Preparation for SAIC SHOW US YOUR WORK
Your portfolio is an important aspect of your application to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). First and foremost—showing us your work shouldn’t intimidate you—in fact, believe it or not, it should be exciting, enlightening and even (no, we aren’t kidding), fun!
We offer many opportunities for you to talk to us about your portfolio, so that when you hit “submit,” you feel confident that you are showcasing your creative vision in the best possible way.
IN-PERSON AND VIRTUAL ADMISSIONS EVENTS
LEARN ABOUT US. TALK ABOUT YOUR WORK. PREPARE YOUR APPLICATION.
At your convenience. From wherever you are. saic.edu/ugevents
The events we’ve prepared are designed to help you learn about us, and prepare a portfolio that best represents you and your hopes for a creative educational future.
• One-on-one portfolio reviews with faculty and admissions counselors
• SAIC Days across the nation, where you can get one-on-one feedback on your portfolio, meet with SAIC faculty and staff, and learn more about our interdisciplinary curriculum
• Portfolio Tip Tuesdays: virtual events with application and portfolio preparation advice from faculty and staff
• Portfolio reviews at in-person and virtual National Portfolio Days
• Online information sessions about our distinctive approach to educating artists, designers, and scholars
• Opportunities to meet with current and prospective students
• Sessions dedicated to helping parents and guardians understand the admissions process
EVENTS WILL BE HOSTED IN A VARIETY OF FORMATS TO BEST SUIT YOUR SCHEDULE:
• In-person events in cities across the world
• Individual meetings
• Live webinars with Q&As (recording available)
• On-demand content that can be viewed at any time
Did you know that we are happy to review your work more than once? In fact, we encourage it. This is a great way to perfect a merit-worthy portfolio.
As always, we are only a phone call or email away. 1.312.629.6100, 1.800.232.7242, or firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO A REVIEW? PORTFOLIO
Great question, and there is no one right answer.
We will give you some guidelines below, but REMEMBER, that we are going to talk to you artist-to-artist, maker-to-maker. We’re going to ask questions, listen to you, and ask more questions to help you gain focus. So, relax, and prepare for a good conversation.
• Bring recent work you believe best represents your current creative direction(s) and technical abilities. It’s okay to bring a range—even work you are unsure about, because these are great conversation starters.
• Classroom assignments are fine to show us, and can be great springboards to creating new work.
• Making work outside the classroom? We hope you are, and we REALLY want to see it.
We aren’t expecting perfection. Great ideas for new work and growth happen at every stage of your portfolio development.
• We like to see sketchbooks. The sometimes informal ideas you are generating in them help us see your process and give us an insight into how you think.
HOW DO I PREPARE MY PORTFOLIO FOR MERIT SCHOLARSHIP?
We are going to tell you what SAIC looks at when assessing your work for merit scholarship, and it is likely to be different from other schools to which you may be applying.
We are a school that values both meaning and making, which means that we are as concerned about the ideas behind your work as we are about your technical abilities.
Did you know that our merit scholarships are based on a review of your portfolio, grades, and your artist statement? You have done a lot of hard work in your high school career and that matters to us.
PORTFOLIO REQUIREMENTS: Depending on the degree you are applying to — BFA in Studio, BFA with an Emphasis in Art Education, Bachelor of Arts in Art History, BFA in Writing, or Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies — there will be different portfolio requirements.
For more information, visit saic.edu/ug_portfolio
• There are no universal answers and no formula for creating the ideal portfolio. While it may sound hokey, portfolios are a bit like fingerprints in being unique to you, and should help us see your individual passions and interests. No one else has your experiences and perspectives, and no one else can make your work. This is important. Read it twice.
• Consider themes in your work. Some artists, designers, and scholars focus on themes. You might be interested in political, social, or environmental issues and make videos, paintings, sculptures or write about those topics. Maybe you are interested in portraits—you could present a portfolio that consists exclusively of paintings—or maybe combine portraits that are sculpted, filmed and incorporated into performance or fashion pieces. All approaches are welcome.
• It’s okay to experiment with materials. There are some students who love paint—the way it smells, the way it feels out of the tube and onto the canvas and are focused only on showing us that. That is fantastic! But what if you are an alchemist who loves to combine materials—plaster with string, video projected onto canvas, even office supplies as art materials? No matter your medium, we can’t wait to see what you come up with.
• Think about showing us DEPTH as well as BREADTH. What does that even mean? It means that if what you really love is to make sculptures and that is the only work you want to show us—GREAT! Some schools ask students to show technical proficiency across a broad range of media—we don’t require that of you.
• Still not sure? Want advice? Talk to us. This is important, too!
HOW DO I CREATE AND SUBMIT
• SAIC requires an online portfolio.
• You access this through your application to us within the Common Application at commonapp.org.
• Once you have created your account in the Common Application, go to your SAIC application, and make sure you are in the ‘Questions’ section, and the ‘General’ tab. Select ‘Yes’ under the portfolio acknowledgment statement.
• The ‘Portfolio’ section will appear to your left, click on ‘Instructions.’ Then click on the SAIC Portfolio link— this will take you to SlideRoom.
• From within SlideRoom, you should upload 10–15 pieces of your work. When uploading your work you are able to include details such as titles and dimensions, and be sure to credit any collaborators.
• Film, video, and animation is welcome and should not exceed 5 minutes total. You can submit multiple clips and be sure to give credit to any collaborators.
If you are applying to our BFA in Writing, BA in Art History, or BA in Visual and Critical Studies, portfolio requirements for those programs can be found at saic.edu/ug_portfolio
Still images (.jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .tif, .tiff, .bmp, .tga) must be under 5 MB, in order to be uploaded to SlideRoom. Images do not have to be a particular size, as SlideRoom will process them to fit the system.
Any videos (.m4v, .mov, .mp4, .wmv, .flv, .asf, .mpeg, .mpg, .mkv) must be less than 250 MB in size; audio files (.mp3, .wma, .ogg, .flac) need to be less than 30 MB in size; and documents (.pdf) must be less than 10 MB.
As long as you meet the file size requirement and have media that is in the proper format, the system will process the media to fit the SlideRoom software. saic.edu/ug
Phone: 800.232.7242 or 312.629.6100
Everything you need to know, from start to submit!