a year ago
Admissions Advice

Can portfolio be a "hook"?

Hi so I'm a rising sophomore and an international student who just raised my SAT from 1000 to 1270 superscore within one month. I know this score is ridiculous for Ivy league schools, but I am trying hard to raise my scores and I think I can raise it by 1400 or 1450. (please don't judge me by my SAT grades- I know it is super low, but I am working on it). My question is: can portfolio be a hook with my stats? Can it be help if I am declaring major when I'm applying for art major in universities such as Cornell and Yale even though I have slightly low score(let's say I got 1480 or 1500)// and Is my EC enough? If I raise my SAT score to 1480 or 1500, will I be "okay" for Ivy leagues as art major?

Anyway, my stats are:

-4.0UW GPA, 4.15 W GPA( my school can get until 4.0 GPA, so in transcript I get 4.0)

-will take 6 APs, 6 honors( 7 APs offered)


-Passion Project(volunteering local kids by a private art tutor, can't get paid since I'm international----will get rec letters from one of parents)

-possibly volunteering to local puiblic elementary school/preschool/art center, but not sure yet

-artwork got published, national top 10

-art commisioner(student government)

-NHS officer(I don't know what that means; please somebody explain to me)

-NAHS(National Art Honor Society) Historian(will be VP or president at junior/senior year)

-1st violin at a outside of school orchestra(quick question: should I continue?)

Thank you SO MUCH for reading until now!

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3 answers

a year ago[edited]


a year ago


To answer your question, an arts portfolio (I'm assuming you're referring to an arts portfolio as you're referring to your interests in pursuing art an Ivy school) can potentially enhance your application, but isn't necessarily a hook, perse.

An arts portfolio is generally high risk, high reward. Admissions officers only recommend submitting an arts portfolio ONLY if you have devoted a significant amount of time and commitment to a craft. So if you're one of the best in your country - you're ranked as one of the top 10 nationally which is good - it will likely benefit your application and increase your chances at admission.

That being said, you're still competing against some of the strongest artists in their respective fields which is something to think about before submitting an arts portfolio.

The drawback to submitting one is that if you submit a portfolio that isn't particularly stellar or worldly, it won't have much of an impact on a regular application. In fact, if it's anywhere below average - and below average among very talented applicants is still very, very good - it could potentially hurt your application.

It's difficult to stand out among other applicants when many of the applicants have devoted much of their time to their crafts so my advice to you is :

1) Work on being the best artist you can possibly be. Practice, be disciplined, work with other experts around you - think of working with local artists or art professors who can perhaps mentor you. Once you've mastered your craft, you're on your way to forming an excellent arts supplement.

2) Demonstrate breadth. Don't make your portfolio one-dimensional for consistency, experiment and submit artwork which would make you stand apart from other applicants. Admissions officers like to see your efforts in multiple areas in terms of your portfolio so if you're a painter, don't just do impressionist paintings, try pointillism, try more old-fashioned pieces and modernist approaches to your pieces. Take risks - but calculated ones.

3) Be critical. Have a handful of your most trusted mentors, friends, and/or family give their honest feedback on your portfolio but at the end of the day, you're the one putting it forward. Do you think it's the best portfolio you can possibly hand in? Does it demonstrate your full potential as an artist? Challenge yourself to do the best you can.

For further context, read this article that CollegeVine posted on art portfolios.


Hope this helps!

a year ago

A portfolio isn’t really a hook or ECs in almost all cases it is a requirement to submit a portfolio for any art related major. It can be a hook if you sell art have recognition etc but a portfolio by itself is never a hook


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