Portfolio and Audition Requirements

Submit your work for admission.

While a portfolio isn't required for admission to Columbia College Chicago, keep in mind that submitting a portfolio makes you eligible for talent-based scholarships! You can submit either a digital portfolio or a video audition by January 15, 2019, for consideration.

Here’s how to submit your digital portfolio or video audition. 

After submitting your application, send us your work via the submission link in the “Portfolio” section of your status page.

And if you applied through the Common Application? You’ll receive an email with instructions to log in to your status page within 24 hours of submission.

What should I submit?

Submit work that adheres to the guidelines for your intended major or field of study. Work in other disciplines will not be considered for the award. You can find detailed guidelines by major below.

Still undecided about your intended major?

You may choose to submit your work under any of the major-specific guidelines listed; please note you can only select one.

Submission Guidelines by Program of Interest

Acoustics

Submit two essays, one on each of the following topics:

“The origin and nature of my interest and personal engagement with audio, and/or music technology and/or acoustics.” Don’t tell us about audio, tell us about yourself. (Two pages maximum.)

“The importance of sonic environment to human health, safety, well-being, civic engagement, and artistic performance. (Five pages maximum.)

Acting
1. Submit a full resume of theatrical history including name of show, role played, and venue.
2. Submit a video audition of two monologues. The monologues should contrast each other. Each monologue should be between 60 and 90 seconds, and the total video run time should be no more than three minutes. Video must be recorded in a well-lit environment with high-quality sound.
Advertising

The following requirements pertain to the Art Direction, Copywriting, and Strategy concentrations within the Advertising BA program.

Identify what you consider to be the most effective or least effective advertising or PR campaign presently running on any platform, and explain your reasons for making your choice in an essay of 300-400 words.

American Sign Language - English Interpretation

Submit a three- to five-minute documentary-style video of yourself involved in a service learning project related to ASL/Deaf Studies. It can range from community-based to linguistic-based activism. Please present either in ASL or spoken English. If speaking, please provide closed captioning.

Animation (Computer or Traditional)

1. Write a brief (approximately 500 words) personal reflection essay on your creative process and the work you’ve made so far, whether in film, writing, visual arts, or other areas of creative endeavor. We are most interested in your creative processes, your ideas, and your insights about your own work. In addition, write about your goals, what you hope to learn in school, and how you envision applying that to your future work or career.

Suggested essay topics: Share with us what you are happy with in your creative work, and acknowledge areas that need further development. If you write about specific projects, be sure to explain your role in any collaborative project and your insights into the processes that made the collaboration possible. Additionally, if your work is derived from another source, please take the time to help us understand what unique or new perspective you bring to the project.

2. All students must submit one portfolio piece (either a short film or video no more than a total of seven minutes, a script, or three to five photographs/drawings) that provides additional perspective on your essay, either by supplementing or illustrating your reflection.

Application Programming, Game Programming
  1. Submit three to five examples of work you’ve created, and a document with a reflection on your submissions, experience, and process. Recommended work examples: Program code or parts of programs. It is recommended that comments on purpose of the application and programming-related decisions within the code are included.
  2. Reflect briefly on the work you are submitting in approximately 250 words. We are most interested in your creative process, your ideas, and insights about your own work as well as your current skills and interests.
Art History

Submit 5-10 pages of nonfiction writing samples, such as research papers or class papers.

Audio Design and Production

Write an essay, no longer than two pages in length, on “the origin and nature of my interest and personal engagement with audio, and/or music technology, and/or acoustics.” Don’t tell us about audio, tell us about yourself.

 

In addition, provide a list of live sound reinforcement or installation projects you’ve participated in, identifying and describing key challenges you faced.

Comedy Writing and Performance
  1. Submit a full resume of theatrical history including name of show, role played, and venue.
  2. Submit a video audition of a 60- to 90-second comedic performance of original or existing material and/or up to five pages of comedy writing.
Creative Writing, Fiction
Submit up to 10 pages of fiction writing such as a short story, scene, or chapter from a novel. Subject material may be realistic, dreamlike, or a combination of the two. Pages should be double-spaced and in 12-point font.
Creative Writing, Nonfiction
Submit 5-10 pages of creative nonfiction writing in the form of a personal essay, a part of a longer memoir, or any series or sequence of work.
Creative Writing, Poetry

Submit 10 typed pages of poetry. A poem may be longer than one page; however, please do not put more than one poem on each page. Total submission should equal 10 pages.

