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Great art portfolio, low gpa - Can my art help me get into UVA?

ArtsyGirl21ArtsyGirl21 Posts: 42Registered User Junior Member
edited September 2010 in Visual Arts and Film Majors
I really want to go to the University of Virginia but my stats are pretty low. I don't think its such a popular major there but I'm not sure. I've been working on my art portfolio for about a year and a half now (9 hrs a week this summer) and its coming out really amazing (if i do say so myself). I'm very confident that it will be impressive, but how much can this help me with getting into UVA? I heard about two other people (also from NY/out-of-state) who went to a competitive high school (like mine) and had B+ averages, but also had spectacular art talent (presumably amazing portfolios too) and both got in to UVA last year. I haven't heard about there SAT scores but I'm pretty sure they weren't great either. So my question is how much can my art portfolio impact the admissions decision? (I know a lot of people say it can't make up for academic deficits in an application but it did for those other people!) Could my art portfolio possibly compensate for a just okay gpa and good but not amazing sats?

If you can tell me my chances/how much my portfolio can help them that would be great!

Here are my stats if it helps:
gpa: 3.57 unweighted/3.80 weighted (3 APs, 2 college credit courses, 9 Honors)
SAT: 2050 (Reading-690, Writing-680, Math-690
Extracurrics: Varsity Cheerleading (Captain), Varsity Badminton, National Art Honor Society, Art Club, Fashion Club, Speech & Forensics Club, Three 1st place art awards, art on exhibition, Scholar athletics awards, Paid fashion internship this summer, Hebrew High School education, Founder of community service program for my cheerleading squad and organized fundraising for it, Piano-have been taking private lessons for 7 years.

Any info about this would be really appreciated, thanks for your time :)
Post edited by ArtsyGirl21 on
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Replies to: Great art portfolio, low gpa - Can my art help me get into UVA?

  • PixelitistPixelitist Posts: 43Registered User Junior Member
    I don't know that anyone can answer your specific question. I have heard there is not a high percentage accepted at UVA from out of state. You may already have that figure. Regardless of any of this...shoot for the stars and go for it! Just have an acceptable alternative lined up. Good luck!
  • swittersswitters Posts: 407Registered User Member
    do you want to major in Art? Why do you want to go to UVA? Have you seen their art department.
  • fineartsmajormomfineartsmajormom Posts: 1,188Registered User Senior Member
    Why do you want to go to UVA? They don't have much of an art program. Last year they were still asking for portfolio in slide format (just gives you an idea of how technically up to date the department is). It sounds like you are asking whether UVA, in a desperate effort to keep the art department alive, takes students with borderline stats that are interested in pursuing an art degree or major. I have no idea if this is the case. My S with 2250 SAT, in state, 3.3 UW GPA, hispanic and strong art portfolio was told he had little or no chance to get into UVA with that GPA. They really care about the GPA, apparently.

