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Questions from a Homeschooler re: Portfolios and Recommendation Letters

FriendshipGothFriendshipGoth 0 replies1 threads New Member
Hello! I'm starting the process of applying to colleges for a costume design major (which falls under theater, if it's at all relevant). I was homeschooled throughout my childhood, and although I'm currently attending community college (majoring in graphic design to try to knock out some art prerecs), there are still some things I'm confused about, partly I didn't have the experience of the high school-to-college classroom pipeline.

First, letters of recommendation. How do I go about asking for those? I'm not entirely clear on how they work or what I should say in order to ask for one. (I definitely have some social difficulties- unrelated to the homeschooling, before anyone gets any ideas about Oh Those Poor Shut-In Homeschoolers- so I often don't know what to do if I don't have a general idea of a specific script.) How many should I have, and how do I decide who to ask?

My second question is about my portfolio. For costuming, should I include one photo per piece, or should I include multiple angles? Is it better to have more concept sketches, or more finished pieces? I feel like it would probably be best to include multiple photos per piece, but I'm worried that might take up too much space- Like, if I'm supposed to have x number of images in my portfolio, and four of those are all photos of the same item, wouldn't that mean I end up having less variety of pieces overall? Is that bad?
For general visual arts, how do I decide what's "good enough" to go in the portfolio? Should I only use recent pieces, or is older stuff ok too? Are unfinished pieces ok to include? Are projects from my community college classes ok, or would those be too "seen this 500 times from 500 students"? Should I include a wide variety of different things, or focus on stuff that shows off my particular style?
Also, in general, since I'm trying to major in costume design- About how much of my portfolio should be general art and how much should be costume work?

I'd very much appreciate any answers anyone can give, even if you can't cover everything. Thank you for the help.
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Replies to: Questions from a Homeschooler re: Portfolios and Recommendation Letters

  • milgymfammilgymfam 1330 replies25 threads Senior Member
    For recommendations, you ask your teachers if they’re willing to be a recommender for your college applications. You should give them as much heads up as you can. Most apps seem to use the common app, so if they say yes, you get their email address and add their info to the recommender section of your common app. The common app will email them and the rest is out of your hands.

    I’m not sure about portfolios, sorry.
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  • slushyslushy 31 replies1 threads Junior Member
    The number of recommendations and the requirements for your portfolio submission depend on which schools you are applying to. Check the college/university's website for admissions requirements as well as any additional requirements for the department you are applying to. If these schools use the CommonApp, you should be able to find this info on the CommonApp website but always cross-reference the requirements with the school's website. Through your account on the CommonApp website, you can "invite" your teacher to upload a recommendation. CommonApp will email your teacher but first, ask your teacher if he/she would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. Regarding your portfolio, check the school's website and department website. You can also call the school's theater/drama departments for more details on portfolio submissions and other inquiries. Some schools may want you to upload photos of your work on the Common App's Slide Room web portal. Other schools might want you to submit photos directly to their department. Good luck!
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