Admission to the department is a two-part application process, an academic application to the Office of Admissions (admission to the college is based upon a review of your academic work) and submission of an acceptable portfolio to the Department of Visual Arts and New Media for both freshman and transfer students.
Freshman portfolios should be submitted by November 15th for early acceptance decisions and February 15th for regular acceptance decisions. Transfer student portfolios should be submitted by November 15th for spring acceptance decisions and April 15th for fall acceptance decisions. Portfolios may still be submitted and will be reviewed after these dates; acceptance will be based upon available space in the program. An overview of the program, admission requirements and application can be found in the Visual Arts Overview and Application.
Your portfolio represents your current abilities, but also provides insight into your potential. It does not matter who documents your work, but the images submitted should be of the highest quality that you can manage. Your portfolio should consist of 10 to 20 images of your best work.
Included in the portfolio should be a minimum of five drawings made from direct observation (also called “drawing from life”, meaning not copied from photographs or illustrated publications.) These drawings are required from every prospective student regardless of intended major. It doesn't matter if you don't think you can draw or have never drawn, the VANM department is looking at how you use and interpret observational skills. We look at these drawings to help determine what you are paying attention to and how you are choosing to represent what has been seen. It is not always about "drawing ability." There are many other considerations. How you address composition, color, weight and balance are taken into consideration. A common misconception is that "drawing isn't necessary to be a filmmaker/photographer/web designer/etc." but drawing is more than simply rendering something onto paper, it’s about observation and interpretation, the basis of making art. The requirement of the five direct observation drawings is not something that should deter anyone from applying. Instead we suggest that you submit your best efforts in this category along with the rest of your portfolio.
The remainder of the work can be other examples of your art and design experience, which could include animation, painting, photography, video, ceramics, sculpture, computer images or website design. Select a range of work that best shows your skills. This doesn’t necessarily have to be all “finished” work, and it may not always be your most recent work. Including images of sketchbook pages that show how you solve visual problems could also be documented. For transfer students, your portfolio should represent your basic foundation experiences as well as more advanced work.
Work submitted digitally should be in standard JPEG format (video work should be submitted as a DVD and web-based work can be submitted as a web portfolio by providing the appropriate URL). The department is standardized on Apple Macintosh computers, but we can accept and view any CD as long as the work is submitted in universal formats. More information can be found on the Portfolio Submission Guidelines. It is recommended that all prospective students contact the department for additional information concerning portfolios and admissions.