Before you know everything, teach someone else.Sam M.

Upcoming Events

posted by admin at 6:45 pm on October 15, 2012

Hello all! We hope you’ve had a wonderful and creative week!

As we press further into the year, informational events for college-bound students (especially juniors and seniors!) become more important to attend and particularly essential to prepare for. Obviously the question that follows is this: What is the very best way that I can get prepared?

The answer is more simple than you might think: Know when to go! Just getting up and going to these events puts you ahead of many other college applicants. College fairs and portfolio review opportunities are some of the very best places to learn what you’re looking for and what the schools you’d love to attend want from you. The more information you have, the better your ability to tailor your applications and portfolio to maximize your chance of acceptance.

Here is a list of some important upcoming events for SAI students to be aware of:

1. Visual Arts College Fair

Tuesday, October 23rd 2012 7:00-900 pm
Fischer Pavilion at Seattle Center
305 Harrison Street
Seattle, WA  98109

Who will be there: CalArts, Carnegie Mellon, Cornish, DigiPen, FIT, FIDM, PNCA & Savannah College of Art and Design, just to name a few. For a full list click here.

2. National College Fair

Friday, November 2nd 9:00 am -12:00 pm
Saturday, November 3rd 12:00 – 4:00 pm
Washington State Convention Center
Hall 4E 
800 Convention Place
Seattle, WA 98101

Who will be there: TONS of liberal art colleges and universities, including Oregon College of Art and Craft, Otis, Purdue University, RIT, Sarah Lawrence College, Syracuse University, Whitman College, and many others ranging from state & trade schools to “baby ivies.” This is a great fair to attend as a junior if you’re still trying to figure out exactly what kind of college you’re looking to attend, as well as a wonderful resource for seniors who want specific questions answered about the universities they’re already interested in.

3. SAI Open Studio for Mentorship Students

Tuesday, October 23rd 4:00-7:30 pm
Saturday, November 10th 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
@ the SAI Studio

After you’ve gathered enough information to start making real choices about where you’d like to apply, the next major step is to form and edit your portfolio so that it meets all of the specific requirements many schools request (for example, RISD requires every portfolio include a drawing of a bicycle). We delved more deeply into the portfolio process in last week’s post, but we all know that it takes a great deal of time and effort, so it is imperative to take advantage of as many studio opportunities as possible. These two open studio dates are designed to help students round out their portfolios in preparation for applications but also for National Portfolio Day, perhaps the most important yearly event for students applying to art school.

*Please sign up in advance if you plan to attend either open studio by emailing Dianne ( – Saturday open studio MUST have at least 3 people signed up by November 5th in order for the studio to stay open.

4. National Portfolio Day

Saturday, January 12th, 2013
Cornish College of the Arts
Main Campus Center
1000 Lenora Street
Seattle, WA 98121
Check in @ 10:00 am
Portfolio reviews from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Save time by printing and completing the registration form before you get there (available at the website listed below).


National Portfolio Day (often referred to as NPD) is, as I mentioned above, perhaps the most important yearly event for students applying to art school. Unless you are able to travel the country interviewing at various colleges, NPD is often your only chance to physically meet with representatives from the schools you’re applying to. An interview, though it might only last a few minutes, can drastically enhance your paper/digital application. Reviewers are extremely knowledgeable about what their schools are looking for, and often have exciting or interesting insight as to how your portfolio might change or grow to better serve your application. Some schools even “pass” your portfolios right then and there. NPD is all about feedback, learning where you’ll fit best, and networking. Some reviewers might feel that your portfolio doesn’t meet all of their specific criteria, but you might meet a successful designer who lives in your city, or make a wonderful impression on a recruiter for a top-choice school.

SAI Students waiting outside at NPD 2007

The other thing to know about NPD is that it’s competitive. Thousands of people show up before the doors open and they are all equally eager to be first in line. Some lines pile up faster than others. RISD and SAIC, for example, often have lines that wrap around the room and out into the hallway. You might be waiting in them for hours, and, because of this, it’s important to make a game plan about which colleges to visit before you go. Don’t plan on visiting ten popular schools all in one day. Pick two or three big name schools, and balance them out with smaller, perhaps lesser-known or specialized schools. Small schools often have extra time to give more detailed feedback, and their reviewers are almost never alumni from the Seattle area, but rather actual employees of the school that might eventually end up judging your official application. Both kinds of interviews give you important information, and it’s good to receive a mix of both.

All of this might sound a bit intimidating, but don’t let it scare you! As someone who’s been through the entire process I can tell you, NPD is the most exciting day of your art school application process! It is incredibly inspiring to see so much art and so many people who are actively engaged in the same creative process as you are, and it is totally gratifying to hear industry professionals praise the portfolio you have poured hours and hours of work into. Sure, not everybody is going to love everything you’ve done all the time, but those situations are the ones that help you eliminate schools that might not be the right fit for you in the long run. As NPD draws closer, we will post a more detailed description of what to expect and how to prepare; for now, focus on learning as much as possible about the schools that will offer you the most.

Talk to you next week!



4 Comments Leave your own

  1. Karina 2:18 am on October 16, 2012

    As some of you may have heard, Carnegie Mellon’s School of Fine Art–and only their School of Fine Art–requires an in-person interview as part of their application process. I talked with one of Carnegie’s admissions counselors and they said an interviews is set up(in locations not on their website list, such as Washington) through finding their list of Washington alumni on their website. After selecting a few names, call the school and they will give you the alumni’s contact info so that you may directly set up a time and place with the person of your choice. Once I find the link to the alumni list I will try to remember to post it here.
    Hope this helps someone in some way, Karina

  2. Emma 11:07 am on October 16, 2012

    Thanks for that info Karina! If anyone else has any helpful tips, feel free to share!

  3. Alana Roecker 11:37 am on October 24, 2012

    I went to the Visual and Performing Arts college fair last night and it was fabulous! I feel like I got some great advice from some of the representatives.
    Can’t wait for NPD!!


  4. Karina 2:15 am on October 25, 2012

    Here is another tip for those considering applying to Carnegie Mellon:
    Through the Common App(the online application used by many colleges including Carnegie Mellon), applicants are required to submit a 500word or less essay which is non-college specific. Then, as a supplement for Carnegie, applicants must also submit a one page essay specific to Carnegie.
    Here is the prompt for that one-page(single-spaced) essay:
    Please submit a one-page, single-spaced essay that explains why you have chosen Carnegie Mellon and your particular major(s), department(s) or program(s). This essay should include the reasons why you’ve chosen the major(s), any goals or relevant work plans and information you would like us to know. If you are applying to more than one college or program, please mention each college or program you are applying to. Because our admission committees review applicants by college and programs, your essay can impact our final decision. Please do not exceed one page for this essay.

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