Communication
Write a 300–400 word essay on why you are inspired to be a Communication major.
Dance
  1. Submit a video of a two- to five-minute solo dance piece that you choreographed. Your dance should demonstrate your artistry and inventiveness in this art form.
  2. Submit any additional video samples that show range and variety in your dance interests and abilities. Note that total viewing time cannot exceed 10 minutes.
  3. Submit a brief essay of approximately 100 words describing the visual examples submitted and how they relate to your future development as a Dance major at Columbia.
Deaf Studies
Submit a three- to five-minute documentary-style video of yourself involved in a service learning project related to ASL/Deaf Studies. It can range from community-based to linguistic-based activism. Please present either in ASL or spoken English. If speaking, please provide closed captioning.
English
Submit a sample of literary or rhetorical analysis (approximately 1200-1500 words) on a passage or text of your choice, demonstrating your potential to succeed in the English BA program.
Fashion Studies

The following requirements pertain to the Merchandising and Product Development concentrations within the Fashion Studies BA program.

Submit a digital portfolio in PDF format of no more than 10 annotated images that demonstrate how you like to engage with fashion as an industry or a creative practice. In the notations, please explain what you hope we will understand about your interests or practice from considering each image.

You are welcome to include a variety of media and subjects in the imagery, and are invited to showcase your process of engagement—that is, how you engage in research and investigation, ideation, development, and getting the word out about your work—in addition to the final product of engagement. The images could include drawings, styling, visual merchandising, product curation, fashion writing, color study work, materials investigation, 2D and 3D design development, construction, illustrations, sketches, paintings, digital media (including website development, photography, or fashion shows), and garments.

In reviewing your portfolio, we value originality, creativity, critical thinking, articulacy about your industry or creative practice engagement, and the demonstration of a clear design aesthetic or consumer target.

Filmmaking
1. Write a brief (approximately 500 words) personal reflection essay on your creative process and the work you’ve made so far, whether in film, writing, visual arts, or other areas of creative endeavor. We are most interested in your creative processes, your ideas, and your insights about your own work. In addition, discuss your goals, what you hope to learn in film school, and how you envision applying that to your future work or career.

Suggested essay topics: Share with us what you are happy with in your creative work, and acknowledge areas that need further development. If you write about specific projects, be sure to explain your role in any collaborative project and your insights into the processes that made the collaboration possible. Additionally, if your work is derived from another source, please take the time to help us understand what unique or new perspective you bring to the project.

2. Submit one portfolio piece (either a short film or video (seven minutes maximum), a short script (20 pages maximum), or 8-10 photographs/drawings) that provides additional perspective on your essay, either by supplementing or illustrating your reflection.
Fine Arts
Submit 10-15 images of representative creative work that incorporates a variety of media and subjects. Samples may include drawings, prints, paintings, digital media, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, furniture, and 3D objects. Whenever possible, it is suggested that drawing and painting work samples should demonstrate observation from life or imagination, rather than from photographs. Special emphasis should be given to work that reflects the candidate’s imagination and a consistent, original vision or independent project. Please include a brief description of materials and dimensions of your work.
Game Art

Submit three to five examples of work you’ve created, and a document with a reflection on your submissions, experience, and process. 

Recommended work examples:

  • Multiple images of one 2D game character, organic, or environmental object in 3D-view (front, side, rear) and perspective angle
  • Images or video of one 3D textured mesh and the wireframe of one of the following: biped character, complex prop, or environmental object (JPG, PNG, AVi, MOV; no model files)

Reflect briefly on the work you are submitting in approximately 250 words. We are most interested in your creative process and your ideas and insights about your own work as well as your current skills and interests.

Game Design, Sound Design

Submit three to five examples of work you’ve created, and a document with a reflection on your submissions, experience, and process.

