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Portfolio Review Guides Students Considering Art and Design

Senior School students exploring post-secondary education and career paths in art had an opportunity to consult with representatives from schools on a one-on-one level. Reviewing reps spent time with students over Zoom evaluating their portfolios, providing advice, and offering feedback to help in the process of building something complete and effective for use when they begin the application process. “With a portfolio, it’s a process,” said Jennifer Cheong, Post-Secondary Counsellor, Student Services, Senior School. “It’s really nice for students to connect with reps early and get an idea of how they can take risks with their art and move forward.”

The sessions were well-received and inspired students to keep going as well as encourage them on the work they’ve already done. “One student said that they were so inspired they went home, and just did art all weekend,” said Ms Cheong. “It gives them more confidence in their work and more confidence in taking risks.” This supportive approach helps guide students while also letting them take ownership of their process. It’s an opportunity to try things, make mistakes, and learn from them in a safe environment. 

Selected works by Shae, Grade 11

“It’s also a networking opportunity; a way to practice these interview skills and practice presenting their work,” said Martina Hannigan, Teacher, Senior School. As an added side effect, students had the chance to take a closer look at the schools they were considering by asking questions specific to them. 

Reviewing reps shared some advice for students working on their portfolios as they prepare for post-secondary studies. Here’s some of what we learned as we listened in: 

  • Schools are interested in portfolios that show they can have some influence; a variety of mediums and styles show them someone who is willing to open up to new ways. 
  • They want to see that students are exploring the subject area they hope to study; for example, if you’re interested in architecture, include sketches of buildings, designs, and models. 
  • It’s exciting to meet students who are demonstrating that art is a part of their lives on their own time and that they’re happy to experiment. 
  • Showing creativity and a unique voice as an artist is key. 

Selected works by Suhani, Grade 11

The reviewers were impressed with Crofton House students, saying they were well-prepared and that it was clear how much thought went into their pieces. They were excited about the variety of student work, and also the willingness of students to take feedback and be excited about their process. Here’s what some of the students had to say: 

  • “I found it useful. I had some good advice to seek out some new artists, and try to add more work from life, rather than photographs. I will try to work that in.” - Shae, Grade 11 
  • “It was definitely so helpful. The reviewer was so nice.” - Viela, Grade 10 
  • “It was helpful. I wanted to know if I was on the right track, and what else I should be doing and I got that.” - Suhani, Grade 11
  • “I think the rep gave me a really different, unique perspective from what my art teacher, friends, or classmates would. So, very helpful.” - said Katie, Grade 10

While skills like sketching, oil painting, modeling, digital art, and sculpting were relevant to these sessions, what we heard was most important is adaptability and being able to pivot with the unknown. “Crofton offers a lot of opportunities to develop skills, including artistic skills,” said Katie, Grade 10. “But it’s really the mindset that matters. Don’t set a limitation; if you can step over the obstacle you created for yourself, then there isn’t anything that can stop you from doing what you want to do.” 

Selected works by Katie, Grade 10