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Interpreting/Incorporating advice from National Portfolio Day

so_transplantso_transplant 9 replies4 threads New Member

My DD recently attended National Portfolio Day and I think her portfolio received strong reviews. It's hard to say for sure because we don't know anyone else who went to compare notes. Her intended major is graphic designs and the reviewers had lots of praise for several pieces and specifically pointed out some advance skills in her use of type face. She included observational sketches that are required by several colleges. She's not as strong in drawing. However, the reviewers said they were impressed by how quickly she advanced.

One of the universities accepted her portfolio that day. Do VCU or James Madison Universitiy (JMU) accept portfolios at NPDs?

The James Madison reviewer was complimentary but more difficult to "read" than the other reviewers. His comments conflicted with the preferences of the others as well. She plans to apply to the school so we're a little concerned about how it will be perceived if she doesn't take all of his advice. Finally, as she was wrapping up her review he wished her well with whichever university she ended up choosing. I'm not sure how we should take that. Maybe I'm reading too much into it.
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Replies to: Interpreting/Incorporating advice from National Portfolio Day

  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying 6908 replies24 threads Senior Member
    Most reviews given at these are for the student's benefit and to help them make tweaks before the final submission with the application. No one is denied admission based on NPD so no need to worry about that. If someone from a specific school gave specific advice, it's a good idea to take that advice before submitting the portfolio to that school. As for the Good Luck sign off, they realize that many students are looking at many schools so there's no need to read too much into that either.
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  • ArtAngstArtAngst 334 replies7 threads Member
    Agree with @JBStillFlying - my youngest took notes on their phone immediately after each portfolio review and then used that info to tweak submission choices for each school's slide room. Also had a few in-person reviews during campus visits and used that info too.

    On the flip side it also helped eliminate some schools, in that if the school didn't seem excited about the kind of work my kid really loved doing, then they both weren't a good fit for each other.
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  • so_transplantso_transplant 9 replies4 threads New Member
    Thanks for your comments @JBStillFlying and @ArtAngst. My DD plans to tailor her portfolio to the schools as well. I think the reviewer was an interior designer and I'm not sure his comments would reflect comments his graphic design colleagues would make. Hypothetically, we could follow his advice for this one school but disappoint the reviewers if they have different preferences. I know that's true of any school though.
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  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying 6908 replies24 threads Senior Member
    edited October 14
    ^ A difference in speciality could be the reason for the distinct commentary. Most likely, however, is that the reviewer (most of whom are admissions reps who review tons of work throughout the year) was communicating the school's viewpoint, which will be consistent with other reviewers from that school but perhaps distinct from (and sometimes even in contrast to) other schools.

    Your DD might not need to worry about hypotheticals as much as strategy. As the goal of any application will be admission, she'll definitely want to tweak her portfolio to show that she took the reviewer's feedback seriously. There's a basic reason for doing so: that reviewer is either her admissions rep, or will pass on the commentary to her rep (assuming your DD is a senior). Attending NPD will be a point in her favor, and incorporating the reviewer's suggestions into her final submitted portfolio will be another point. Among other things, she will have demonstrated that she wishes to learn and grow from the expert advice of others.

    My own D found that she had to tweak each submission. Every school wanted something a tad different. That's why art school applications are a lot of work! :smiley: But, like @ArtAngst's kid she also found that NPD gave her the opportunity to cross a couple of "bad fit" schools off her list. And all of your D's extra work will be worth it if she ends up with a variety of acceptances and scholarships to consider in the spring.
    edited October 14
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