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Portfolio Day 2012 – Finding the Right School For You

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  • Katie Culpepper
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Portfolio Day 2012 

So, you know you want to pursue art in college. It’s a big decision, and you’ve already hurdled one major challenge! But after you know what you want to do, how do you decide where to go? If you’re an Arkansas high school student, AETN Portfolio Day is here to help on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Rather than juggle college visits and scheduling meetings to present your portfolio to different arts departments, AETN Portfolio Day makes it possible for you to meet arts representatives from colleges from across Arkansas and beyond in one place. I know it was a great experience for me!

Right away, you can get in line for your top pick schools to see how your personalities mesh. (Check out the list of colleges and universities scheduled to attend below.) You’ll see who your art appeals to, how you can improve, and whose programs you like. The reps from different colleges can also give you more information about what scholarships are available, the best way to arrange a campus visit and much more. It’s a great opportunity!

When I went to Portfolio Day for the first time (at the beginning of my senior year in high school), I didn’t want to major in art, but I was interested in minoring in graphic design. Representatives were there from the school I thought I wanted to go – along with many others, including the college that eventually knocked my original pick out of the running!

That’s all to say that coming to Portfolio Day is a great way to gauge different universities’ programs, and really good way to test your work on a fresh audience. I found out that the mixed media pieces I worked on – which a lot of people I went to high school with didn’t get – really appealed to the different colleges’ representatives. Meanwhile, the line drawings that my friends had always liked growing up (of all of us, or different places we hung out, etc.) … not so much. Everyone was really nice about it, but basically, my drawings were only okay. But while they meant a lot to me and my friends, they weren’t very original or expressive.

And was actually a really good thing to hear. Because I had a chance to get a new, professional perspective on my artwork, I reevaluated my strengths and weaknesses. If I had decided to pursue an arts degree (I actually ended up majoring in business, minoring in Spanish and – later – working as a writer), I could have beefed up my portfolio and developed a better presentation for when I set up visits.

But what if you don’t necessarily know you want to study art in college, or you’re not a high school senior? That’s great, too.

Coming to Portfolio Day is a great way to dip your toe in the water and test out whether you think you’d like majoring or minoring in art. You can talk to the college representatives about their programs, find out how arts studies complement other degrees you might be considering, and, basically, learn whether or not any of that sounds good to you.  And if you’re not a senior, you can see what kind of pieces people respond to and tailor a knockout portfolio for next year.

So get those portfolios ready, and set out to see us soon! You’re welcome to come with your school group or, if your high school doesn’t plan to attend, to come visit us yourself. Portfolio Day 2012 will be held Saturday, Nov. 10, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at AETN Headquarters in Conway. If you have any questions, feel free to email Dan Koops (dkoops@aetn.org) or call 800.662.2306 and ask for the Marketing and Outreach Division.

Confirmed Colleges and Universities that will have representatives at Portfolio Day 2012 include:



Arkansas State University - Beebe

Arkansas Tech University


Harding University


Henderson State University

Hendrix College


Kansas City Art Institute

Lyon College


Memphis College of Art


New Design School in Fayetteville

Pulaski Technical College


Ouachita Baptist University

THEA Foundation


University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

University of Arkansas at Fort Smith


University of Arkansas at Little Rock


University of Central Arkansas


University of the Ozarks, Clarksville



Portfolio Day 2012 is made possible by a partnership with the Arkansas Art Educators and AETN.

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