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Portfolio Preparation for Freshmen

The portfolio is the most meaningful indicator of serious artistic commitment, ability, and potential to succeed in MICA's rigorous studio environment. Your artwork reflects your visual sensitivity, your intellectual curiosity and creativity, your motivation and self-discipline, and your previous experience in the visual arts.

Freshman applicants should submit a portfolio of 12 to 20 pieces that represents your best and most recent work from high school (secondary school). Your portfolio can include examples of drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and work in other media. It should emphasize your strengths. The portfolio may also represent your interests and involvement outside the classroom. It is strongly suggested that some samples of drawing from observation (rather than from imagination or copied from photographs) be included.

The Admission Committee assesses the way you express your thoughts and ideas visually. Your previous training and technical abilities are also evaluated. Portfolios are evaluated on an individual basis, in the context of the specific educational background and experiences of each applicant.

No home exam is required. Your work should reflect your individual experiences and interests in whatever medium you choose. However, keep in mind that those students most likely to receive serious consideration for admissions and scholarships are those who have had the most experience and training in the visual arts. To best prepare your portfolio, consider one or more of the following:

  • Enroll in high school art classes, which build skills and experience sequentially, over 2 to 3 years. They should focus on fine arts, design, and color skills. If available, also consider specialized classes in such areas as video, photography, digital art, or visual communications.
  • Enroll in summer or pre-college programs for high school sophomores and juniors designed to develop portfolios.
  • Enroll in AP or IB art and art history classes if these are offered in your high school.
  • Enroll in art classes taught by private tutors.
  • Enroll in weekend portfolio preparation classes taught at two- or four-year colleges and universities.

One Final Tip: Be prepared to discuss your artwork and receive a critique from an admission representative or faculty member. If you cannot be present when we review your portfolio, you should send with the portfolio (CD, DVD) written information in addition to the required details (medium, size, and date) to help us understand your work. For example, describe assigned class projects and your solution to each problem. If the artwork was self-directed, tell us about your ideas and concepts.