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Art Department Admission

Applicants seeking admission to the Fine Art Department must present a portfolio for review. You are encouraged to present your portfolio in person, either on campus during a scheduled review, or to the Cornish representative at any of the National Portfolio Days that Cornish attends.

We aim to attract enthusiastic and motivated students who have chosen to accept the challenge of working across different media and practices and have a strong desire to learn.

Your portfolio should be organized so that it presents a clear visual representation of your artistic development to date.  A range of formats is accepted including websites, moving image, performance, sound, 2D and 3D work.  We want to see examples of your writing, drawing, project work, sketchbooks and reflective journals or blogs.  It is important that you choose to bring what best represents you.  At the interview you will be asked to say something about your work, the thinking behind it, and the influence of contemporary art on its development.

National Portfolio Days

Cornish representatives travel annually to many of the National Portfolio Days.  This is a great opportunity to meet members of the Cornish community who will review your work and assist you with your application.

Review Online

If you would like to review online, please submit your portfolio on You can represent your creative work through uploaded images, videos, audio, and more.  You can even embed media from other sites into your portfolio.

Review in Person

If you are presenting your portfolio in person, original works are preferable. If your work is too large or fragile to transport, you may substitute reproductions of these pieces in a format of your choice. During your review, we may ask you to discuss the work you present, your experience in the arts, and your artistic goals, but we’re just as interested in who you are and why you think Cornish would be a good fit for you.

On campus review dates are available Monday - Friday, most days from 9 – 4 p.m.
Please call 800.726.ARTS to schedule an appointment.

Transfer Students

Studio Art credits completed at other colleges will be considered for transfer dependent upon review by the Fine Art Department. If your course work has covered visual arts concepts, materials or techniques which may not otherwise be apparent, include them with explanations and course descriptions for those classes. For advanced standing (sophomore or higher), your full portfolio should still not be more than 20 images, including examples of 2-D, 3-D, time-based, or digital work. Following an in-person review, transfer students are required to upload a digital portfolio at

General Tips

  • Don’t be over-selective. Be willing to show unfinished projects. We look for potential and take in to account what you have achieved so far.
  • Know your work. Be prepared to discuss the ideas that you’ve developed and which pieces you consider to be stronger, weaker and why.
  • Include a range of media. Show different approaches to making work that best demonstrates your creativity and ability to develop an idea.
  • Show visual evidence of skills. Present a range of work including finished projects alongside work in progress, which might include digital work, photography, paintings, drawings, three-dimensional work, print, storyboards, video, animations, zines, books, etc.
  • Demonstrate thinking and investigation. Include sketchbooks, notebooks, contact sheets or blogs to demonstrate how your research and explore process.
  • Documentation of large-scale work or performance. Any large scale, three-dimensional work or performance can be shown using photographs or video.
  • Make sure your work is organized. Sequence your work either chronologically or in thematic groupings.