Delicious Microwave Desserts You Can Make in a Mug

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Microwave-Desserts

Bakers and fans of homemade desserts have never had much to celebrate when living in the dorms. There’s no easy access to ovens, and dorms lack quality baking supplies. Plus, students have limited time — meaning fewer cookies, cakes, and brownies, except for the insipid stuff the cafeteria tries to pass off as homemade.

But we’re here to tell you that you can bake decadent desserts with just a few ingredients, a mug (or mason jar), and a microwave! Here are a few starter recipes to get you baking dorm room style!

 

smores-mug

Fire-Less S’mores in a Mug

Who needs a campfire when you’ve got a microwave in your dorm room? Make these super delicious throwback desserts in under five minutes. Bonus: no risk of dropping your marshmallow into an open flame or contaminating your cracker on a dirty rock.

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp. white flour
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ⅓ tsp. baking powder
  • 4 tbsp. milk
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 4-5 graham crackers, crushed
  • 3-4 chocolate squares (any type)
  • Handful of mini marshmallows

 

Directions:

  1. In a mug, stir flour, oil, baking powder, milk, sugar, and graham crackers until well mixed.
  2. Add chocolate squares to the center of the mixture and microwave in 30-second intervals until mostly melted.
  3. Top with mini marshmallows and microwave 10 to 20 seconds until melted.

 

mug

Instant Cinnamon Roll in a Mug

Who said dessert was just for after dinner? When we want a treat for breakfast, we make ourselves a huge, fluffy cinnamon roll just like our mom did for special occasions. But given just how easy it is to make these rolls in the microwave, we may have to make them every day of the week.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1-2 tbsp. of syrup (to taste)
  • Icing or frosting*

 

Directions:

  1. Mix everything together in a mug until the flour is not clumpy.
  2. Microwave for 2 minutes on high.
  3. Spoon or drizzle icing or frosting on top. Serve warm.

 

*Icing is also easy to make in your dorm! To make a cream cheese version perfect for cinnamon rolls, use 1 tbsp. cream cheese, 2 tbsp. powdered sugar, and 1 tsp. milk. Whisk all ingredients together with a fork in a small bowl and add to your roll!

 

berry-pie-mug-microwave

Pick-Your-Berry Pie in a Cup

It’s not exactly summer yet, but that doesn’t mean we’re not dreaming of summer desserts like our favorite berry-filled pies. Pick your favorite flavor (blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry are highly recommended) and experiment with this quick and easy recipe. Add a scoop of ice cream to make it even more satisfying.

 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup berries (your choice; if frozen, thaw)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp milk

 

Directions:

  1. Chop or mash berries and mix with powdered sugar at bottom of the mug.
  2. Mix all other ingredients in a small bowl. Add on top of berry mix.
  3. Microwave 1½ minutes.
  4. Allow 30 seconds to cool. Add ice cream to the top, or allow it to melt in to make it a cobbler!

10 Ways to Start the Spring Semester Off Right

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With just days to go until the start of a new semester, you’ve probably got success on your mind. Whether your last semester was the most amazing ever or a total flop, you can always improve. These 10 ways to start the Spring semester off right will get you that much closer to your goals.

 

1. Read the Recommended Material

We’re all guilty of ignoring that recommended reading list professors provide with their required books, but we’ve learned how helpful that extra text is, especially in a difficult course. Along with recommended material, don’t forget to study the syllabus as much as you would the textbook. It may be the most helpful reading you do all year.

 

2. Introduce Yourself to Your Professor (In Advance)

It doesn’t need to be awkward at all. Just a quick email stating who you are, your major, and your interest in the class can be a great way to get your foot in the door and keep communication lines open. And who knows how it may pay off in the long term. We’re thinking networking potential here!

 

3. Schedule in Dedicated Work/Study Time

All-nighters and cram sessions are like a right of passage for college students. However, it’s not what you should strive for. Staying productive can be done just by scheduling it like a work shift. Pick a low-stress day and build in an hour or two to get your week’s worth of homework done in advance.