Recommended work examples:

  • 10 to 15 quality recordings of sound effects with proper editing and processing applied. Each recording may be up to 10 seconds in length and should be in a common file format
  • Any Modified Game (MOD) with original sound effects and/or music by the candidate. Each MOD may be up to one minute in length

Reflect briefly on the work you are submitting in approximately 250 words. We are most interested in your creative process and your ideas and insights about your own work as well as your current skills and interests.

Game Design, Game Development

Submit three to five examples of work you’ve created, and a document with a reflection on your submissions, experience, and process. 

Recommended work examples:

  • One written draft treatment of an original game idea in a format of your choice (e.g., storyboard, flowchart, et cetera)
  • Images, screenshots, or video of one original game presented in the format of your choice (e.g., 2D, 3D, mobile, desktop, physical, card, et cetera). Scale of the game does not matter

Reflect briefly on the work you are submitting in approximately 250 words. We are most interested in your creative process and your ideas and insights about your own work as well as your current skills and interests.

Graphic Design

The following requirements pertain to the Publication Design and Web Design concentrations within the Graphic Design BA program.

Submit 10-15 images of representative creative work that showcase your interest and skills in design through typography, applied drawing, information design, branding identity, web graphics, packaging, advertising design, and publication design. Work submitted may include drawings, digital, web, motion graphics, and experimental design. Your work samples may represent classroom assignments as well as independent projects. Please include a brief description of materials and dimensions of your work.

Illustration
Submit 10-15 images of your best work in a variety of media and subjects that may include drawings, prints, digital, web, and motion graphics. Work samples should represent classroom assignments as well as independent projects. Whenever possible, work samples should demonstrate drawing from life or imagination, rather than from photographs. Please be sure to include dimensions of your work and a one- to three-sentence description for each image.
Interaction Design

The following requirements pertain to the User Experience, Graphic Design, Smart Interfaces, and Web and Mobile Development concentrations within the Interaction Design BA program.

Submit three to five examples of work you’ve created, plus a document focused on a reflection on your submissions, experience, and process.

Recommended work examples:
  • Sketches, wireframes, or prototype images of a project in development that clearly show your process and work methodology
  • Interactive online work (screenshot, URL, title, and a brief description of the work)
Reflect briefly on the work you are submitting in approximately 250 words. We are most interested in your creative process, your ideas and insights about your own work, plus your current skills and interests.
Interdisciplinary Documentary

Write a 200- to 300-word self-assessment on why you are inspired to be an Interdisciplinary Documentary major. Choose from one of the following categories:

Filmmaking: Submit one portfolio piece (either a short film or video no more than a total of seven minutes, a script, or three to five photographs/drawings) that provides additional perspective on your essay, either by supplementing or illustrating your reflection.

Creative Writing Nonfiction: Submit 5-10 pages of creative nonfiction writing in the form of a personal essay, a part of a longer memoir, or any series or sequence of work.

Journalism: Submit copies of up to five newspaper clips, five yearbook stories, or one multimedia piece (up to five minutes in length). We are most interested in seeing the work you’ve done as a journalist. Include a brief assessment of your work.

Photography: Submit 12 photographic images of your best original work. Images should come from one or two photographic projects that demonstrate your skills and interests in photography.

Radio: Submit 7-10 audio samples (up to two minutes long) and/or written creative samples of your work.

Television: Submit a two- to three-minute video or an original television series script.

Interior Architecture
Submit 10-15 images of your best creative work that evidences your abilities and interest, particularly in interior spaces; please be sure to include dimensions of your work and a short description for each image. You are invited to submit past projects or images that you have collected, showing evidence of thought regarding spaces, human interactions, materials, graphics/signage, furniture, lighting, etc. If you have worked on interior projects in the past, please include images of perspectives, drawings/sketches, and examples of materials.
Journalism (All Programs)

These requirements pertain to the following degree programs: Journalism BA (Broadcast: Radio; Broadcast: Television; Magazine; News and Features; and Sports concentrations) and Photojournalism BA.

