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Jamie J. (Int. School of Beijing, 2021) Cornell University


  • Cornell University - Art Education, Early Decision

  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) - Fine Arts, Early Action, SAIC Distinguished Scholar Scholarship $100,800

  • Parsons School of Design | New School - Fine Arts, Early Action, Merit Scholarship $64,000

1. How do you feel about your college acceptance? I am feeling overly excited and grateful about my college acceptances: acceptance to my ED school, and 0 rejections (100% acceptance) thus far! I have also received merit scholarship from all the art schools that I’ve applied to, which was very flattering though I didn’t end up taking their offers.

2. What was the most difficult aspect of your portfolio preparation? As someone who had a late start in art, in my sophomore year, I hadn’t yet accustomed myself to carrying out the whole art making process independently – from ideation to creation. I was more familiar with making art for a specific assignment or with teacher guidance. When I first faced the challenge of making my college art portfolio, I felt like I was at a loss given that I had to make an entire body of work while I was still grasping on how to create a single fine artwork. At the time, I was also unaware of the importance of an overarching theme, hence was particularly concerned about how to make my portfolio coherent as I didn’t think I had a unique art style.

3. When did you start the portfolio class, and how did you prepare your portfolio? I participated in ISA’s summer camp before my junior year. During this rather short period of time, I was able to complete 20 artworks, which ended up constituting my final portfolio (except for a few additions and adjustments). The very first step at the camp was brainstorming an overarching theme for my portfolio. This was essential as it what made my portfolio coherent and let my voice shine through. In the meantime, we busily proceeded with making our first few artworks. At the camp, time was divided up systematically and efficiently so that we could explore multiple aspects of art, eventually diversifying our portfolios in the terms of techniques and mediums. Each week had been dedicated to a specific field of art, accompanied by the guidance of proficient professors from the field. The spectrum ranged from traditional drawing and painting to mixed media and contemporary art. We also had a very professional director who assisted us through every process (during the entire camp period), from ideation to the practical creation of artworks. Yet, the degree of assistance was only to the extent of guidance where she would lead us to a certain direction of thinking, suggest a new perspective, or teach us new techniques, so that our portfolios remained unique and personalized. With such conduct of the camp’s curriculum, I was able to create a well-rounded, distinctive portfolio.

4. What is your favorite artwork that you made? My favorite artwork would be a video piece that I created during the week we investigated contemporary art. I creatively explored not only the visual aspect, but also the audio effects of my artwork. I particularly fancy this piece because it is both conceptually rich and visually and sensually interesting, and also because I never knew I could excel in such aspect of art. This piece was also one that attracted a lot of reviewers’ interest during portfolio reviews.

5. When choosing a college how did you decide on where to apply? My final destination that I’m heading to is Cornell University. A main reason for this decision is the inevitability coming from the fact that it was my ED school (hence a binding offer), but the mere application to Cornell for Early Decision reflects my preference and choice. Before submitting my college applications, I was conflicted on whether to apply to RISD (art school) or Cornell (university) as my ED school. I eventually decided to apply to Cornell because I did not want to give up academics for the pursuit of art. In a university, I would have a lot of opportunities to integrate my artistic and academic learning, thus also providing a lot of flexibility in my future career choice. However, one thing I had to put up with was that Cornell did not offer design courses, only a fine arts major, unlike in art schools where there are extremely diversified art courses. 6. Do you have any advice for the new portfolio students? I would say the most important thing in a portfolio is your voice, style, and identity over technical abilities. Though it is great to have outstanding drawing and painting skills, the conceptual depth of your works is what will really make you stand out. 7. Tell us your thoughts about the NYSA! Like explained above, my experience with NYSA was really pleasant and in fact life-changing. Without the help of NYSA, I wouldn’t have been able to pursue my application to any art majors. The camp not only helped me create my portfolio, but it also prepared me in every aspect of the college application (for art schools) such as the photographing of works, essay writing, art work descriptions etc. It even opened me up to several portfolio review opportunities which I would have not been able to participate in alone.

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