 

4. Add a Break In There Too

For workaholics, scheduling study time isn’t a challenge at all. However, putting a break may be way harder. Off-time is a must to keeping your brain active and your stress low. Fill it with friends, meditation, naps, or a new activity.

 

5. Start Sleeping Now

Sleeping is necessary, but it’s so rarely gotten. If you’re not getting in at least seven hours consistently, it’s time to change up your habits. Get rid of your electronics from around your bed, purchase a white noise machine or noise canceling headphones, and set your alarm for the right time.

 

6. Download Productivity Apps

We’re in love with trusty Google Docs, but there are others out there totally worth downloading. Free favorites include Evernote, Any.do, Inky, and StayFocused which blocks out distractions on your app for a period of time.

 

7. Stock Up on Supplies

If you haven’t headed back yet, you still have time to get your office space set. Hit up office supplies stores to pick up the essentials like pens, pencils, folders, binders, and notepads. Luckily, much of this is on sale, given it’s tax season.

 

8. Dream Big With Proven Strategies

Keep your dreams where you can see them by creating a vision board, scheduling check-ins on your planner, and connecting with friends with similar plans in mind. Just be sure your goals follow the SMART rules: “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reachable, Time-Based.”   

 

9. Purchase Your Domain Name

Our world has gone online, which means it’s time to adapt. Online resumes, portfolios, and professional blogs are excellent ways to reach internships and future jobs. By starting now as an undergrad, you’ll be able to have loads of content for the future.

 

10. Redecorate Your Dorm Room

Stress doesn’t just disappear because you go on a small vacation. Sometimes it takes a cleansing action like redecorating your space. Move around furniture, change out your bedding, or hang meaningful pictures and art. You’ll feel more connected to the space you love to call home.

 

Healthy and Tasty Food to Keep in Your Dorm

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By now, you’re probably pretty sick of cafeteria food. And if you’re anything like us, you’re also frustrated about the lack of healthy options. Still, stocking up on organic, nutritious food isn’t a challenge if you know what to look for. These healthy, tasty items are perfect to keep in your dorm room and will help you stay on track with your fitness and wellness goals.

 

Fruits and Veggies:

You can’t go wrong with fruits and vegetables! While you will have to eat them fast before they expire, stock up on easy on-the-go standards like apples and bananas. If you have access to a mini-fridge, throw in some baby carrots, cucumbers, and celery (all which make excellent snack food).

 

No fridge? No problem! Buy canned versions, which are often just as healthy. Just be sure that the item is packed in water, not sugar or juice. There are also dried versions which last almost all year round.

 

Grains:

Whole grains are your best friend and key to living healthy. This means you should cut out less healthy grains like white bread and bagels. Instead, focus on filling items like wheat pasta, brown rice, and quinoa, which are easy to make with some boiling water and a can of organic sauce.

 

Since breakfast is when you get a good chunk of your grains, make some great choices like oatmeal (stay away from artificial versions), whole wheat cereal, and wheat bagel thins. Add a fruit to spice it up and keep it within your calorie zone.

 

Dairy:

Dairy is the toughest of the food groups to stash in your dorm room, especially if you don’t have a fridge. But the vitamins and nutrition that comes from it are essential to filling you up and keeping you on your toes. So how can you make it work?

 

One option is to try non-dairy milks. Soy milk, for example, is sold in canisters and can be kept for a long period of time (please note that soy milk must be refrigerated after opening, so buy the smallest version you need). You can also get dairy from pudding cups, hot chocolate, and breakfast bars.

 

Protein:

Vegetarians, rejoice! You can get a great meal out of some easy, nonperishable items like dry packages of black beans, chickpeas, and pinto beans. Add in some nut protein for added oomph. Peanut butter is a college student’s favorite, but almond butter is healthier and takes out unnecessary sugars. Don’t forget about seeds too.

 

If you’re still looking for meat options, look for low sodium versions of high protein soups and stews and canned in water tuna, sardines, and clams. Organic or all-natural protein bars and shakes are also great alternatives when you need a quick punch of energy.

