This was my daughter’s first National Portfolio Day and we wanted to share tips that we learned the hard way:
- You do not need to pre-register for National Portfolio Day but we highly recommend it because there was a separate line for those who registered upon arrival and this line went after the pre-registered line.
- NOTE that the website for National Portfolio Day is unclear about the importance of pre-registering!
- Arrive early! We got there are 9:30am for the event which started at noon. We were not allowed into the convention center until 10am where upon the line started forming. If you get there are noon or later, you risk not being able to show your portfolio to in-demand schools.
- Bring an iPad or computer to show your portfolio online. You will need to submit your portfolio via Slideshare anyway which will require you to photograph and upload your work. There was a long line for Rhode Island School of Design, but they formed a separate line NOT AT THE TABLES for those students who had 100% of their portfolio online. This line was very short!
- Make sure your iPad and/or computer is fully charged. Also bring a back up battery for your device! You do not want your device to die during your portfolio review.
- Have a game plan for the schools that you want to see. Anticipate which school on your list will be the most in-demand and start there. Have a friend or family member that you bring along specifically to stand in line for you to wait in the next longest line of the school you want to see.
- Takes notes on what each person says about your work after your review. Each school has different requirements and specific things that they are seeking in applicants’ work. Their feedback is meant to help steer your final portfolio, particularly for those last pieces that you are creating.
- Follow up with each person you met with with a thank you note or email. It’s just good manners and might help that admissions person or professor remember you when it comes time to review your application.
- Plan a food stop after it’s over. Give yourself some downtime to process the feedback and refuel. Receiving feedback on your portfolio is exhausting and stressful.
- Give yourself a pat on the back for going to National Portfolio Day. You are demonstrating a high degree of commitment to each school that you saw!
p.s. Here are a few more helpful videos about applying to art school:
- Portfolio Day (and RISD has online Portfolio Review also!)
- Take risks
- What to include in your portfolio
- Common Application and Slideroom
More about Art Colleges from our college tours:
Visiting School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
Visiting California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
Visiting California College of the Arts
Visiting Emily Carr Art + Design University
Applying to Art School: School of Visual Arts
Visiting West Coast Art Schools & Foodie Stops Nearby
Applying to RISD: Advice from Antonio Peters in Admissions
Xtreme Week at Mass College of Art
and some fun stuff …
If you are visiting New York City, here are our cheap foodie finds.
45 Art Gifts for Seriously Arty Kids (by my arty daughter)
Art Competitions for Kids and Teens
Our Art Gift Kits for Arty Kids
10 Inspirational Art Books for Arty Kids
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.
18 thoughts on “Tips for National Portfolio Day”
Have to admit that I had no idea what you were talking about at first! Is this a national thing – do they have these all over the country or just in major markets? I realize this is for art school, but I can’t help thinking how nice it would be if all schools went toward something like a portfolio for admissions. It would be so much more engaging for kids than ACTs and SATs.
It’s a national thing that they do in most major cities. Here is the list of cities: http://www.portfolioday.net/2017-18-schedule
This is a great overview for anyone looking to apply to art school!
Thanks MaryAnne! Trying to pay it forward. I suspect that my son will go this route too.
Hi! Thank you for the tips and all this wonderful information. I’m looking everywhere to find out where to pre-register, and I can’t find anything. I see the link for the online portfolio slideroom. Are you talking about pre-registering with the schools that will be there, or with the event itself?
With the event itself. Here is the website: https://nationalportfolioday.org/
You need to register at the event in your city. Your city’s registration might not be up yet. Here is the event calendar: https://nationalportfolioday.org/undergraduate-events/
Thank you for the quick reply! It must not be up yet! I’ll keep checking.
Did you end up finding going? I hope you found the link.
Thanks so much for all the insight… it is VERY helpful. I am trying to pre-register for the event in Charlotte, NC on Nov. 18th…. I have scoured the NPDA sight but to no avail, I have also done a search for “Pre-registering NPDA” also no luck there. Could you possibly paste a link in your response? I would greatly appreciate it 🙂
Here’s the website for National Portfolio Day: https://nationalportfolioday.org/
Here’s the pre-registration link for Charlotte, NC Nov 18, 2018: https://kcai.edu/admissions/portfolio-day-nc/
Here’s is precise link to pre register for Charlotte, NC: https://apply.kcai.edu/register/CharlotteNPD
There was no preregistration for the Houston portfolio day. I don’t think they all have them. Just the bigger ones. It was first come first served. They signed you up as you cane in and gave you a group. We were there an hour early and were out in the 2nd group to go in. It was about 5 minutes between letting each group in.
Thanks for sharing your experience. Sounds like the lines were not too long at the one in Houston? I do think it’s a good idea to get there an hour early and to have a plan of which schools you want to see. Some people even bring relatives to stand in line for them in a coordinated effort. Not all schools have lines, but some popular schools have very, very long lines and can’t see everyone.
Also there was no WiFi. So downloading to your tablet is also a safe bet. But my daughter brought all her hard copies.
Oh no! I didn’t think of WiFi issues. Downloading is a great idea! Hard copy is always a safe bet too! Our location had WiFi.
Hey there ! This was very helpful, but I wonder if you could answer a q for me? 🙂 I’m going into 11th grade, is it too soon to bother with npda? I had planned on going in September to get feedback on what I need to be working on, but I’m unsure.
It’s not too early to go to National Portfolio Day as an 11th grader. The feedback that you will get will help guide you on what to focus on this year. The timing is helpful especially if you decide to apply Early Decision or Early Action next year. I’d recommend it. Just choose carefully which schools you want to see. I would suggest that you focus on your top one or two choices. I’d especially meet with the most competitive art school or program that you are interested in since you have plenty of time to develop your skills for the actual portfolio that you will submit.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate it! I will mark it on my calendar. =)
This was extremely helpful. I really appreciate sharing your experience. I had not thought about many of your points so thanks! My daughter is attending for the first time as a senior so there is a lot of pressure but with the research we’ve done, I now it will be a beneficial experience. Thanks again.