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Design Department Admission

Applicants seeking admission to the Design 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 are also able to review your work online.

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, 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 your 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 design on its development.

National Portfolio Days in Your Area 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 be able to review your work and assist you with your application.

Review Online

We strongly encourage you to make every effort to present your portfolio in person. However, if distance prevents an in-person review, portfolios can be uploaded at You can represent your creative work through uploaded images, videos, audio, etc.

Transfer Students

Studio Art and Design credits completed at other colleges will be considered for transfer dependent upon review by the Design 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.  Transfer students are encouraged to submit a digital portfolio via slideroom, even if the review occurs in person.

Portfolio Guidelines

Your portfolio should contain from 10–20 works, all completed within the last 2 years:

  1. Present 5 to 7 drawings from observation. These works should be made from looking directly at the world, NOT from your imagination or copied from other artwork or photographs. Examples of this type of drawing include:
    • Figurative works
    • Portraiture
    • Still-lifes or drawings of objects
    • Cityscapes or Landscapes
  2. Present 5 to 7 pieces of art that are related to one another and form a cohesive body of work. You may use 2-D, 3-D or time based media. Ways in which the pieces might relate to one another include sub¬ject matter, media/materials (ie all paintings, all photography) or concept. If you do time-based or interactive media, you may present work on a DVD or via a URL to your website. Viewing time should not exceed 10 minutes. Printed images of your digital portfolio are helpful.
  3. Optional: you may include additional work that will reflect another view of your art work. Sketchbooks are highly recommended as well as work that shows risk, personal inquiry or unique process. Examples might include:

    • Documentation of an installation
    • Performance or fabricated object
    • Wild cards such as images/objects that are imperfect
    • Unfinished or Unresolved

Work that shows additional exploration of ideas or materials outside the classroom can also be included.

On-campus reviews can be scheduled most Mondays - Fridays from 9 – 4 p.m.
Call 800.726.ARTS to schedule your review.