    The chancers may have been pessimistic, but it seems an odd place to choose as an out of state, gifted art student unless you are interested in one of their other programs.
  • ArtsyGirl21ArtsyGirl21 Posts: 42Registered User Junior Member
    Yeah everyone asks me this same question. The truth is although I do have a strong passion for art and want to pursue some sort of art career in the future, its not the only thing I'm passionate about. Yes, I would major in art but my interests and talents aren't just limited to that and I feel that at a school specifically for art, I would be limited in my options. I also believe in a strong well-rounded liberal arts education which you can't always get at an art school - and i think it's pretty obvious that they have this at UVA. I want to go to a school with spirit (I cheerlead), where i can study latin - not as a major or anything, just because i want to learn it (I've always been interested but never got to study it cause it wasn't offered in my school), join a sorority, be an active member of hillel, and play club badminton. I need a school with a great learning environment, where i can thrive not only in art, but in all my subjects. I did check out the art department and the art museum there. They had beautiful facilities and I've heard great things about their teachers. I also think that since its not a school specifically for art, I'll be able to excel more easily because i won't be intimidated with all artsy/24-7 art people. I'm really interested in a college with a rich history and when i learned about the history of UVA it blew my mind. What attracted me in the first place was it's grounds because I have a MAJOR guilty pleasure for colonial architecture and it's just an amazing environment to learn in. There are so many things I want to accomplish and all the things i want to do in college match up with the offerings UVA have and plus its an AMAZING school - i think i can do great things there.
  • ArtsyGirl21ArtsyGirl21 Posts: 42Registered User Junior Member
    Ugh i know they really care about gpa :/ hopefully mine is at least in range of a possible accepted applicant or at the least a waitlisted one. I also am taking the SAT I's again next month (have been studying a lot and got a better tutor), and the SAT II's in Math 1 and U.S. History in November (UVA recommends these and I heard from someone that they could possibly compensate for not such amazing scores on the SAT I). I might also try the ACT in december if i'm really not satisfied with my scores. I have really good extracurriculars/awards/leadership positions, amazing recommendations, my essays are really strong and my art portfolio is definitely going to be solid so i hope that's enough....It's my dream school so all i can do is try
  • Dean JDean J Posts: 3,784College Rep Senior Member
    Last year they were still asking for portfolio in slide format (just gives you an idea of how technically up to date the department is)
    The directions allow for slides, but a CD is the first format mentioned and is most common. I think the inclusion of multiple formats in the directions is a positive sign. The department isn't requiring applicants to conform to a single format.
  • bears and dogsbears and dogs Posts: 3,076- Senior Member
    college rep! dean! italic font!!! member since 2006!!!!
    are you for real?
    can you, like, defend your employer publicly this way?
    can you then, remember this OP kid really really wants to go there and add alot to your fabulous school, make sure that she gets in?
    reading what she says made me want to go see the school, really.
  • GlutenmomGlutenmom Posts: 359Registered User Member
    College reps... coool! This will be interesting. Wouldn't it be great if other schools would randomly stop by in threads too? Tomorrow i do battle with MICA!
  • Dean JDean J Posts: 3,784College Rep Senior Member
    are you for real?
    Yes, I am for real. Most students know me through my blog, but I spend a lot of time here answering questions in the UVa forum.
    can you, like, defend your employer publicly this way?
    I'm not sure I understand the defend part of the question. Every few days, I run a search of the board to see where UVa has been mentioned. I don't really respond to general comments and never "chance" people, but if something needs correcting, I'll chime in.
    can you then, remember this OP kid really really wants to go there and add alot to your fabulous school, make sure that she gets in?
    To be honest, I won't read an application when I realize that I "know" a student from here, my blog, or another site (Twitter, Facebook, etc). I don't want these interactions to color my interpretation of the application.

    There are times when I'll check up on an applicant that I know, but I don't bother trying to figure out who people are on this board. I think most here want to ask questions anonymously.
    Wouldn't it be great if other schools would randomly stop by in threads too?
    There are a few other admission officers on College Confidential, but most stick to the forum specific to their school.

    There are a good number of admission officers who read College Confidential and never create accounts to post here.
  • fineartsmajormomfineartsmajormom Posts: 1,188Registered User Senior Member
    Neat to have a dean weigh in with accurate information. Thanks! S called UVA about the format and was told that if he sent slides it would be accessible to all reviewers, no guarantee with other formats, particularly video formats for installation work and animation. Most of the art schools S applied to have online systems to upload your art in a wide variety of formats (SAIC, MICA, VCU) or, if not, would at least accept a URL (Yale, OSU for example). WUSTL also had a very hard time with video but that also reflected their attitude toward time-based work. Interestingly, CMU strongly encouraged a live portfolio review so format was moot. If you apply to several schools that encourage a portfolio submission, be prepared to do a lot of format and reformatting of materials.

