Common Application Renaming “Art Supplement” to “Portfolio”

In 2012, SlideRoom formed an exclusive partnership for Common App schools to accept and evaluate “creative” materials. Over the last 3 years, we’ve facilitated review for millions of images, videos and other supplements used to demonstrate creative skill. We’ve also heard from many “non-artistic” departments looking to accept evidence of projects and work that would not normally be seen as “artistic.”

So, it’s significant that the Common App has just renamed the “Art Supplement” to the "Portfolio.”

While a name change may seem minor, it signals that schools are more widely embracing portfolios as a valuable way to identify the best applicants across all disciplines.

Applicants have all kinds of interesting projects like scientific experiments, case studies, robots, presentations, mobile apps, video blogs and more. Every field is creative, and seeing what applicants make provides an essential view into the various dimensions of an applicant.

Should your school expand to accept projects beyond the arts? Yes. We generally hear two concerns from schools when considering portfolios as a part of general admissions.

  1. How much time will it take for our school to review portfolios?
    Not much. MIT accepts portfolios from all disciplines during admissions. They review 20,000 applications a year and require only 3 minutes to review a portfolio for each application. You can read more here.

  2. Will portfolios exclude low-income applicants?
    We don’t think so. Tufts University asked applicants to submit a video as an optional supplement. They found that some of the best videos were created on smartphones. “It was the message that resonated, not the actual production of the piece.” Here’s why we think portfolios are important for low-income applicants.

We’re excited to see how schools will embrace this new opportunity. If you’d like to talk about how SlideRoom can help you accept and evaluate portfolios, contact us. To get started accepting portfolios, sign up here.

Read Next