre-college-program/spring-pre-college-program

Location: 209 East 23 Street, Manhattan

About Pre-College Program: Pre-College Program is designed for high school students who want to enhance their creative skills, learn more about a particular field of art, develop a portfolio and/or experience the challenges and triumphs that exist at one of the most dynamic colleges.

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SVA Pre-College Program


A list of addresses, phone numbers and emails for many of the US undergraduate admissions offices:



Art Center College of Design

Admissions Office,

Art Center College of Design,

1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, CA 91103,




Bard College

Campus Road

PO Box 5000, Annandale-on-Hudson

NY 12504-5000



Boston College
Office of Undergraduate Admission

Devlin Hall 208

140 Commonwealth Avenue

Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

phone: 617-552-3100 or 800-360-2522


California Institute of the Arts

California Institute of the Arts,

24700 McBean Pkwy, Valencia,

CA 91355




Ashcan Student work for BFA Admissions by Spencer 

Carnegie Mellon University

School of Art

CFA 3000-5000 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213



City College

Wille Administration Building

Room 101

160 Convent Avenue

New York, NY 10031




Ashcan Student work for BFA Admissions by Spencer 

Columbia University

Columbia University in the City of New York

Office of Undergraduate Admissions

212 Hamilton Hall, Mail Code 2807

1130 Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10027

Phone: 212-854-2522



Cooper Union

Administrative Offices

30 Cooper Square

New York, NY 10003

(212) 353-4100


Cornell University

Caldwell Hall

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853 – 2602






Fashion Institute of Technology

Office of Admissions, Room C139

227 W. 27th St.

New York City 10001-5992

212 217.3760






Harvard University

Office of Admissions

48 Quincy Street, Suite 422

Cambridge, MA 02138,



Hunter College

Hunter College Admissions Office

695 Park Avenue

Room 203 N

New York, NY 10065








Long Island University

LIU Brooklyn

1 University Plaza (corner of Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues)

Brooklyn, NY 11201




Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Admissions Office

77 Massachusetts Ave., Room 10-100

Cambridge, MA 02139

(617) 253-3400



1300 W Mount Royal Avenue
Baltimore MD 21217-4134



New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University

Undergraduate Admission

73 Tremont St

Boston, MA 02108



New York School of Interior Design

New York School of Interior Design

Office of Admissions

170 East 70th Street

New York, NY  10021

(212) 472-1500 x205



Pless Hall, 3rd Floor, Room 340A

82 Washington Square East

New York, NY 10003

(212) 998-5053




Parsons the New School for Design

Office of Admission

72 Fifth Avenue, 2nd floor

New York, NY 10011



Penn State University

Undergraduate Admissions Office

The Pennsylvania State University

201 Shields Building

University Park, PA 16802

Email: admissions@psu.edu

Phone: 814-865-5471




Pratt Institute

Myrtle Hall 2nd floor

200 Willoughby Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11205





Queens College

65-30 Kissena Blvd.

Jefferson Hall Lobby

Queens, NY 11367-1597





Rhode Island School of Design

Two College Street

Providence, RI 02903

401 454-6300 or
800 364-7473


Royal College of Art

Kensington Gore

London SW7 2EU

United Kingdom

+44 (0)20 7590 4444



Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Admissions

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Engelhard Hall

190 University Ave

Newark, New Jersey 07102



Savannah College of Art and Design

SCAD Admission Department

1600 Peachtree St., NE

Atlanta, GA

30309 USA




Ashcan Student work for BFA Admissions by Spencer 

School of the Art Institute in Chicago (SAIC)

Admissions Office

36 South Wabash, Suite 1201

Chicago, IL 60603

800.232.7242  or  312.629.6100


School of Visual Arts

209 East 23 Street

New York, NY 10010



Southern California Institute of Architecture

SCI-Arc Admissions Office

960 East 3rd Street

Los Angeles, California 90013





University of California, Berkeley

Office of Undergraduate Admissions,

University of California, Berkeley,

110 Sproul Hall #5800

Berkeley, CA 94720-5800



University of Michigan

Office of Undergraduate Admissions

1220 Student Activities Building

515 East Jefferson Street Ann Arbor

MI 48109-1316


University of Arts, Philadelphia

320 S. Broad Street

Philadelphia, PA 19102




University of Pittsburgh

Office of Admissions and Financial Aid

University of Pittsburgh

4227 Fifth Avenue, Alumni Hall

Pittsburgh, PA 15260



University of Pennsylvania

Office of Undergraduate Admissions

1 College Hall, Room 1

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6376

(215) 898-7507


University of Saint Louis

Saint Louis University

One North Grand

St. Louis, MO 63103 USA




University of Texas, Austin 

University of Texas at Austin

Office of Admissions

P.O. Box 8058

Austin, TX 78713-8058



University of Virigina

P.O. Box 400160

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA 22904



University of Vermont

Undergraduate Admissions

Burlington, VT 05405

(802) 656-3131





Washington University

Undergraduate Admissions

One Brookings Drive

St. Louis, MO 63130

(314) 935-6000




Yale University School of Art

Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Yale University

38 Hillhouse Avenue

New Haven, CT 06511







Ashcan Student work for BFA Admissions by Spencer Anh