 

All-In-One

If your college student is looking to stay healthy but doesn’t have the money or time to go shopping, there are still ways to get them a head start on filling their mini pantry. Healthy care packages, such as the Healthy Blend, come straight to them in the mail.

 

Another option is to use online shopping services such as Amazon Pantry to be sure grocery deliveries come on time when you need it. With one day or same day delivery and loads of coupons out there, you don’t even need to make it to the store to stash healthy and tasty foods in your dorm.

Top Fitness Gear to Keep You Fit in College

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Fighting off the Freshman 15 or Sophomore 20 isn’t as easy as it looks. With unhealthy food choices, busy schedules, and high stress lifestyles, packing on the pounds can happen when we’re not careful. But you don’t have to give up if you’re too time strapped to get to the gym or new to the whole workout lifestyle. These 11 fitness must-haves are practically made for college students and dorm life.

 

FitBit

Long a must-wear device for techies and non-techies alike, the FitBit isn’t just a step counter anymore. The newest models connect to your phone so you can see your incoming messages while you run, swim, walk, and more.

 

Exercise Ball and Chair

Worried about your posture? The exercise ball will take care of building that core muscle. Replaces your ugly, uncomfortable desk chair with an ballance chair (a ball inside a chair frame), and you have a workout you don’t even think about.

 

Motivational Tanks

You may not be a fan of working out, but at least you can do it with a bit of snark, sass, and inspiration. We’re loving long tanks with thin straps and phrases such as “Namaste In Bed” or “Running for Donuts.”

 

Yoga Mat, Block, and Towel

Yoga is one of the easiest workouts to do in small spaces, and with so many free videos online, you can do it from your dorm with no problem. Just equip yourself with a high-quality mat, a foam block, and non-slip towel or blanket to complete your gear.

 

Water Bottle Pack

Runners, walkers, and bikers love moving around campus, but staying hydrated can be difficult. Instead of hitting the office buildings for a water break, strap on a water bottle pack. It hooks on like a belt and usually comes with added storage for keys, phone, and money.

 

The Perfect Shoe

We love our Asics, but the truth is that everyone’s foot is different. Instead of just picking the cheapest or most familiar brand, get yourself fitted at a shoe store to get a shoe that works best with how you walk, run, and/or jump.

 

Pull-Up Bar

A pull-up bar is a must-have for serious fitness gurus looking to build arm strength. Bonus reason to get one: you can install them in your dorm room without lugging around huge equipment or ruining your dorm’s paint.

 

Sweat-Wicking Leggings with Vents

Ladies need a pair of vented workout leggings. Whether with cut outs or translucent sections, it makes workouts so much more stylish. If possible, also strive for sweat-wicking material that keeps away smell and moisture.

 

Resistance Bands

Your body is amazing, especially when it comes to working out. Instead of spending a fortune on free weights, use your own weight and a few different styles and sizes of resistance bands to create a heck of a challenging workout.

 

Adjustable Dumbbell Set

If you love the feel of a weight in your hand, dumbbells that can be “programmed” with your desired weight make excellent space savers without compromising your workout. The alternative is to buy the weights you need as you progress so you’ll always be challenged.

 

Jump Counter

One of the top ways to get an amazing cardio workout in is to jump! Jumping rope doesn’t take much room or time, and you can purchase a digital jump counter that tracks your hops and double dutches without the whole rope thing getting your way.

How to Stay Motivated to Workout in the Winter

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Dark, cold weather isn’t exactly inspiring us to get off the couch. It certainly isn’t pushing us to go on our morning runs or weekly trip to the gym. Staying motivated to work out in the winter is tough, but it’s essential to keeping a healthy routine when others are packing on the pounds or hibernating for the season. These tips will help you move more, rest less, and get your sweat on like you would in warmer months.

 

Find a Workout Buddy

Working out can be lonely, and you’ll feel it even more with winter blues at an all-time high. Luckily, with so many people adding exercising more to their resolutions, you won’t have to look hard to find a partner to share gym time.

