SMFA Portfolio Review Day

On behalf of the Tufts Career Center and SMFA, you’re invited to the 2024 Portfolio Review Day & Celebration!

When:  Thursday, April 11, 2024
Where:  SMFA Anderson Auditorium, 230 Fenway
Who:  SMFA students (2nd-5th year BFA & combined degree students, SMFA graduate students)
What:  Sign up for 1 or 2 20-minute portfolio review (industry or fine arts) with a volunteer reviewer between 3 – 5 PM. Immediately following the event, please join us for a reception to continue networking with reviewers and to celebrate graduating students.
Why:  This is intended to be an experiential learning opportunity that will allow you to showcase your work and connect with fine arts and industry professionals.

Meet the Portfolio Reviewers & Sign Up for Reviews

FAQs for Students

Sign-ups open for 2nd-5th year BFA, combined degree and SMFA graduate students after spring break. At this time, students can sign up for two review appointments.

  • Please bring a digital portfolio of your work, not physical work.  This means that you should bring a fully charged laptop or tablet that is connected to the Tufts wi-fi (if needed) 
  • Ensure your “notifications” have been turned off on your device 
  • You can present your work in any format (PDF, PPT, Google Slides) or your website.  Just be sure it’s clear and the photos are high quality. 
  • If you’re showing work on your website, make sure each piece you want reviewed is already pulled up in your browser in separate tabs 
  • If you need your reviewer to hear sound (e.g., you’re showing a video clip), you should bring them a set of headphones 
  • You may want to bring a pen and paper to jot down notes 
  • You may want to bring a hard copy of your resume, especially if you’re participating in an industry review 
  • You could bring a physical or digital take-away for the reviewer to help the reviewer remember you (like a business card) 

Wear something that reflects the authentic you AND shows the reviewer that you’re there to make a positive impression. If you have any questions about this approach, contact

  • An “industry” portfolio will typically showcase 15-30 examples of work (fine arts will likely be less). But make sure that it is engaging from start to end. You don’t want to lose someone in the middle or get tired out by the end. There is a balance you are trying to achieve. This number is a range to get you started, and will depend on the individual, so you may have fewer, and that’s fine! Practice talking about your images so you have a better sense of how many you might be able to cover in the time allotted. 
  • Ensure you are using high quality photos/video 
  • Think about: What work best represents you? What work can you talk about most easily? 
  • Start with your most substantial work, and end with a memorable piece.
  • Don’t include work that may look dated or not up to par with the rest of your portfolio. You want the work to feel consistent and the best expression you can create.
  • Show an excellent breadth of work and curate your portfolio for the reviewer.
  • Provide context to your work and the role you played in its execution.  
  • Talk up any work that was a collaborative effort. It will demonstrate your ability to work in a team dynamic. 
  • Make sure your last slide has your contact information on it (email, Instagram, etc.) 

Tips courtesy of Greg Gorman, Senior Managing Photo Art Director at LL Bean

20 minutes will go by incredibly fast.  Our recommendation is to plan to present for about half of the allotted time.  It may look something like this: 

2 minutes: chit-chat.  Remember this is about building a professional connection and not just receiving feedback.  

8 minutes: Presentation of work. Make sure you’ve practiced this in advance! 

8 minutes: Listening & Conversation 

2 minutes: Wrap-up & Thank You. Is there a next step? Do you have a card?  Do you want them to follow you on Instagram?  Do you want to stay in touch? Think in advance about how you want to wrap up. And don’t underestimate the power of a genuine thank you!

You never know how the conversation will play out, and the reviewer may interrupt you with questions.  We think the above plan will help, and advise to be prepared for anything.  The important thing is to have a good conversation and walk away with a new connection. 

