NCAD Portfolio Review and Offer Process

Please find below a letter shared with us by NCAD on the upcoming Portfolio Process 2023

Dear Art Teacher 

As we approach the deadline for CAO application and portfolio submission I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the NCAD Portfolio Review process and update you on any changes. 

Portfolio Submission 

  • All NCAD First Year applicants to a studio programme must first apply through the CAO and submit a digital portfolio by the advertised deadline.  This year the portfolio submission deadline is Friday 10th February 2023.   The portfolio submission has been 100% digital since 2021. We have a lot of resources on preparing and submitting a digital portfolio, including a step by step video guide, at the following link

Portfolio Review

  • Once received all portfolio submissions are reviewed and scored for each of the applicant’s CAO course choices.   This portfolio review is conducted independently by two members of the teaching staff of the area that has been applied into.   The scores from both reviewers are averaged to give the final score.  

Before the review process commences a benchmarking process is carried out where sample portfolios are reviewed and scored as guidelines to the expected standard. Following completion of the portfolio review by the panels the portfolio scores are checked for consistency of marking standards across the different marking panels for each course instance. 

The Portfolio Review process is a big undertaking for the College, last year NCAD teaching staff conducted in excess of 4,200 individual portfolio reviews.   It is particularly important for the College as the portfolio score is used to allocate First Year places on studio programmes. NCAD does not add the portfolio score to the Leaving cert CAO points, offers are made to applicants who meet the minimum academic entry requirements based on a ranking of the portfolio score. 

Portfolio Review Result 

  • Following the completion of the Portfolio Review process the Admission Office will write to each applicant giving their portfolio score for each course application, we expect this email to go out in early April 2023. 

Applicants will be given their portfolio score as well as information on the cut-off points for offers last year.  They will not be given a conditional offer. Offers will be made through the CAO process in August. 

We have made this change in order to more effectively manage the place offer process.   A combination of an increase in the number of NCAD CAO entry routes (now 11) along with the increase in overall NCAD applications (+38%), NCAD preferences (+39%) and Portfolio submissions (+52%) since 2020 has made it very difficult to continue the practice of conditional offers in March/April.  Other factors such as the change to the Leaving Cert marking process arising out of Covid and NCAD joining the HEAR and DARE scheme have added further complexities to the practice of confirming conditional offers to applicants when we issue portfolio scores.  

In April applicants will have their portfolio score and information on the cut-off points for last year.  This will effectively put them in the same position as applicants to most other courses on the CAO.  

We are looking forward to receiving lots of portfolios from your students in the coming weeks and to welcoming many of them to NCAD in September. 

 Meanwhile I am always available to answer any questions you may have on the portfolio submission or the admissions process. If any of your students have questions now or at a later date they should contact the Admissions Office who are always happy to deal with any questions,

 Kind regards

 Cathy McCartney

Head of Student Services & Admissions / Admissions Officer

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