If you can’t find a close friend to do it, take this as an opportunity to expand your circle. Start a running group at your college or lead a unique workout class that others would want to take. Making like-minded friends is just one another way to help you guarantee you’ll meet your fitness goals.

 

Bring in the Sun

Part of the lack of motivation to move comes from a lack of light and heat in your home. Without it, you’ll feel tired more and will naturally want to spend more time lounging around under a blanket than going out in the elements.

To combat this, try to remember to open your windows during the day and position yourself nearest to the natural light as possible. UV lights can do the trick too. To amp up the temperature, you can wear more layers around the house or turn up the thermostat a few hours before heading to the gym.

 

Find the Right Playlist

We all love listening to softer, kinder music in the winter. But folk rock and light pop can be harmful when your body needs to feel the beat to get you into those sneakers.

When creating the right playlist for your workout, you don’t need to skim on your favorite lighter tunes. Make those your designated stretching, warm up, or cool down music. If you need help selecting your actual workout music, try apps and websites like TempoTap or SoundBPM so you can find songs to match your running pace or biking speed.

 

Try Something New

Sometimes our slumps are less weather related and more emotionally based. Doing the same workout over and over again can wear anyone out, especially when you’re already feeling a lack of motivation.

This is the perfect opportunity to buy some Groupon or deal website passes to try a new, interesting class. Take an aerial yoga instead of pilates or a flywheel class instead of a bike ride outside in the snow. There are so many opportunities to mix it up!

 

Upgrade Your Gear

Do you remember the feeling of getting new clothes for school and then wanting to wear them ASAP? The same concept goes for getting new running shoes or running tights. The newer the gear, the more likely you are to want to use them.

This isn’t an excuse to drop hundreds of dollars on workout clothes, but if you’re rocking tattered and torn t-shirts, you’ll need to invest anyways. If you’re into technology, trying purchasing used or looking for discounts on last year’s models of Fitbits, GPS watches, and workout headphones. Renewing your motivation is so worth it.

 

 

Unique College Winter Break Trips in the U.S.

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We’re loving winter break. The last few weeks have been spent filling up on mom’s food, avoiding the recommended reading for next semester, and catching up with old friends. But now, we’re getting a little restless and we’re thinking a winter break trip is a must-do to spend our last few weeks off. These unique college winter break trips in the US are on our destination wishlist.

Nature and the Great Outdoors

No winter break trip list is complete unless you mention skis and snowboards. The weather is perfect for it, even if you just plan on riding the ski lift and sipping hot chocolate in outdoor lounges.

 

Where you should go: When we think of snow, we think of Colorado. Denver is both affordable, easy to get around, and full of ski slopes. If you need more adventure and have the money to drop, trade in typical Colorado for Alaska wilderness. You’ll get to see the world famous dog mushing while skiing during a moderately busy season.

 

Beach Reading and Swimming Pools

On the other hand, this list would also be pretty empty if we didn’t talk about the warm weather and sandy beach options. Much of America isn’t quite ready for swims in the ocean, but you can still warm your toes, soak up some sun, and save big on off-season prices at a few US hotspots.

 

Where you should go: Florida is perfect this time of year, especially Miami and Daytona Beach. It may not be that hot, but it’s still warm enough to pull out the beach chair at a resort. California coastlines are equally great, albeit a bit chillier. If you can afford to fly, make your way to Puerto Rico. You won’t need a passport, but you’ll still get that tropical paradise feel.

 

Museum Tours and Cultural Events

Who says you can’t get a little education on your winter break? You can take your days off to see the sights and experience what a big city has to offer for you. Luckily for you, if you’re heading to some major cities, you can get good deals on winter tourist passes so you can see more than one sight at a time.

 

Where you should go: New York is always top of the list, but you shouldn’t forget about Chicago where they have the top ranked art museum in the world or Washington D.C. where you can visit multiple US history museums at zero cost all year round.

