Preparing a portfolio

Your portfolio is an important part of your application for admission to all studio-based programs. This section outlines portfolio guidelines and the review process.

Apart from the information below, OCAD U offers many opportunities to further develop your portfolio for admission. Check out our Portfolio Clinics , Summer Workshops, and National Portfolio Day

There are different guidelines for the portfolio depending on which program or year you are applying to:

Portfolio assessments take place in February of each year, regardless of which program or year you are applying to. You will be assigned a date and time that your portfolio will be assessed once your application is received. You can choose to present your portfolio to us in one of two ways:

NOTE: A $40 fee, payable in advance to OCAD University, is required to cover the cost involved with the portfolio assessments

1. Attend in-person: In-person portfolio assessments take place during OCAD U's study week in February each year. The reviews last between 10 to 20 minutes, and you will share your original work with reviewers from your chosen faculty. Tips for your presentation:

  • Generate interest and excitement with the first piece
  • Be aware that current work best demonstrates your skill level
  • Be prepared to explain why a particular work was selected for inclusion in your portfolio, what it means to you and what you were trying to achieve
  • Be prepared to talk about any research and preparation you did for your final work
  • Research OCAD U ahead of time to show your level of interest and commitment to studying here

2. Online via SlideRoom: ocadu.slideroom.com.

  • Before you use SlideRoom please make sure that you have applied online through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre, ouac.on.ca, and that you have received an email from OCAD U acknowledging receipt of your application.
  • Access to SlideRoom is open until the posted deadlines. You may upload images (jpg, png, gif) or video (mov, wmv, flv, mp4), music (mp3) and one PDF document. For fast upload and good image quality, your image files should be sized around 1024 x 768px @ 72 dpi. Please keep video files under 120MB each and 2 to 3 minute clips. OCAD U’s SlideRoom portal offers additional instruction for submitting your work. Contact support@slideroom.com for technical assistance. You can also access the SlideRoom help desk at slideroom.zendesk.com.
  • SlideRoom will allow you to log in and edit your portfolio as much as you like; however, once you click on the submit button, you will no longer be able to make changes. REMEMBER you must click the submit button if you want us to review your portfolio, unsubmitted or pending portfolios will not be reviewed. A $10 USD fee will be charged at the time of submission.
  • Please note that there are several programs listed at our SlideRoom portal; it is very important that you upload your images into the program that you are applying for.
  • If you are an Upper Year Entry (Advanced Standing) Applicant interested in using SlideRoom for your portfolio submission please contact Tammy Madden for assistance.

FIRST YEAR PORTFOLIO GUIDELINES

Your portfolio is an important part of your admission application. It needs to demonstrate a variety of your skills and approaches to art making. This can include experimentation in both analog and digital media. Keep in mind that when it comes to your portfolio, the most important feature OCAD U looks for is your ability to think creatively, shown in a diverse range of media.

A personal creative statement of approximately 250 words is a required element of the portfolio. No portfolio will be reviewed without the written statement. Some of the topics you might address are: - See more at: http://www.ocadu.ca/admissions/undergraduate/preparing-a-portfolio.htm#sthash.lb7ZvCka.dpuf

All programs require you to submit a Creative Profile of a maximum of 350 words. After your application has been received details will be emailed to you about the Creative Profile. Here are some of the questions you should be prepared to respond to:

  • Why do you want to attend OCAD U?
  • What strengths and skills do you bring with you?
  • How do you hope to benefit from attending OCAD U?

Portfolio Guidelines

Your portfolio should demonstrate a variety of your skills and approaches to art, design and media. You need to demonstrate that you are a visual communicator and that you are well-equipped to succeed at OCAD U. This can include experimentation in traditional and digital mediums or any combination. Keep in mind that when it comes to your portfolio, the most important feature OCAD U looks for is your ability to think creatively, shown in a diverse range of mediums. 

should be a visual representation of who you are. You need to demonstrate a variety of your skills and approaches to art, design and media. You need to demonstrate that you are a visual communicator and that you are well-equipped to succeed at OCAD U. This can include experimentation in traditional and digital mediums or any combination. Keep in mind that when it comes to your portfolio, the most important feature OCAD U looks for is your ability to think creatively, shown in a diverse range of mediums. - See more at: http://www.ocadu.ca/admissions/undergraduate/preparing-a-portfolio.htm#sthash.wJ6HUSwQ.dpuf

This can include experimentation in traditional and digital mediums or any combination. Keep in mind that when it comes to your portfolio, the most important feature OCAD U looks for is your ability to think creatively, shown in a diverse range of mediums. - See more at: http://www.ocadu.ca/admissions/undergraduate/preparing-a-portfolio.htm#sthash.wJ6HUSwQ.dpuf

  • Include a maximum of 10 pieces of your original work in art, design or media, including a creative journal/sketchbook to demonstrate your creative process
  • Demonstrate your ability to work with a wide range of techniques, materials and subject matter
  • Include works in 2D, 3D, time-based, lens-based, digital or traditional media
  • Originals are preferred, if you are presenting your portfolio in-person. If you can carry the work easily you can include it in your portfolio. If the work is too large to transport, is very fragile, or for site specific work, you may present the piece as a digital image or photograph. There are no other size limitations
  • Whenever possible applicants are strongly encouraged to provide their own laptop for the review of digital or time-based work for the in-person assessments. A limited number of laptops will be available during the reviews
  • Drawings may be from direct observation, such as figure drawing, still life, interiors and landscapes, as well as from imagination and memory
  • Please present work flat rather than rolled, mounted or framed.
  • Work exploring colour, form and mixed media approaches are welcome, as are three dimensional works, such as installations, models, jewellery, soft or hard sculpture
  • Feel free to include work that directly relates to the discipline that you are applying to

Note: Students applying to the Digital Futures Undergraduate Program have special portfolio requirements.

UPPER YEAR ENTRY (ADVANCED STANDING) PORTFOLIO GUIDELINES

Direct entry to an Upper Year (Advanced Standing) and year level placement is based on the strength of the applicant's portfolio and academic standing. All applicants will be notified of the time, date and location of the review through email. 

A statement of intent of approximately 350 words is a required element of the portfolio. No portfolio will be reviewed without the written statement.

Upper Year Entry (Advanced Standing) Faculty of Art Portfolio Requirements (PDF)

Upper Year Entry (Advanced Standing) Faculty of Design Portfolio Requirements (PDF)

Upper Year Entry (Advanced Standing) Digital Futures Portfolio Requirements (PDF)