Preparing and Submitting Required Design Materials

The School of Design is seeking a class of students with a wide range of backgrounds, creative talents and interests. In addition to high academic achievement, we have found that successful design students have a variety of qualifications that are expressed in several ways. To better understand your potential as a designer there are three components to the School’s application process that you are required to submit: 1) Video, 2) Portfolio of Creative Work, and 3) Essay. Together these components enable you to share your interests, your creative experiences and who you are personally.

Video, Creative Work (portfolio), and Essay Tips

You should begin thinking about your materials as early as possible. We advise you to consider them as a design problem: How can you best present yourself and your work? Select projects that show a range of media and subject matter, while still emphasizing your strongest work. Try to strike a balance between final work and process work (that is, work that leads to the final version.) Consider how your work may tell a story about your creative experiences.

1. Preparing your video

We want to learn more about you. Create a video that shows and tells us something about who you are and what you care about i.e. your passions, your interests outside of school, an experience that changed you, or other.


  • Keep the video authentic and real. You may use a handheld device—your phone for example—and there is no need for fancy editing.
  • Video should be 90 seconds or less—we will NOT review any videos over 90 seconds.
  • Video will be uploaded to SlideRoom as one of the slides.

2. Creative Work (Portfolio)

We acknowledge that some applicants may have a broad range of finished and process work that could potentially be shown in a portfolio. However, for this application we ask that you curate your work within no more than 18 "slides", a design challenge in itself. You may submit work that is 2-D, 3-D, or 4-D within a number of projects that you determine will suit your communication goals. In addition to your finished pieces, we are also interested in your creative process—whether it be in a sketchbook, journal, or notebook. Include at least one slide that shows us how you think and visualize ideas — be thoughtful to ensure that the image communicates key aspects of your process. You might need to compile sketches/ideas from multiple pages in your sketchbook to communicate this effectively.


  • You have up to 18 slides to submit samples of your work. Each can have an image or composite of images to that one slide. You can also create single slides in the PDF format, however, multiple page PDF files that are within a single slide will NOT be reviewed.
  • Digital files (videos, animations, Quicktime Movies, live digital sketches, etc.) should not exceed 2 minutes. If digital files exceed 2 minutes they will NOT be reviewed.
  • You may submit a 2-minute clip of a longer piece and tell us that it is an edited sample.
  • You are encouraged to include examples of drawings. Considering the limitations on the number of items you can upload to SlideRoom, when communicating drawings/sketches or a sketchbook, consider creative yet effective ways to meaningfully communicate content with a few images.
  • Projects should be varied while emphasizing your strongest work.
  • Acceptable works include, but are not limited to, 2-D and 3-D design, drawing, painting, mixed-media, sculpture, and still or animated digital representations.

For each piece you upload be sure to answer all the embedded SlideRoom information prompts including:

  • Was it a class or self-directed project?
    • If a class project, what was the prompt?
    • If a self-directed project, what inspired you?
  • Was it a team or individual project? If a team project, what did you do? 

3. Essay Question: (250-500 words)

Choose something in your neighborhood that requires a significant change. For example, this could be something that you and/or your neighbors find fault with, forces you to change your natural way of working or living, or an issue that just plain frustrates you because it could be better. This can be anything from an object, situation, process, or something that is an emergent issue. Provide a critique as well as your ideas for how design could be used to have a positive change or impact.

NOTE: The School of Design has a digital application process only. All applicants applying to our undergraduate program must provide digital materials that can be uploaded to the University’s secure SlideRoom portal. Physical portfolios (creative work) and in-person interviews are not an option. 

Important Dates to Remember:

Visit SlideRoom to submit your portfolio to the School of Design. SlideRoom will be accessible October 1st.

  • Early Decision applicants are to upload their required materials no later than 11:59PM on November 1st.
  • Regular decision and transfer applicants are to upload their required materials no later than 11:59PM on January 15th.