Show us your best work.

This is the time to brag. We encourage talented students like you to submit a digital portfolio or video audition, which could identify you as eligible for some of our talent-based scholarship programs.

If you're applying for Fall 2018, here's what you need to know:

  • For talent-based scholarship consideration, you must be admitted to the college and upload your work by January 15, 2018. Your cumulative high school or college grade point average must be 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).
  • All creative work samples must be submitted online.
  • We are interested in seeing your best overall creative work. This means that you can submit creative work related to a department or program different from the one you intend to study at Columbia.
  • You can submit your portfolio with your admission application, or after your application is complete.
  • See program-specific guidelines below.

Program-Specific Submission Guidelines

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 be contrasting to each other in genre and style. (For example if the first monologue is comic and contemporary, the second should be dramatic and classical. If the first monologue is comic and classical, the second should be dramatic and contemporary.) Each monologue should be between 60 and 90 seconds; total video running time no more than three minutes. Video must be recorded in a well-lit environment with high quality sound.
Advertising

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.

Advertising Art Direction

Submit 10-15 images of representative creative work samples including advertising campaigns, collateral marketing, point-of-purchase advertising, out-of-home advertising, guerilla marketing, or related ancillary new media. Work may also include drawings, prints, graphic design, and/or websites. Work samples may represent classroom assignments as well as independent projects. Please include a brief description of the goals of each project.

American Sign Language - English Interpretation

Submit a three- to five-minute “documentary” 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. All students must 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 exactly 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, 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 (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 and Materials Conservation

Art conservation is the application of the physical sciences (especially chemistry) to the materials in a piece of fine art to conserve and halt any further damage. It is essential that any treatment of art be completely reversible and, upon close inspection, distinguishable from the original artist's work.

In 500 words, please address the following: Aside from the respect due to the integrity of the work, why is reversibility essential to the conservation process?

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, 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 12 pages of fiction writing such as a short story, scene or chapter from a novel. Subject material may be either realistic or 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.

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.
Fashion Studies

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

  1. Submit an essay of approximately 500 words what you 1. love to do, 2. love to create, 3. hope to get out of your studies in Columbia College Chicago’s Fashion Studies Product Development or Merchandising concentration, and 4. where you see yourself in the fashion world after graduation.
  2. Optional: Submit 10-15 images of representative creative work in fashion that incorporate a variety of media and subjects and shows evidence of your process—from investigation, through development, and on to completion. Samples can include drawings, styling, product curation, fashion writing, color study work, materials investigation, 2-D and/or 3-D design development, construction, illustrations, sketches, paintings, digital media, and garments. We value originality, creativity, and a clear design aesthetic or consumer point of view.
Filmmaking
  1. All students must 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 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 exactly 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, script, or three to five 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 3-D 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 that reflects 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:

  • Submit multiple images of one 2-D game character, organic or environmental object in 3-D-view (front, side, rear) and perspective angle.
  • Submit images or video of one 3-D 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 (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.

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:

  • Submit 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 (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.

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:

  • Submit one written draft treatment of an original game idea in a format of your choice (i.e. storyboard, flowchart, etc).
  • Submit images, screenshots, or video of one original game presented in the format of your choice (i.e. 2-D, 3-D, mobile, desktop, physical, card, etc). Scale of the game does not matter.

Reflect briefly on the work you are submitting (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.

Graphic Design

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

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, and publication design. Work may be submitted of drawings, digital, web, motion graphics, and experimental design. 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

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:

  • Sketches, wireframes or prototype images of a project in development that clearly show your process and work methodology.
  • Interactive online work (screenshot, URI, title, and a brief description of the work).

Reflect briefly on the work you are submitting (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.

Interdisciplinary Documentary

Write a 200- to 300-word self-assessment on why you are inspired to be an Interdisciplinary Documentary major. Submit 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, 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) 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 reflects your abilities and interest, particularly in interior spaces. You are invited to submit past projects or images that you have collected that show evidence of thought regarding spaces, human interactions, materials, graphics/signage, furniture, lighting, etc. If you have done interior projects in the past, please include images of perspective, drawings and/or sketches and examples of materials. Please be sure to include dimensions of your work and a one- to three-sentence description for each image.
Journalism (All Programs)

These requirements pertain to the following degrees: Multimedia Journalism (Broadcast; Magazine; and News, Features, and Sports concentrations) and Multimedia Photojournalism.

  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 degrees within the Business and Entrepreneurship Department: Advanced Management, Arts Management, Arts Management: Film Business, Design Management, International Arts Management, Live and Performing Arts Management, Media Management, Music Business Management, Sports Management, and Visual Arts Management.

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 should also feel free to submit a resume that illustrates your experiences.

Marketing

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 should also feel free to submit a resume that illustrates your experiences.

Music

Please read carefully to determine what to submit based on your area of interest. These requirements pertain to the Composition; Contemporary, Urban, and Popular Music; Instrumental Performance; Jazz Studies; and Vocal Performance concentrations within the Music BA. 

1. 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) (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 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.
  • Producers must present two creative samples in varying styles and techniques, produced using any of the available software tools (for example, DAW, Ableton Live, MAX, etc.)

3. Résumé Requirement

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

Music Technology

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/postproduction 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 shown via the web. 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.
  • 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, DAW, Ableton Live, MAX, etc.)
Musical Theatre
  1. Submit a full resume of theatrical history including name of show, role played, and venue.
  2. Submit a video audition of two contrasting monologues. The monologues should be contrasting to each other in genre and style. (For example if the first monologue is comic and contemporary, the second should be dramatic and classical. If the first monologue is comic and classical, the second should be dramatic and contemporary.) Each monologue should be between 60 and 90 seconds; total video running time no more than three minutes. Video must be recorded in a well-lit environment with high quality sound.
  3. Submit a video audition of two contrasting songs, no more than 32 measures of each piece of music. One example of contrasting style of songs is a ballad and an up-tempo.
  4. Submit a video dance audition of a 90-second solo or production number dance performance.
Photography

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

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, 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.
Theatre
  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, role played, and venue.
  2. Submit any of the following:
  • Stage designs, including floor plan, light plots, or pictures of sets.
  • Up to 10 costume designs.
  • Prompt books or other materials that you helped create for various productions.
Please be sure to clearly explain your role in the creation of your work samples.
Theatre Directing
  1. Submit a full resume of theatrical history including name of show, role played, and venue.
  2. Submit up to three minutes of video or three photographs of a production/scene you have directed (if available), and submit a director’s notebook or a 100-word written response to a play you’ve read and why you would want to direct it.
Writing for Performance
Submit 10-12 pages of an original play in script form. Subject material may be either realistic or dreamlike, or a combination of the two. Work should be in playwriting format, typed, and in 12-point Courier font.