  1. Write a 200- to 300-word self assessment on why you are inspired to be a journalist.
  2. Submit copies of up to five newspaper clips, five yearbook stories, or one multimedia piece (up to five minutes in length). We are most interested in seeing the work you’ve done as a journalist. Include a brief assessment of your work.
Live and Installed Sound

Write an essay, no longer than two pages, on “the origin and nature of my interest and personal engagement with audio, and/or music technology and/or acoustics.” Don’t tell us about audio, tell us about yourself.

In addition, provide a list of live sound reinforcement or installation projects you’ve participated in, identifying and describing key challenges you faced.

Management/Business and Entrepreneurship

These requirements pertain to the following degree programs within the Business and Entrepreneurship Department: Arts Management; Creative Industries, Arts Management; Performing Arts, Arts Managment; Visual Arts, Arts Management; Film Business, Design Management; Music Business: Artist Management; Music Business: Live and Touring; and Music Business: Recorded Music and Publishing. 

Submit an essay of approximately 500 words describing why you would like to study business, entrepreneurship, and management practices in the arts, entertainment, and media fields.

Please be sure to address the following:
  • Which major/area of concentration in the Business and Entrepreneurship Department appeals to you and why?
  • How will an education in the Business and Entrepreneurship Department help you to achieve your career goals?
  • How is digital technology (including social media) impacting the arts and entertainment industries? Please be sure to focus on your major or concentration.
  • Optional: Submit any additional work samples, such as business plans and/or examples of experiences, entrepreneurship, and management in the arts and entertainment fields. You may also feel free to submit a resume that illustrates your experiences.
Marketing

The following requirements pertain to the Digital Media, Entertainment Industry, and Sports Management concentrations within the Marketing BA program.

Submit an essay of approximately 500 words describing why you would like to study business, entrepreneurship, sports, and management practices in the arts, entertainment, and media fields.

Please be sure to address the following:
  • Which major/area of concentration in the Business and Entrepreneurship Department appeals to you and why?
  • How will an education in the Business and Entrepreneurship Department help you to achieve your career goals?
  • How is digital technology (including social media) impacting the arts and entertainment industries? Please be sure to focus on your major or concentration.
  • Optional: Submit any additional work samples, such as business plans and/or examples of experiences, entrepreneurship, and management in the arts and entertainment fields. You may also feel free to submit a resume that illustrates your experiences.
Music

1. Main Requirements

Submit videos of two pieces of your choice (written by composers other than yourself) that best showcase your abilities in your primary performance area(s), whether this be instrument, voice, or computer. At least one of your selections should reflect the contemporary music focus of the department, which includes a wide range of popular and contemporary music genres. The two pieces should be in contrasting styles or tempos and should represent your intended specialization.

Optional: In addition, you may also submit one recording or performance of original work that demonstrates your personal style and technical ability.

2. Additional Requirements

Singer-songwriters must also submit a recording or video performance of an original production, song, or composition.

Composers must present two samples of their own original compositions, demonstrating work in varying styles and/or instrumentations as well as provide a copy of scores and/or recordings (both, if possible; however, scores are encouraged). Handwritten scores and MIDI realizations are acceptable.

Producers must present two creative samples in varying styles and techniques, produced using any of the available software tools (for example, computer-based DAWs, such as ProTools, Cubase, Logic, Ableton Live, MAX, or Supercollider).

3. Resume Requirement

All students must submit a brief musical resume, listing experience in musical settings. This resume can include private lessons; school, church, and community ensembles; recordings; professional work; and other relevant formal or informal study and performance experiences.

Music Technology
The following requirements pertain to the Interactive Music Design, Electroacoustic Composition, Harware and Physical Design, Perception and Timbre, and Programming Audio concentrations within the Music Technology BS program.

Submit three examples of work, which address at least two of the following categories:

Audio
  • Submit a recording, video, or other documentation of audio production/post-production work, and include a brief description of your role(s) in the work.
  • Provide a list of live sound reinforcement or installation projects you’ve participated in, identifying and describing key challenges you faced.

 

Interactive
  • Online media and/or interactive online work may be submitted. Upload a screenshot, specify the URL and title, and add a brief description of the work and its relationship to interactive art and/or media.
  • Include original short video or film related to interactive media (up to 10 minutes in length).

