Some might call me neurotic. I call myself prepared. That is why, when I walked into the portfolio review at Dawson College this past Wednesday I had everything they asked me to bring, and more.
The letter I received which informed me I had actually been invited to have my portfolio evaluated said I should bring a pencil, an eraser and a sharpener. I brought six pencils three erasers and three sharpeners. It worked well for me, the person behind me had none, and I was able to help them out. The letter told us to bring a portfolio of approximately 25 pieces (they do not accept ONLY photocopies), a sketchbook, and to be prepared to write a statement of intent.
Did I mention I’m neurotic? I searched every design blog I could find, I googled every combination of design, school, portfolio, evaluation, application. I had masters students in fine arts review my portfolio. I designed and bound a book of my art photo shopped to be presentable with a personal brand and contact information, threw it out when someone made worthwhile suggestions about the content and diversity of my portfolio, had everything printed on card stock, cut and paste onto a prefab scrapbook with beautiful black pages, made sure every page of my 100 page sketch book was covered in art, rehearsed what I would say if I had to talk to teachers, what I would write, what questions might be asked. I’m only kind of ashamed to admit that I looked up every member of the department on the dawson website, linkedin and ratemyteacher… and now it’s over.
If you’re like me and you’re searching “Dawson College Graphic Design Portfolio Evaluation” over and over, hoping that a student will give potentials a heads up as to what they should expect… here you go.
There were 36 of us in a room, each at an over sized (but not huge) drafting desk. We were given a blank sheet of paper, a paper with three questions on it, and a yellow sheet of paper. First, we were given ten minutes to fill in the questionnaire.
1. What is Graphic Design.
2. What will you contribute to the program?
3. What do you hope to leave the program with?
Those were the questions. Next? Ten minutes for a drawing test.
Draw your hand. That’s it. Draw your hand.
As for the yellow sheet. Fill in your name. Below are two sections with a list of teachers names and a space for them to say a number out of ten that they awarded you for your portfolio, and then again for your drawing test.
Then the teachers told us to put our portfolios on the tables, and leave. Come back in an hour and a half and take your things home with you, we have another group to see this afternoon.
That was it.
D’you want to know the best part? Somehow, I ended up befriending a collection of girls, one from Montreal a quiet student, one from Montreal studying at McGill in Education and desperate to get into the graphic design program instead, another from France who came all the way from Toronto for the review. We went across the street to the mall, talking about how nervous we were, how we had expected some one on one, or to at least see our reviewers reactions as they rated our hard work… It was only after half of my spinach jugo juice, as we walked back into Dawson and decided to make a tour of the notorious 8th floor while talking about the drinks that we would go out and have together in September when we all got into the program that I looked into my bag and realized…. I had taken my timed drawing test, letter of intent and the yellow sheet that my potential teachers would use to mark my portfolio (which they had been doing for about an hour), in my bag. IDIOT.
I ran to the door, and handed my sheets over with apologies. Now it’s a waiting game.
I don’t think I’ll publish this until I hear back. Who knows, maybe these are trade secrets that would bar me from entry into the program that I could find nothing unofficial about before my own stressful application. More later on the intricacies of my portfolio creation, and why I have determined that graphic design is the only career for me!