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College of Communication & Creative Arts - Art

Rowan University

Portfolio Interview Instructions

A portfolio review is a required step in the Department of Art admissions process for all prospective students, whether you are applying as a freshman or as a transfer from another school. It is your responsibility to fulfill this requirement. You cannot be considered for admission to the Department of Art without submitting your portfolio, and the following information will help you through that process.

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What to Include:

Your portfolio must contain:

• 12 examples of recent work. These must include a minimum of 6 original representational drawings from direct observation; the remainder of the works can be from other areas of interest in the visual arts

• A typed essay of about 250 words that discusses your educational goals and career plans as a professional in art/design. Please include your name and address on your essay.

• You are encouraged to also bring a sketchbook

• It is logical and acceptable to show photographs or digital files of artwork or projects too large or too fragile to bring to the portfolio interview, or to show brief animations/websites/etc. that must be viewed onscreen if that is part of your artistic interests and development (optional)

Ask your art teacher to help you select the best works to demonstrate your skills and concepts. Multiple views of three-dimensional work, sculpture or crafts are counted as one item. The artworks may be from class assignments and/or pieces that you have created independently for your own interest and enjoyment. You may also include art/design created for community or other projects.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are drawings from direct observation?

These are drawings that show your ability to translate the real world around you to a 2D surface. Any drawing media can be used; we are reviewing your understanding of tonal values, perspective, and compositional relationships.

What do you mean when you say ‘original’ drawings?

Do not include copies of photographs, ads, comics, or other artworks from magazines, books, etc. because these are based on other artist’s works. We are interested in seeing the quality of your talents and skills to assess your potential to grow and succeed in the Department of Art.

Do I have to show drawings if that isn’t the area of art that interests me?

While you may not plan to focus in the fine arts, our faculty value broad understanding and competence along with deep investigation into your chosen program of study. Drawing is a fundamental skill that is important in all areas of 2D, 3D and digital art and design. Drawing is usually part of a student’s high school or transfer preparation so it provides a baseline for our evaluation.

What other kinds of art/design work should I bring to portfolio review?

This depends on your particular interests and background. Students interested in graphic/web design may bring examples of classwork in advertising and branding, layouts from school yearbooks or posters, or websites or animations. Students interested in 3D areas may show the actual dimensional works or photographs of them. Paintings, prints, photographs, murals and collages are all acceptable if they help us connect you with your artistic goals. Just remember to keep the total number of works, including direct observation drawings, to 12 examples.

Do all of my examples have to be formally mounted, finished works?

It is fine to show studies, sketches and works that have been part of your learning process; not everything has to be ‘final’ pieces. However presentation is important, so even if works are not mounted, they should still be neatly organized and with ragged edges trimmed so their display shows your pride and care in your work.

Why do I have to write an essay?

Simply being good at making art usually isn’t enough to provide success as an art/design professional. Your ability to critique, analyze, and explain your work and your ideas with effective communication skills is important too. At this point, your essay helps us understand your thinking and attitudes that are shaping your career plans.

How To Present Your Work:

You will meet with Department of Art faculty to talk about your work. Be prepared to discuss your art experiences and your future plans and goals. We will gladly answer any questions about the department and the programs we offer. Parents and family are welcome to come meet, speak with faculty, and visit the facilities at Rowan University.

A well-organized presentation is important!
• Consider using a simple storage portfolio case to neatly carry your work (we don’t expect you to have a formal portfolio with individual sleeves)
• 2D work (drawings, prints, etc.) may be matted/mounted for uniform display but this isn’t absolutely necessary. If you do mat your artwork, use black/white/neutral borders. You can protect the works by covering them with acetate, or simply put a flap of clean paper over/between them. Do not frame the work or use glass.
• If you show small 3D work, it’s easiest to wrap it and put it in a box to carry to your review. No special display formats are required. Big works, or fragile works are better and more safely shown through photographs (these can be printed or viewable on screen).
• If you are showing digital works, bringing your own laptop to the review assures easy and quick access to your files. If you use a CD or portable drive for your works, it is best to use .jpg or .pdf formats for still images. If you are showing animations, videos, etc. (keep them short, or show short example clips) it is best to use a Mac formatted DVD, Quicktime file or .mp4 file.

Portfolio Review Dates

• Sunday, October 18, 2015 (university open house)
• Sunday, December 6, 2015
• Sunday, February 7, 2016
• Sunday, March 6, 2016 (university open House)

To schedule a portfolio review, please email with the subject line: PORTFOLIO REVIEW. Please include your preferred date and time between 9:30 and 11:30.

You will be contacted via email to reserve a time slot. Please do not call for an appointment.

It is strongly recommended that all students appear on campus to present his or her portfolio.

Application Deadlines
For fall semester entrance, freshman and transfer applications are due by March 1. The application deadline for spring semester entrance is November 1 for freshmen and transfers.