 

Music

  • Submit videos of performance of two pieces of your choice, written by composers other than yourself, and in contrasting styles or tempos.
  • Submit a recording or performance of original work that demonstrates your personal style and technical ability.
  • Submit two samples of your original compositions demonstrating your work in varying styles and/or instrumentations; provide a copy of scores and/or recordings (both, if possible; however, scores are encouraged). Handwritten scores and MIDI realizations are acceptable.
  • Present two creative samples in varying styles and techniques, produced using any of the available software tools (for example, computer-based DAWs, such as ProTools, Cubase, Logic, Ableton Live, MAX, or Supercollider).
Musical Theatre
1. Submit a full resume of theatrical history including name of show, role played, and venue.
2. Submit a video audition of one contemporary/age-appropriate monologue. The monologue should be between 60 and 90 seconds.
3. Submit a video audition of two contrasting musical theatre song selections. Each song should be 16-32 bars in length and with accompaniment. Live accompaniment is preferred, but recorded tracks are also acceptable. An example of contrasting styles includes one ballad and an up-tempo or Golden Age and contemporary.
4. Submit a video dance audition of a 90-second solo that demonstrates skill level in ballet, jazz, and tap. If you do not have formal training in all three disciplines, please include your strong suits in dance.

Please note that the total video runtime should not exceed three minutes, and the video must be recorded in a well-lit environment with high-quality sound. Youtube links and .mov files are acceptable. Please state your name and the title of your piece with each submission.
Photography

These requirements pertain to the Commercial, Fashion Photography, and Fine Art concentrations within the Photography BA program.

Submit 15 photographic images of your best original work. Images should come from one or two photographic projects that demonstrate your skills and interests in photography.

Public Relations

Identify what you consider to be the most effective or least effective advertising or PR campaign presently running on any platform, and explain your reasons for making your choice in an essay of 300-400 words.

Radio

Submit four to five creative samples of your work.

Audio samples may include: digital audio of a feature story (news, sports or personal essay), a pubic service announcement, a commercial, play-by-play sports, a personal or institutional podcast, a promotional announcement, or other audio work. Each example should be no longer than two minutes in length. If the work is longer, include only the most significant portion(s).


Written samples may include: public service announcements, commercials, editorials, features (news, sports or personal essay written for audio presentation), audio drama scripts, or other writing samples related to audio, podcasts, or radio.

Social Media and Digital Strategy

Identify what you consider to be the role of social media (for example, by referencing Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or Snapchat) when it's used by businesses and organizations, as opposed to when social media is used by individual people.

Give examples and explain your reasons in an essay of 300-400 words.

Television
The following requirements pertain to the Writing and Producing, Production and Directing, Post-Production Effects, and Internet and Mobile Media concentrations within the Television BA program.

Submit one of the following two options as a sample of your work:
• Video two to three minutes in length
• Original television series script
Television Executive Producing and Entrepreneurship
Submit one of the following three options as a sample of your work:
• Video two to three minutes in length
• Original television series script
• An essay of approximately 500 words describing why you would like to study Television Executive Producing and Entrepreneurship
Theatre
The following requirements pertain to the Directing, Playwriting, and Stage Management concentrations within the Theatre BA program.

1. Submit a full resume of theatrical history including name of show, role played, and venue.
2. Submit a statement of goals you wish to achieve as a Theatre major.
Theatre Design and Theatre Technology
  1. Submit a full resume of theatrical history including name of show, position on the show, and venue.
  2. Submit any of the following examples (should be limited to four to six projects) with a written description of the process for each project, including your role in it:
  • Documentation of produced theatre productions or works in progress, either through photographs of the production or audio files
  • Examples of process for the designs, including scenic models and/or sketches, costume renderings, lighting sketches and plots, and audio files including any musical composition as well as effects and transitions, and paperwork for sound design
  • Examples of drawing, graphic, and drafting skills
  • Examples of construction skills in scenic carpentry, props, puppets, costumes, crafts, lighting, and sound
These examples of your creative work should document your work in the theater, but please feel free to include other creative works to further illustrate your artistic skills and interests.
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