The art portfolio process

When applying to university or college, there are some things to remember about the Art Portfolio Process

Find a list of schools

Are you thinking of applying to university for an art, fine arts, or graphic design program? These programs usually require a portfolio submission along with the standard university application. Read more

List of art schools

Burlington, Ontario
Hwy 6/Dundas Street
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"Our belief is “Forward Learning. Transforming People.” We focus on STEAM collaborative project learning, 21st-century skills, and inquiry-based thinking to prepare students with global competencies." —From the school

  • Gr. 9 to 12 (Coed)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum
  • $9,600 to $23,800
  • Day, Boarding, eSchool
  • 92 students
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Laureate College 9600 HighSchools Day eSchool Boarding Coed
Scarborough, Ontario
Kennedy Road/Progress Avenue
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"Enquiring Minds Montessori is a one-of-a-kind Montessori Art School. We have created a unique learning experience that fosters academic and artistic excellence in a nurturing environment while challenging young minds." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 6 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $11,158 to $17,500
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Enquiring Minds Montessori 11158 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
Whitby, Ontario
Brock Street South/Dundas Streer West
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"The Hatch House Montessori School is a very child centered school where each student is respected for their uniqueness and is guided through learning accordingly. Ask about our unique, fully bilingual elementary program." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Montessori curriculum
  • $12,250 to $15,750
  • Day school
  • 0 students
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Hatch House Montessori School 12250 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Concord, Ontario
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"Rotman School: Educating children to empower them for positive contributions to Canadian society. Fostering independence, creativity, and self-esteem through exploration of unique skill sets." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 12 (Coed)
  • Liberal Arts curriculum; Reggio Emilia
  • $12,000 to $16,500
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Rotman Arts and Science School 12000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Queen/Silver Birch
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"The Cole Academy welcomes students of all genders and orientations and their families. Using stories of under-represented communities, TCA prepares students socially, emotionally, and academically for future schooling." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $25,000
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The Cole Academy 25000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
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"Aurora Alternative Micro School has created a curriculum that combines academic and creative experiences , engaging a child's head, heart and hands in an environment that is supportive, nurturing and rich in growth." —From the school

  • Gr. JK to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $11,000
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Aurora Alternative Micro School 11000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed

Jackie Patrick is an Art Portfolio Consultant and former Sheridan College professor who has taught in the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design in the Art Fundamentals portfolio development and Bachelor of Applied Arts Illustration Programs. She has also been on the Special Admissions Committee at Sheridan. Jackie works with private schools and families to help students navigate the portfolio process, and shared her tips, ideas and suggestions with Our Kids.

When should you start?

According to Jackie, a common question is what type of work should be included in the portfolio. Many students don’t want to use their current pieces, which may be outdated or don’t highlight their growing potential.

However, it’s also important not to leave the creation of all your pieces to the last minute. Jackie suggests creating your portfolio over the length of a year, saying, “the traditional grade 11 year is the best time to start.”

How do you get started?

What will be the sources of your work? How can you get new experiences in the art field you’re interested in?

Understand application requirements

If you’re applying to more than one school then keep in mind that each portfolio you submit will be different. Each school will have different portfolio requirements, including:

Because each school has different requirements, it is very importance to know the specifications for each and every school you plan to apply to.

But is there anything all schools will be looking for, anything similar? According to Jackie all Universities and Colleges are looking for three things in the portfolio:

Because each school is different, it’s important to stick to the guidelines each school gives you.

Portfolio Checklist:

A short checklist for students to remember when starting their portfolios for art programs:

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