So, you’ve submitted your application, you’ve received a confirmation email and you’ve been assigned a date and time to have your portfolio reviewed. And you’re maybe a bit nervous. Or a lot nervous. Or terrified. Or excited. 

(if you can’t come in person, there are options to submit! check our website for details at

It’s really not as scary as you are making it out to be in your head. I think some of the fear comes from not knowing what to expect. So, let me tell you what to expect. When it’s your turn to have your portfolio reviewed, you will be taken to a class room where there will be about 12 other applicants who are just as nervous as you. You each get your own table – and you’ll have some time to lay out your work, open up your laptop etc – and there will be professors roaming around. Eventually you’ll talk to two of them, usually individually, for about 10 minutes each.

Remember, it is an assessment of your creative work – not an interview. Yes, of course they are going to talk to you, but it’s a conversation from one creative person to another. The faculty looking at your portfolio are artists and designers too. They are passionate about their work, and they are interested in hearing your about your ideas. Get comfortable talking about yourself and your work – it’s time to brag a bit! Be proud of your work, show who you are as a creative individual. Here are some things to think about: Why did you make this work? What inspired it? What is it about? Does it explore a theme/topic or have a message? Why did you include it in your portfolio? What are you interested in learning more about? What is your favorite work and why? What is your strongest work and why? Why are you applying for the program you’ve chosen? What do you hope to accomplish with your art/design? Why OCAD U? Are there themes that emerge in your work? Topics you often explore, or would like to explore?

Critiques of your work are always going to be challenging -but it’s how you improve as a creative individual. Having your work critiqued is a big part of a creative education, so get used to it. Remember it’s not meant to hurt your feelings or be a personal attack – it’s meant to make you think, question and see things from a new perspective. This will help you be better, and make better work. See it as an opportunity to grow.

Check out the first few minutes of the video below -it’s a couple years old, but gives a nice visual to what the reviews feel like/look like.