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Core Design Program


Questions regarding the application process, portfolio or essay that are not answered here or in the other links under the Application tab, should be sent to Michelle Rasmussen.

Portfolio Questions

Q. Is wood grain considered a neutral?

  • A. Solid, basic colors make the best background. Ideally, the background should simply be an undefined space behind the artwork being

Q. Where can I purchase supplies to assemble my portfolio?

  • A.The Iowa State University Bookstore has portfolio building kits available for $19.99.

Q. What size are the pages in the portfolio?

  • A. The size of the pages is 19×25″. The bookstore will have these already cut to the proper size. Portfolio specifications can be found here.

Q. Are the pages of the portfolio bound to the portfolio cover or are they loose sheets?

  • A.Do not bind the pages to the portfolio cover! They must be loose.

Q. Do I need to follow the sample layouts, or may I create my own for each sheet?

  • A. You can create your own.

Q. Do I need to put page numbers on pages?

  • A. No.

Q. After an assignment (project) has been graded, can the project be changed for the portfolio?

  • A. Yes.

Q. May I make adjustments to drawings or models from our core projects before placing them in the portfolio?

  • A. Absolutely.

Q. If redoing a project for the portfolio, should it follow the same exact restrictions of the original project?

  • A.Yes.

Q. What type of documentation do I need for the mobile process book?

  • A.See instructions for the mobile process book here.

Q. Do the papers in DSN S 131 need to be matted to the board (glued, taped)?

  • A. 131 drawings need to be attached to the boards with tape or glue but do not need to be matted.

Q. Should I include actual work or photos from DSN S 131?

  • A. Actual work.

Q. Are landscape full-size DSN S 131 drawings going to be a problem?

  • A. No.

Q. Should I include every final from every project?

  • A. Requirements vary from project to project. See instructions here.

Q. On what type of paper should I print the photos?

  • A. While there is no paper requirement, a smooth, matte-finish photo paper is best.

Q. Do I need to list materials used in drawings? For example if I used graphite, charcoal, or pastels, or what type of paper I used?

  • A. No.

Q. What if part of the project that is required in the portfolio, my professor didn’t have us do it?

Q. Every section of DSN S 102 does projects differently. I don’t have certain pieces. What do I do?

Q. What if my professor had me complete a project in a different way than the project statement describes?

  • A. Submit the work you produced with explanatory notes.

Q. Will professors provide one on one portfolio help?

  • A. While they may give youtheir opinion, you should not expect them to help you build the portfolio.

Portfolio Review Questions

Q. How are portfolios reviewed?

  • A. Faculty members from the each of the programs you are interested in joining review each portfolio. Before reviewing they are provided with the learning outcomes for each project. Faculty who teach DSN S 102 or DSN S 131 do not review portfolios to prevent any bias.

Q. Who reviews portfolios?

  • A. Each department selects faculty to review portfolios for their program. Faculty that are teaching any of the core courses can not review portfolios.

Course Requirement Questions

Q. If I took DSN S 102 and DSN S 183 last year, will it hurt my chances of getting into my program?

  • A. No. Information for the required portfolio contents for students who took 102 before Fall 2017 can be found here. While this year’s essay prompts are keyed off of 183, the concepts are general enough that students who took 183 in previous years should be able to answer them as capably as students who are taking the course this year.

Q. What is a passing grade for class?

  • A.D- or better

Q. I took MATH 165 instead of MATH 145. How does this affect my application?

  • A.MATH 165 may be used instead of MATH 145 as it is a higher-level math course.

Q. How will my GPA be averaged between semesters?

  • A.Each program calculates GPAs differently. Click here for more information.

Q. What if I don’t meet one of the core requirements?

  • A. Please contact your adviser as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Essay Questions

Q. What are they looking for in the essay?

  • A. Reviewers will evaluate the essay based on a number of factors that may include ability to write standard English (mechanics), clarity of argument, appropriateness and specificity of examples used to support your argument, and quality of language (word choice, sentence structure, etc.).

Q. How many times may I take the essay?

  • A. Only once.

Admission Questions

Q. How are decisions toward acceptance made?

  • A. Each program has its own admission formula. Click here to see the formulas.

Q. If someone rejects their admission during the two weeks of time they get to decide, will their position be offered to the next in line later that semester?

  • A. Yes, as soon as someone rejects their offer, the next student on the list is called right away.

Q. Can I still enter into CRP if I don’t make it into any of my initial three choices?

  • A. While it is rare to not get into your top three choices, you can rank CRP fourth on your application. If you aren’t selected into your top three choices, you will be placed into CRP.

Q. If my plan B is civil engineering, how do I apply? Would I just be accepted?

  • A. There is not an application process for the College of Engineering. Talk to your adviser about your plan B.

Q. How do I accept an offer into a program?

  • A. Notifications will be sent via email and paper mail. Following receipt of the notification letter, you have two weeks to accept or reject the offer via email or phone.
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