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Admissions . Apply . Submitting Your Portfolio . Portfolio Checklist 

Portfolio checklist

A strong portfolio can position you for acceptance into an art and design school, and may qualify you for scholarships.

What to include in your portfolio

At CIA, our admissions committee will evaluate the work in your portfolio for:

  • technical abilities
  • conceptual problem-solving skills
  • how you use your chosen mediums

Your portfolio should be a selection of your best 12 to 20 pieces of art. Fewer than 12 doesn't allow you to show the breadth of your skills; more than 20 may dilute your overall portfolio submission.

Sketchbook pages are highly encouraged, as it allows us to see your thinking process.

Make an effort not to include work copied from photographs or other published work. We want to see how you think.

Preliminary portfolio review

We'd love to help you throughout the process, and invite you to upload work for a preliminary review. Our admissions counselors will get back to you with feedback to help you build your best portfolio for admission. 

And we encourage you to start your application, even if you're not ready to submit your portfolio. Starting an application early ensures you'll be considered for the maximum financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

Freshman student portfolio checklist

Transfer student portfolio checklist

These preferred elements are only for transfer students wishing to be placed in the sophomore year or beyond, and seeking studio art credit to replace freshman-level Foundation courses. 

As a transfer applicant, your 12 to 20 pieces should include the following elements:

  • 2-3 examples of 3D work
  • 2-3 examples of 2D work
  • 3-4 examples of digital work using Freehand, Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop
  • 4-6 examples of work pertaining to the major you wish to enter
  • Submit portfolio through the online application (recommended) or at

Prepare for college through CIA's Pre-College Program

Extend your learning and earn college credit this summer in CIA’s Pre-College program.

CIA student to take part in Mini SX emerging artist talk

January 27, 2021

CIA student to take part in Mini SX emerging artist talk