Acceptance requirements create competition in College of Design

Ashley Green

Tensions are high in the College of Design, and students will soon submit the portfolios they’ve likely spent two semesters perfecting.

Architecture, landscape architecture, graphic design, industrial design, integrated studio arts and interior design are all majors within the College of Design that require the submission of an application and a portfolio for acceptance into the programs.

Each department has different requirements to be accepted, but to be considered for any of the six, students must have a 2.0 cumulative GPA and pass all core classes.

Individual departments use an admission formula, portfolios, core GPA and an essay to calculate a score. Architecture and interior design also take high school performance into consideration. 

Students create the work that will go into their portfolios during their time in DSN S 102, Design Studio I, and DSN S 131: Design Representation.

A portfolio should demonstrate what students learned in the core classes as well as show the quality of work and the thought and care with which it is presented, according to the Core Design Program website.

Students have specific guidelines to follow when putting their portfolios together. Kits are sold at the University Bookstore.

The portfolios should consist of 21 to 24 pages that students must attach their projects to with explanatory captions that will help reviewers understand the work. Because each portfolio is essentially the same, reviewers focus on the work included and how it is presented on each page.

The pressure of being accepted is accompanied by the possibility of not getting into one’s desired program.

Some programs are more difficult to get into than others, mainly because of the amount of students applying and the amount of seats available. As a result, students usually list backup options on their applications.

A select few students will not get into any of the programs because of the limited number of seats.

Sarah Benjamin, sophomore in pre-design, hopes to study industrial design in the fall, but has architecture and interior design listed as backup majors.

Benjamin hasn’t started her portfolio yet, but plans to dedicate an entire day to put it together. She’s more worried about putting her projects from DSN S 102 together because while her work from DSN S 131 will go straight into the portfolio, work from DSN S 102 is mostly photographs.

“The thing I’m worried about for 102 is sizes, like trying to make it look like one composition, getting all the pictures to flow really nicely on the page,” Benjamin said.

Tyler Vincent, who is also a sophomore in pre-design, listed his first choice as architecture. His backups are industrial design and graphic design.

Vincent wouldn’t be “surprised or let down” if he didn’t make it into the architecture program because his high school GPA and class standing were both on the lower side.

Vincent has spent about six hours putting his portfolio together. He added a variety of good assignments and not-so-good assignments because it’s important for reviewers to know what someone’s “bad stuff” looks like.

Benjamin said it would be beneficial for pre-design students in the future to “take pictures of their work as they’re doing process because process is very important.”

Benjamin also suggested starting portfolios ahead of time.

“I know some people who are basically done, and I’m super jealous,” Benjamin said. “That would be such a nice feeling right now.”