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 submission 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:
- First Year Portfolio Guidelines (all undergraduate studio programs except Digital Futures)
- Digital Futures Undergraduate Program Portfolio Guidelines
- Upper Year Entry (Advanced Standing) Portfolio Guidelines
Portfolio submissions will be due in February and we will begin to review portfolio submissions in February regardless of which program or year you are applying to. All applicants are required to submit a digital portfolio online through SlideRoom. You will be notified by email of further details, deadlines and instructions for submitting the portfolio after your application has been received and processed.
NOTE: A $50 fee, payable in advance to OCAD University, is required to cover the costs involved with the portfolio assessments.
Tips for your portfolio submission:
- Generate interest and excitement with the first piece
- Be aware that your 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 reference research and preparation you did for your final work
- Demonstrate a variety of your skills and approaches to art, design and media
- Include work that directly relates to the discipline that you are applying to
- Include works in 2D, 3D, time-based, lens-based, digital or traditional media
- Demonstrate your ability to work with a wide range of techniques, materials and subject matter
- Research OCAD U ahead of time to show your level of interest and commitment to studying here
Digital Portfolio Submissions Online via SlideRoom: To submit your portfolio through OCAD University's SlideRoom portal please visit the following link to create an account, https://ocadu.slideroom.com. Access to SlideRoom will be made available in December.
- 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 PDF documents. 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 email@example.com for technical assistance.
- 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 $12 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.
First Year Portfolio Guidelines
Your portfolio is a collection of work that represents your individual creative and technical experiences and accomplishments and should be a visual representation of who you are. 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 both analog and digital media or any combination. Keep in mind that when it comes to your portfolio, some of the most important features we look for are skill, passion, curiosity and your ability to think creatively, shown in a diverse range of mediums.
Key elements of the portfolio for admission include:
- Statement of Intent - Explain in 300 words your interest in the program that you have applied to as well as what inspires or influences the work that you do.
- Process Work - Show your sketchbook, process and concept development skills as part of your portfolio.
- Finished Work - Include 8 to 10 examples of your finished original work. Be sure to include work that is directly related to the program that you are applying to.
- Image List - Explain in 50 words per finished piece the process/making method/media/concept and purpose of each piece.
After you apply you will be notified of exact dates and deadlines for you to submit your portfolio. Complete updated portfolio guidelines, including program specific requirements, will be available here in December.
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.
A Statement of Intent of approximately 300 to 350 words is a required element of the portfolio. After your application has been received and processed details will be emailed to you about the Statement of Intent. No portfolio will be reviewed without the written statement.Upper Year Entry (Advanced Standing) Faculty of Art Portfolio Requirements (PDF)