  • The SMFA career fellows will be devoting Wednesday Career Labs (12-4pm in the SMFA atrium) to portfolio prep. Stop by to meet with Aline or Sam, work on your portfolio, get feedback and practice talking about your work.
  • Katie Sullivan oversees the Arts, Communications & Media career community.  Katie is holding portfolio review 1:1 appointments leading up to the 4/12 event, which you can book directly in Handshake.  Please note that Katie will be providing general review and advice, not artistic critique.
  • Heather Bhandari ran a “Prep Your Portfolio” workshop for SMFA students in March. Email Katie at to receive the recording (highly recommended!) 
  • The biggest challenge with this format is the time constraint! 20 minutes will go by faster than you can imagine.  Practice ahead of time to ensure you have time to say what you want to say.  Record yourself, practice with a friend or SMFA faculty member. 
  • Review your reviewer’s bio and the company (if applicable) web site so that you can tailor your presentation to your reviewer. 

The reviewers want to get to know YOU and what makes you unique.  They’ll be most interested in your process, inspiration and intentions.  Here are some common questions you may be asked about your work: 

  • Background 
  • How did you make it? 
  • Materials/ size (if you don’t want to take time explaining this, include it in writing in the portfolio) 
  • Why? (Inspiration, influences) 
  • Is it an ongoing project? 
  • How would it be shown? 
  • What came before? 

Your reviewer might ask you to follow up with something like your personal statement or resume.  Ensure you get their contact info and follow up with what they asked for, along with a thank you email in a timely fashion. 

First, reflect on any challenges you’ve had in creating your portfolio. Which of your pieces feel like a ‘sure thing?’ Which are you less certain about? Your reviewer will be able to provide objective feedback on how your portfolio is coming across to your intended audience. Here are some questions to consider asking. Feel free to add your own

  • Do you have a clear sense of narrative from my portfolio, i.e., the story I’m trying to tell? 
  • What do you think about my piece selection? Are there any that feel like they don’t belong? Would you like to see more of a certain kind of piece? 
  • Related to above, how do you think I can improve the breadth or depth of work I show? 
  • My audience for this portfolio is likely to be [identify your target audience]. Do you think this selection of work will appeal to them?  
  • My goals for this portfolio are to show [explain your goals]. How successful have I been in meeting those goals? 
  • For industry reviews: Would you hire me based on this portfolio? And if not yet, what could I do to improve? 

Both are great opportunities to connect with people who can give you constructive feedback for your portfolio; however, the review board is an academic experience with internal reviewers. The portfolio review event will be an opportunity for you to showcase your work to the external, professional world and receive industry or fine-arts specific feedback. 

As a policy, we ask that students who are no longer able to meet for the Portfolio Review provide 24 hours’ notice when cancelling. This is as a courtesy to the reviewer and to other students who would be interested in filling the slot. If the event has started, we kindly ask that you keep your commitment as a representation of not only yourself, but the Tufts community. No-shows may result in repercussions, including sending an apology letter to the employer, meeting with a Career Center staff member to discuss next steps, or losing Handshake access.  Email Katie at if you need to cancel or reschedule.

YES! Ask for the reviewer’s business card/preferred email address at the conclusion of your conversation. The Career Center will also be sending reviewer contact information after the event. Shortly after your conversation (ideally within 24-48 hours), take the opportunity to thank the reviewer. Provide specifics from your discussion, e.g., “I appreciated your feedback about [specific item]. I plan to … [explain how you’ll follow up on the advice you received].” You can also consider staying in touch with your reviewer by giving a status update about how your portfolio has evolved since your initial conversation.

While not required, we highly recommend you submit your portfolio in advance so that your reviewer will have a better overall sense of you as an artist. You can include your portfolio link in the sign-up process. The information will not be sent to reviewers until Monday, April 8th (so you still have some time to work on it!). Questions?  Email Katie at

It’s okay! Your reviewer can view your work in PowerPoint, Google slides, or whatever format you feel comfortable using. Just be sure you’re utilizing high quality photos/videos!

Website platforms depend on personal taste, what you want to showcase/ pay, and comfort with technology. Which artist websites do you most admire, and which platforms do they use?  Common options among SMFA students are:

The review sessions are 20 minutes, and about half of that time should be used for presenting your work. You only need a few documented pieces that you can talk about (with high quality images or video) and some time to practice in advance. Nervous? Email who can help you get started.