Freshman Admissions

Admission to the School of Art + Design is a two-part process: you must be accepted to the University of Illinois through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions application process and to the School of Art + Design through an online portfolio review. We encourage you to submit your application form and fees to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the same time you submit your portfolio to the School of Art + Design.

Office of Undergraduate Admissions Application

The University of Illinois application is completed online. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions evaluates your academic performance, test scores (ACT/SAT), and essays with the University requirements for admission to the School of Art + Design.

All freshman Art + Design students apply to one of the following majors in the College of Fine and Applied Arts: Art Education, Art and Art History, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Photography, Studio Art (BA), or Studio Art (BFA). Studio Art concentrations (general studio art, new media, painting, printmaking, and sculpture) are declared by March 1 in the first year of study. Undecided students apply to Art Undeclared. Art Undeclared students will declare their Art + Design major by December 1 of their first year of study. First-year coursework for all students will include courses in drawing, 2D, 3D, and 4D practices. 

Application Filing Period
September 1–January 5

Early Action Filing Period
September 1–November 15

Decision Dates

In order to allow you additional time to potentially retest and to provide a thorough holistic review during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are suspending the early action notification for the 2021 application cycle. All decisions will be released in mid-February. You can check your admission status in myIllini.

Inquiries regarding your admissions status should be directed to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The School of Art + Design will not be able to respond to admissions status questions.

International Students: Additional information can be found at Additional International Student Requirements.

School of Art + Design Portfolio Review Process

The second part of the application process involves submitting a portfolio of your creative work to the School of Art + Design.

Submit your digital portfolio using the School's Fall 2021 Freshman Portfolio Submission Form. If you encounter problems with the form or have questions, contact Mark Avery at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 217-333-6632.

  • Early Action Filing Period Portfolio Submission Deadline: November 15
  • Application Filing Period Portfolio Submission Deadline: January 5

The portfolio is a collection of your recent work that illustrates your ability for advanced study as an art and design practitioner, educator or historian. It should demonstrate your ability to create and communicate ideas visually using various mediums and technical processes. The portfolio should consist of 10 examples of your recent work. Examples of work could include drawings, paintings, ceramics, jewelry/metals, sculpture, textiles, photographs, digital artwork, designs (product and other objects), and video. Work illustrating proficiency in a variety of mediums is encouraged. Drawings from real life observation are preferable to those copied from photographs or other images. These drawings can be exploratory, i.e. spontaneous, or more finished.

Portfolio Submission Guidelines

  • Required: 10 JPEG images, where, ideally, the pixel dimensions are between 1000 and 1500 in either height or width. Individual image files should not exceed 500 KB. IMPORTANT: Check the image file property size (Right click > Properties in Windows, Control+click > Get Info in Mac), and, if necessary, use an image editor (e.g., Photoshop) to adjust the pixel dimensions and the final file size.
  • Optional: Enter up to 2 direct video links, using Vimeo or YouTube. Be aware, the admissions committee might not watch more than 1-2 minutes. Configure your submission appropriately (trailer, excerpt, etc.).
  • Optional: Enter a web address for your art work webpage.

Faculty in the School of Art + Design will evaluate the portfolio and the outcome will be forwarded to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, who will then contact you. All offers for a place in the School of Art + Design depend on you meeting the University's entrance requirements along with a positive assessment of your portfolio.

Optional Art and Art History Writing Sample: In addition to the portfolio submission, Art and Art History applicants may submit a writing sample using the School’s Fall 2021 Freshman Art and Art History Writing Sample Submission Form.  Submit an essay of approximately 750 to 1500 words written for an art history course or any other related social sciences or humanities course.  If you encounter a problem with the form or have questions, contact Mark Avery at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 217-333-6632. 

Helpful Links