Countdown to Portfolio Day

It’s almost here– that day when art is sprawled on the floors to be dissected by college representatives from all over the country. Here is a grade-by-grade breakdown of how to prepare and what to expect.

Freshmen. Right now, your job is to get the fundamentals down. By next year you will start developing concept, and you will start producing work in your design program class. During this year’s portfolio day, however, seize the opportunity to get a good look at other students’ work, see what inspires you, and use that drive to produce some great summer sketchbook work. You will thank yourself later when you have a fat sketchbook and a new set of skills you gained in the process.

Sophomores. This will be your first year attending National Portfolio Day. Yes, it’s on a Saturday, and yes, you will have to carry your work around, but this is an opportunity not to be missed. Many college reps will priase your work because you are so young and have had so many opportunities at DASH. Though nice to hear, what you’re really looking for are the people who give you substantial critiques. Be prepared to hear about the importance of 1) sketchbooks 2) work from observation 3) work that is not a classroom assignment. Don’t shy away from lesser known schools, especially if the lines are shorter. At this point in your high school career, you’re looking for the most and the best feedback, so don’t worry about college shopping quite yet.

Juniors. By now you have a solid amount of strand work to back up your fine arts portfolio. Different schools will want different types of that work out of you, which is why research is key. Some schools, like Art Center, are narrowly focused in the sense that if you want to apply for Illustration, you should show purely illustrative work. Also make sure not to come with your entire film portfolio to a school that doesn’t offer film. Juniors don’t get nearly as much time to talk to the reps, so make sure you have a game plan about what colleges will be relevant for you to meet.

Seniors. Think of yourself on portfolio day like a salesperson– your product is you. This is your opportunity to show yourself, your concepts and your process all in one package. Make business cards to hand out to the reps, and remember that presentation counts. That means reprint any display boards that got ruined since you made them, mount work that needs to be mounted, and present yourself in a professional way. Don’t get lazy when it comes to emailing the reps to thank them the next day– your scholarship may depend on it.

2014 Resolution: Time Management

There are two nine-week periods left in this school year, and now is the time to bring back some good ol’ time management tips.

Remember your agenda? It’s true, by this time of year most of the pristine agendas from the beginning of the year are ripped, lost, or purposefully neglected. The fact remains, however, that keeping an agenda is the best way to organize and keep track of the assignments you need to complete. What that doesn’t mean is passively lamenting the loss of your DASH edition. Instead, use whatever works for you. Many students find reminder applications on their phones helpful, or even just the notepad feature. That way, you’ll always have your list handy.

Prioritize! By this time of year, you already know what classes give you the most struggle, and which come naturally. Make a note of that when deciding what to do first, and get the hardest projects out of the way so that the work you enjoy more comes as a reward after the tough stuff is over.

Don’t know it ’till you try it. Ten math problems? Looks like a walk in the park until you figure out that each problem requires three steps and a graph to go with it. The lesson here is that you should always start assignments as soon as you get them. Sure, time and priorities might lead you to finish them later, but you won’t know how long an assignment is really going to take you until you go through the actual motions of completing it. Better to find out you’ll need an hour the night before than realizing it’s too late the reading period on the morning it’s due.

Block your procrastination agents. You meant to do the homework twenty minutes ago, but you got caught on a Facebook feed that led to Instagram that led to…. If your favorite sites are getting the best of you, try finding a site blocker for your browser to keep you from accessing them for a couple of hours. Firefox has LeechBlock, and Chrome has StayFocused, two add-ons that will temporarily or permanently block websites to keep you on track. And while you’re at it, make sure to turn off your tv and phone when you need to concentrate. Any distraction is a reason to push work aside.

Go public for helpful accountability. By now you’ve probably recognized a few bad habits and some useful ideas to conquer obstacles for being more productive. The thing is, you’re way more likely to stick to goals and resolutions when other people around you know about them. Speak up and others will too. When people in your life are watching to see whether you stuck to your goal – there’s more incentive to keep it up. Being the only person holding yourself accountable makes it easier to slip up. So when the work is done and you’re back on your feed reading status updates – consider posting your own personal pat on the back: “Waited till finishing my project to catch up with FB. Feels great to get work done on time.”

January Feature Portfolio: Victoria Rose

VictoriaRose“Art is a natural process that defines the crystallization of physics and art in one. Creation parallels matter in my mind, both hemispheres as masculine and feminine, form and formlessness. My thoughts and ideologies weave throughout time and space from a viscous, univeral fabric into various medias and dimensions. The exploration of both natural and manmade structures are reflected in my work by finding new ways to defy boundaries and communicate even the less tangible aspects of our reality and perception.”

Click here to view Victoria’s portfolio.

Service Series: Breakthrough Miami

We all need to get our community service requirements in, and the sooner the better. Not to mention all the scholarship and extracurricular points that come with having those credentials on your college application. This Service Series is here to help inform you about the community service opportunities that DASH students have taken advantage of.


What you do: Teach a class of young students. Sometimes you are given pre-prepared lesson materials, but as you gain experience your coordinator will let you create a lesson on the topic of your choosing.

Where: Breakthrough campuses are located at five different sites: Ransom Everglades, Miami Country Day, Carrollton, Palmer Trinity and Cushman, and International Studies Charter High School

How often: Every other Saturday during the school year, and full-time during their summer program weeks.

Other: Breakthrough is relatively well known, and its reputation may help you get a job or an internship somewhere else. The work requires commitment and dedication, but Breakthrough itself may give you the opportunity to get a paid summer internship with them. One summer or even a school year teaching for them will get you above and beyond your Bright Futures community service requirements, and will be a great project to write about when it comes to describing your personal experiences to colleges.

Fun Rating: All the other teachers are Breakthrough are either in high school and in college, and tend to be friendly and outgoing. Think of it as summer camp– Breakthrough involves all sorts of spirit cheers and dances, as well as outdoor and indoor activities with the kids. Getting to know your students is a really rewarding experience, so if you’re a person who likes children, you will certainly enjoy working at Breakthrough.