National Portfolio Day is fast approaching – it is this upcoming Saturday, November 8th. Doors open at 11:45 and portfolio reviews happen from 12noon – 4pm. 

This event is an awesome opportunity to get feedback and advice from faculty about what is good, bad and ugly in your portfolio. They’ll give you tips and advice, let you know what to include more of and less off, and it’s a great practice review to learn how to talk about yourself and your work. For anyone who has been before, you know it’s a long day with line ups, but you probably also know it is really, really worth while.

For the gritty details and to see which other amazing art & design schools will also be there, visit our website

1. Come early (but not too early). People start lining up at 7am – this might be overkill, but the earlier you arrive the more opportunity to have your portfolio reviewed by a few schools. This is valuable advice from pros! We don’t recommend arriving any later than 1pm, you may not have time to get your portfolio reviewed. Once the doors open at 11:45am, students have to line up again for the school you want to see inside the building.

2. Bring a snack. You might be in line all day, and we want to get away from the whole “starving artist” myth anyways. Be smart, bring something to munch on.

3. Wear comfy shoes! We know, you’re coming to cool artsy OCAD U and you want us to see the unique individual that you art – but remember, you might be on your feet waiting in line and it’s concrete floors inside the school. You might consider sacrificing fashion for comforts sake. We won’t judge you based on your shoes, promise. Also dress for the weather – if you’re going to wait outside, be warm!

4. Bring a friend. If you have someone else who is coming, come together. You’ll have fun waiting in line, sharing and feedback and advice that you got. Don’t have a friend? Make one in line! Everyone at this event is a future artist or designer waiting to change the world.

5. Bring 10-15 pieces MAXIMUM. We see so many students on National Portfolio Day, and as a result you only have a short time, around 10 minutes, with each faculty. Yes, we want to see everything cool that you made, but don’t overwhelm us! Choose your best most recent work and sketchbook so that the faculty have time to really take in everything you are sharing and give valuable feedback.

6. Be confident. Remember, portfolio reviews are REVIEWS OF THE WORK, not interviews. Yes, the faculty will talk to you and ask you questions, but they want to know who you are as an artist, designer or maker. Be bold, share your thoughts and ideas, show them you are a creative thinker. Have a conversation from one creative person to another! Ask questions! These faculty have been in your shoes, they remember how hard sharing your work can be.

7. Be patient. We know, it’s a long day and there are lots of line ups and lots of waiting. Remember everyone is there for the same reason as you and we WANT to see everyone and all of your work. Our faculty are working as quickly as possible without sacrificing the overall experience, and so we appreciate your understanding and patience. Bring a book to read, a sketchbook to draw in or a fully charged phone loaded up with games to pass the time.

8. Get reviewed more than once! You might be at National Portfolio Day to see one school specifically – once you have seen that school, if you have no one else in mind, get in the next shortest line! These are all professionals from prestigious art and design schools from across North America – this is free advice from the pros! Get in the next shortest line, get reviewed by as many schools as possible. Some schools will have huge lines, others may be less well known in this region and won’t have as long to wait.

9. Be prepared. We hand out maps in line which tell you which school is in which room. There is always a mad rush to get in line for the school you want to see when we open the doors. Review the map and program and plan your route so that once the doors open you know where you are going. Also make sure you properly and clearly fill out the registration forms – this will allow the schools you are interested in hearing from get in touch with you.

10. Have fun! Thinking about pursuing a post-secondary education in art and design is exciting – be excited! Make connections! Enjoy talking about your work and sharing it with others – we always love to see what you’re making.

If you have any questions, get in touch with us!