 

A La Carte Paradises and Road Trips

You can get all of this and more from beaches to culture to the outdoors and more. You just have to do a little work and think out of the box when you’re looking for the perfect winter break trip spot. By staying away from top tourist cities or busy resort locations, you can have a unique experience.

 

Where you should go: New Orleans will give you great weather, fantastic art and city legends, along with loads of opportunities to see wildlife or take authentic boat trips. Texas too has island life, cities full of museums, and spas for a great massage or facial. All of it is within reach with a short flight or an epic road trip.

 

 

#DORMGOALS 2016: The Best Dorms Out There

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Here at OCM, we know a thing or two about dorm rooms. So when we put out a call to see what our fans and readers were doing to transform their dorms, we were blown away by what you sent in! The #dormgoals submissions that came in gave us loads of style inspiration.

But with a $500 first prize on the line and two $150 OCM gift card and care packages for our runners up, the competition was on. Our Facebook page fans chose, and we couldn’t agree more with these fashion-forward winners!

 

Runner Up #1

Name: Katy (Instagram)

College: California State University San Marcos

Major: Human Development

Describe Your Dorm Style in 3 Words: Cozy, Lofty + Minimalistic

What’s Your Favorite Thing About Your Room?: “My photos! I love how unique they are. Photos of friends from back home, adventures I’ve taken, or things I’m passionate about.”

What helped her win:

Soft and romantic, we absolutely love how snuggly and warm her bedding looks. She perfectly blends light colors with dark accents along with different textures in her throw blankets. We also love the hanging dream catchers juxtaposed over the DIY lighting headboard. Falling asleep there is literally a dream.

How you can create this look:

We call this the “hotel look.” Add a dark with a light in a minimalist pattern to keep things simple, and focus on comfort. The Total Transition Pak bedding in Deep Pink and Black Lattice is a great example of how to add a dark and light together. The black and white bedding with pink pillow and sheet accents livens the room up but also creates a calm, centering space to come home to.

 

Runner Up #2

Name: Ken’Nia

College: Southern Connecticut State University

Major: Nursing

Describe Your Dorm Style in 3 Words: Cute, Glamorous, Fun

What’s Your Favorite Thing About Your Room?: “My bedding.”

What helped her win:

Boho is IN! Her bedding is in the mandala style that everyone is looking for these days and the peachy orange is gorgeously fun. But what we especially love is how she continues the theme in her wall decor and pillows. Sassy, hippy-chic, and stylish? We’re loving this.

How you can create this look:

Did we mention that boho style is blowing up right now? OCM has loads of options for the the summer music festival fan or the yoga fanatic. For example, mandala tapestries in navy, orange, and red add a major focal point for over the desk or bed. Keep the colors going with this dream catcher inspirational poster to keep you motivated on difficult days.

 

Grand Prize Winner

Name: Joseph (Instagram)

College: San Jose State University

Major: Public Relations

Describe Your Dorm Style in 3 Words: Aesthetics, Peaceful, Pride

What’s Your Favorite Thing About Your Room?: “My favorite thing about my room happens to be my desk! I love having small little decorations on my desk that I get as gifts. It really helps make my room feel like home.”

What helped him win:

There is nothing more Americana than a frat-themed dorm room! Joseph’s room practically radiates pride for his organization, Gamma Epsilon, and his alma mater in every single nook and cranny. But this dedication doesn’t go overboard. He manages to balance it so that it looks tidy, professional, and adult while still having his personality shine through on his shelves.

How you can create this look:

Joseph is right — it’s all about the desk! He focuses in on small decor choices that do not look like much alone but add up when combined together. Metal signs, such as this ode to New York subway lines, are a great example of small, but memorable ways of bringing home to your work space. But don’t forget about your school pride! A vintage sports poster featuring your school of choice will give your dorm Joseph’s winning style.

Achievable New Years Resolutions for Students

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A new year is FINALLY here! This means it’s time to both renew and refresh, as well as set goals for the next 365 days. Setting goals isn’t exactly easy, but if you understand how to make the right resolutions, you can go into the new year prepared to make just about anything happen. These four ideas are great starter resolutions for all college students to take on.

