Recently, the first-ever virtual Sun City Portfolio & College Fair gave almost 200 high school students in the city a look at options to study art at various colleges and universities across the nation.
SISD assistant director of fine arts Candace Printz said the organizers collectively decided to offer the fair in the new virtual format to give the students the opportunity they deserve to explore colleges and universities.
“We decided to just move forward virtually and came up with a plan and as we continued to meet, it kept growing and growing,” Printz said.
The virtual event was conducted in partnership among the Socorro Independent School District, Ysleta Independent School District, El Paso Community College, and the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso held late last month.
Fine arts students from public and private schools in the area, who are interested in pursuing art at the post-secondary education level, were invited to the second annual art college fair.
Students were able to hear representatives from multiple art colleges discuss what they have to offer, participate in a Q&A with the colleges, attend workshops to prepare portfolios for review, and more.
Each college presented for 15 minutes and hit key points about their institutions including what degrees, scholarships and financial aid, and employment opportunities they offer.
Printz said it was a great way for students to customize their portfolios to prepare for the application process at the colleges they are interested in attending.
“I believed it was a good resource to get to know about each of the schools and just kind of see what their expectations were,” said Laura Rosiles, a senior at Pebble Hills High School. “I enjoyed it because it was very informative, and it also made me feel like a lot of these schools were more accessible.”
Students will start setting up interviews with prospective colleges as early as February so that they can present their portfolios.
EPCC professors created four videos to show students how to prepare for college interviews. They included information to teach them how to photograph their artwork, how to discuss their artwork, how to create a digital portfolio for their artwork, and interview etiquette.
The virtual format of the event allowed for many more colleges to participate and provided more opportunities for students to explore art studies at the post-secondary level.
“I attended this event because I am a junior and wanted to start exploring my different options and the different universities,” said Victoria Waters, an Eastlake High School student. “Having an event like this helps a lot to ease the anxiety of worrying about what college to go to and what to do next.”
Twenty-six colleges and universities presented at the event, including Carnegie Mellon University – School of Art, Washington University in St. Louis, and Rhode Island School of Design.
The Sun City Portfolio & College Fair officials are planning to stay connected with the students as they move along in their post-secondary education. They hope to invite those students back as guest speakers in future portfolio reviews and college fairs if they attend and graduate from any of the colleges and universities that they learned about in this year’s fair.
“We are doing these things to make our kids more successful,” Printz said. “We tried to do everything we could to prepare them as much as we could, and it turned out to be pretty successful, I think.”
College presentations and college interview etiquette videos by EPCC are available on the SISD Fine Arts YouTube Channel.