    OP it seems you have given a lot of thought to why you like UVA and your interests go far beyond the art department. That's great. As a NoVa family we know dozens of happy kids and graduates from UVA. Just remember there are lots of schools that offer what you seem to be interested in (maybe not the colonial architecture) so don't tie your heart to one school. Many state universities offer a lot of the diversity you mention as well as some moderate sized LACs. Unfortunatley, some kids get wedded to the idea of going to a particular school and, given that many qualified kids still get rejected from first choice schools, being so single-minded can be really devastating. First, you may be disappointed and second you may not consider some really excellent alternatives. I would encourage you to do the UVA application (you already see that you need the SAT IIs ...a rare requirement at state school!) but look around at the many other possibilities and you may actually find a school that is as good or better for all your interests, are likely to accept you and give you some options. In Virginia alone you may find a fit at William and Mary, Mary Washington or James Madision. All have beautiful campuses. Don't sell VCU short (despite being urban they have better facilities than most of the other state schools and a decent basketball team), particularly their honors program--you have the SAT scores and grades and likely would qualify for an out of state tuition waiver...they have a Dec 1 deadline for scholarships so look at that early.
  • Dean JDean J Posts: 3,784College Rep Senior Member
    S called UVA about the format and was told that if he sent slides it would be accessible to all reviewers, no guarantee with other formats, particularly video formats for installation work and animation.
    Is it possible that your son went through this process more than a few years ago or called a general phone number instead of the Office of Admission? It is very odd (I was close to typing impossible there) that someone in our office would push for slides. The faculty involved in our process have reviewed multiple formats for many years now. CDs are totally normal and they are perfectly capable of popping discs into their computers.
    (you already see that you need the SAT IIs ...a rare requirement at state school!)
    UVa does not require SAT IIs.
  • fineartsmajormomfineartsmajormom Posts: 1,188Registered User Senior Member
    I am not sure who son talked to but he definitely said they were keen on slides...who knows? Perhaps the person just referred him to the web page that says ""Admission into the Studio Art program is open to any University of Virginia student accepted into the College of Arts and Sciences. A portfolio is not required when students apply to U.Va. However, if you wish to have your portfolio considered as part of the admissions process, you may send slides of your work to the Admission Office. Do not send your portfolios to the Art Department." It goes on to say:

    There is no mention of cds on the page
    All static portfolios must be submitted in slide form. Please do not send originals. Slides will not be returned. Slides should be submitted in a clear plastic sleeve. An ideal slide portfolio should include the following:


    What is true is that if a kid is really interested in a program he/she will find a way to get their material in front of admissions people. S was not motivated after visiting UVA and didn't follow up.

    While the SAT IIs are not required bu I think the OP should note that GCs at the HS in NoVa tell kids in September that if they want to apply to UVA they should plan on doing some..I don't think the GC are nuts, but rather they probably read the application instructions that say, "We require scores either from the SAT I or the ACT for both first-year and transfer students. For first-year applicants, the results from two SAT Subject Tests in areas of strength are strongly recommended." That will generally make a student who wants to go to UVA take SAT IIs
  • Dean JDean J Posts: 3,784College Rep Senior Member
    Thanks for the heads up. The text above is not from the application instructions. The application instructions include a link to the guidelines for art supplements:

    Visual and Performing Arts Students, Admission Information, Undergraduate Admission, U.Va.

    I am going to guess that the text came from a departmental website that hasn't been updated. I'll do some emailing to track it down. We obviously don't want any outdated information out there. Please follow the application instructions for submitting your art supplements!
  • fineartsmajormomfineartsmajormom Posts: 1,188Registered User Senior Member
    I found the quotes on your art department's website with a link to the supplement instructions. Generally, someone seriously interested in the art department will start there for information on admissions requirements.

    University of Virginia: Studio Art Department: Students

    It certainly gives the impression that 1) UVA fine arts is a decade or more behind in technology and 2) the art portfolio is reviewed by admissions, not by the art department. This is a bit of a turnoff for the 18 year old art student who keeps his/her portfolio in digital form and doesn't even know where to get slides made!
  • Dean JDean J Posts: 3,784College Rep Senior Member
    The art supplements are reviewed by faculty.

    In talking with a colleague who coordinates the entire process, she said that the comment about slides was due to the fact that many CDs arrive damaged or unreadable and can't be reviewed. What's more, the digital images (and computer monitors) sometimes distort color and quality. Once again, CDs are the norm. Just made sure to protect them properly and use standard formats for files.

    You may want to explore the new Arts Grounds and read what the Vice Provost position overseeing access and innovation in the arts has been doing in recent years if you think our departments are behind. The facilities are stunning and students have access to tremendous resources.

    The Arts at University of Virginia
    University of Virginia Campaign for the Arts
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