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Clean Up Our Mess

We’re guilty of having an unorganized, messy dorm room. Small space, hectic schedule — it happens to the best of us. Looking forward to a new year and new semester, I think we’re all promising to get our cleaning act together.

How to make it happen: Designate a cleaning day or time and put it on your schedule. The best goal-setters know that to make something happen, there has to be space or time to let it happen. Select a time that isn’t too busy or cluttered with your schedule (such as Sunday afternoon for laundry) and make a plan. One week could be to wash bedding and linens, and the next could be to clean floors or dust electronics.

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Get [X] Hours of Sleep Per Night

As a college student, sleep is so important. Experts in the area believe that between seven and eight hours is ideal for young adults. But with all-nighters, late night events, and morning classes, getting that perfect amount of sleep is nearly impossible unless you put out the effort. But the rewards are huge. You’ll feel more energetic, eat better, and perform well on tests. That’s so worth setting this resolution.

How to make it happen: The easiest way to go to bed on time is to set yourself up for success. Get rid of electronics, including your phone, in your bed space. Put your phone on silent or sleep mode for bedtime and ask your roommate to help you stick to quiet hours before bedtime. If you’re still having problems falling and staying asleep, purchase upgraded bed linens such as a mattress pad to help you make the perfect sleep space.

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Start Paying Down Student Loans Every Month

Making financial resolutions is pretty standard, even among college students. And while it’s true you should cut down on using credit cards or try to be more frugal when eating out with friends, as a college student, there are bigger fish to fry: your student loans. While you’re not required to pay down your student loans now, paying it off early, even if only a few bucks a month will save you big in the coming years when you’re on your own and responsible for rent and other bills.

How to make it happen: Learn everything about your student loans now. Your financial aid office is a great starting point to do your research on who your lender is, how much interest you’ll pay after the grace period, and what your payment post-graduation would be. Then, set up automatic payments around your pay days. You’ll never miss the money while still making a dent in your school debt.

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Achieve More, Stress Less

Whether you’re a freshman or a second year senior, we all make the mistake of trying to do too much in college. It’s so tempting to join every club, to attend all the seminars, and to network nightly. However, adding too much to your plate can even affect your grades or your attitude. It’s time to scale back and focus on what matters.

How to make it happen: Before you head back to school, check your schedule. Do you need to take on that third elective this semester? Can you go without that book club or extracurricular that isn’t making you happy? The answer may be hard to come to, but having a good heart-to-heart with yourself can help you see just how you want your next year to be: full of happiness, hope, and less stress.

Art School Portfolio Examples & Wise Advice

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While most prospective college students spend their time worrying about their admissions essays and interviews, students wishing to be admitted into a selective art program have a bit more to worry about. With most colleges requiring a professional portfolio, it’s hard to know where to start, what to include, and what format to make yours. These tips and examples can help you design an eye-catching, professional grade showcase of your work and talent.

What is an Artist Portfolio

A portfolio is essentially a resume for artists. Like a resume displays a person’s work history, a portfolio highlights an artist’s work and accomplishments. Colleges use portfolios to get an idea of a prospective student’s skills or specialties (such as figure drawing or digital design). Many colleges also require incoming students to submit a portfolio for scholarships and placement in courses.

What to Include in a Portfolio

This isn’t an easy question to answer as all schools are different. Some require students to only submit images of past work while others may require a portfolio to include drawing “tests.” These tests may be a subject or a figure that allows you to show creativity or a difficult skill.

Before you design your portfolio, print off the requirements of the colleges you plan on applying to. Don’t forget to apply to more than one just in case (even if that means more work for you). What you should look for in your requirements is form (digital or print), picture sizes, amount of images to include, type of image (hardcopy, sketch, etc.), and any of those tests we previously mentioned.

Whether you’re submitting your portfolio online or as hard copies, remember one big rule: formatting matters. You’ll want to assemble your pictures or selected work in a way that follows direction but that also shows a progression. Art school admissions officers love to see your work improve over time biographically or in a working order from concept to finished piece.

