Tips for National Portfolio Day!


 I always forget to write this post but then midway through Portfolio review season I seem to remember. So, forgive me for the lateness but hopefully this can help folks who are coming to campus for portfolio reviews or to later National Portfolio Days like New York or Atlanta.

Alright, so the overall goal of a portfolio review is to figure out what pieces you should submit for your application. Portfolio reviews from admissions counselors are just meant to guide you; they do not mean immediate acceptance into college, keep this in mind.

So, what do you bring to a portfolio review or to a National Portfolio Day? Well, here are my best tips:


  1. Do not just bring a USB– I have had students USB’s crash my computer, not work on my computer and leave a virus on my desktop. If you bring just a USB, I will not look at your work for all the reasons above and I usually do not take a computer to National Portfolio Days. You may bring your own computer, ipad, mini ipad or whatever but always bring printouts just incase.


  1. If you made it in 8th grade, I shouldn’t be seeing it – Anything that is older than two years is not anything I want to see. I do not care to see growth over time, I rather just see your strongest pieces that you have made over the past couple of months. I expect that you have improved since 8th grade, you don’t need to show me. Trust me, don’t make your Mom carry a framed picture of your first drawing.


  1. Pictures are worth a Thousand Words – I know you want me to see a piece in person but if your Mom has to drag it in a wagon, I don’t need to see it. The invention of the digital image is perfect for this reason, just take a picture and don’t carry anything fragile! Portfolio Days are long and by the end, you’ll hate that wagon.


  1. Don’t be Scared – Yes, art school counselors have a reputation of being mean, I understand. To be honest, I was scared when I went to National Portfolio Day almost a decade ago so its okay – I get it. But this is your time to interact with an alum, a teacher or a professional artist of the school you are trying to attend. Lighten up a bit, have some fun! Don’t let your Mom talk the whole time, speak up – we want to hear from you!


  1. Big Artists Don’t Cry – Yes, this has happened – I have made students cry as an admissions counselor. Art is an emotional personal thing, it is hard to hear someone criticize what you make. I get it. But, remember I am here to help you get into college. I would never purposefully say something mean or awful, I just want to see you do well. So if you are offended or feel hurt by counselor, just take a breath and if you need to step away – let us know, that’s okay. Have a honest discussion with your admissions reviewer if you disagree with their review, a discussion is always better than tears or even worse arguing.


  1. Visit all the Schools – Short line? Go talk to them! Everyone goes for the big dogs of art schools but if the line is short at a smaller school or one that you’ve never heard of – go talk to um’. You never know what could happen!

Happy Portfolio Review Trails, everyone! I hope to see you out on the road and using my tips. If you are looking for more information about National Portfolio Day go to

About Katie

Hi there y'all! My name is Katie and I am an Admissions Counselor here at Parsons. I am a recent graduate of Parsons, I majored in illustration and I am currently getting my Associates degree in Graphic Design. When I'm not at Parsons, I am a avid baseball watcher, park sitter, book lover and an aspiring hoarder.

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