How to Write Artist Statements

While an admissions essay may not be required, an artist summary or statement may. Artist statements are typically a few paragraphs long and are meant to be an introduction to who you are and what your professional or future plans might be.

Include an introduction with your name, location, and high school/art school you have attended. In the second paragraph, talk about your skills, specialties, and interests. Finally, discuss what is in the portfolio. If you are asked to talk about one of the artist tests or required artwork, share about the process, why you made the artistic choices you did, and what techniques you incorporated.

Examples of Art School Portfolios

via Student Art Guide

This artist portfolio shows two different studies of the same topic. One one page, it highlights color, shading, highlighting, etc. The second page is a sketch, rather than a finished project. Sketchbooks like this are commonly required for painters or drawers.

Here is another way of laying out a portfolio in a way that shows off an artist’s abilities in two different areas — watercolor and portrait drawing. This format is both eye-catching and informative for the reviewer.

Fashion artists will often need a portfolio as well. With this area, you will need to “show your work.” This portfolio page includes concept, sketches, and then images of the real, finished product.

via Student Art Guide

 

If your area is in hard products such as sculpture or clay, clear and concise images are a must. Take pictures on a white and clean background so that the work pops. The highest quality pictures are one of the most important aspects of a portfolio no matter the medium.

 

Why You Should Take Creative Elective Courses in College

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When choosing your electives for the upcoming semester, it’s easy to pick ones that seem most relevant to your major, such as a business course for marketing majors or an animal biology class for chemists. However, at most colleges, you’re not stuck with just the courses most similar to your major. In fact, there are loads of creative elective course options in the fine arts (art, music, drama, etc.)  that are both relevant and useful. Need convincing? Here are 6 reasons why you should add art to your schedule.

1. You Need a Break

At some point, most college students suffer from some level of burnout. Focusing so much on one subject for too long might mean losing interest or focus. Taking a class that interests you (such as a beginner guitar course or a theater directing class) can help you stretch your mind and relax a bit — totally essential for just about every college student.

2. Classes Matter on a Resume

A common interview question for recent grads or interns-to-be is, “What was your favorite class in college?” Sure, you could answer that Accounting 101 course, but what will you have to say about that outside the basics you learned? If you had something more interesting and reflective to say, such as an art and literature course, you could show how well-rounded you are and how you have interests outside of your major. While you don’t want to overdo it, your elective choices show your personality.

3. Networking Outside Your Major Matters

Some top businesses were started because two like-minded individuals met in an important class and bonded over shared interests. While you may not be stumbling onto a huge business idea or find lifelong collaborators, knowing those outside your field can be useful down the line in case you change your career course or just to have a little insight into the world outside your future job. As an added bonus, a great elective professor can make a great recommender down the line.

4. Creative Courses are Relevant

There’s currently a big push towards science and business, especially in colleges. However, art has an important and valuable place as well. That is why many colleges are creating electives aimed at bridging fine arts and math, science, and business. These electives may include offerings such as “Music and Dance for Communications.” You’ll get a healthy dose of creative classes with lessons you can take away to your major. If your college doesn’t offer these, try to think about how a fine arts class could be relevant, such as a drawing class for a marketing and design major.

5. Add Soft Skills to Your Offerings

More important than classes made for non-fine arts majors are what you will get when you immerse yourself in creative fields. Today’s HR managers want to find someone who can think out of the box or who knows how to communicate and lead a wide variety of minds and skills. Music, theater, dance, and art can teach you virtues such as patience, creativity, and confidence.

6. Open Minds, Open Hearts Show the Way

Finally, electives in the arts are there to give you a chance to learn more about your world. A belly dance class can help you learn about Indian culture while learning a new instrument can teach you about the history of the 1800s through classical music. These experiences and lessons are priceless, even if you’re career-minded.

Opening yourself up to new courses can help you discover a part of yourself you may have forgotten in your textbooks and note taking. It can add valuable career skills, help you build relationships, and give you a new hobby to continue past graduation. Those reasons make creative electives entirely worth it.