Archive for the ‘Admissions Content’ Category

Portfolio Preparation

Posted on: January 24th, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

Fine Art

Technical Skill and Experimentation:

Include your strongest work in your portfolio. Some variety of media helps by showing that you have explored more than one mode of working. But if you excel in a particular media or style, your portfolio should reflect this by including more of that work. It’s best to include both work from your art classes and work that you create independently. The more you practice and learn new skills, the more work you will have to choose from. So, if your portfolio consists primarily of drawing, consider experimenting with paint, collage or sculpture!

Direct Observation:

Fine artists and designers should include two or more realistic images created primarily from direct observation of real life. Examples include drawings and paintings in modes such as still life, figure study, landscapes, and interiors.

Works created by referring to photographs or one’s imagination are great too, but they don’t demonstrate your ability in direct observation.

Conceptual Skill:

Perhaps the most challenging skill to demonstrate is conveying ideas or emotions in your work. Creating a series of related works (as in an AP Art concentration) helps to develop this ability. Brainstorming, researching, and keeping a sketchbook are good methods of planning conceptual artwork. Writing and talking about your finished work is also an important skill for any visual art student or professional.


Photography portfolios can consist mostly or entirely of photographs. Keep in mind that the photography program at Watkins has an emphasis in conceptual work. While it’s great to build your skills by taking all kinds of photos, you want your portfolio to set you apart from the crowd and demonstrate your ability to convey an idea or an emotion through imagery. Photographers often work in series. A series consists of a group of photographs that are dealing with the same idea or subject matter in a few different ways. A series can also be narrative in nature by telling a story- whether it is abstract or straight forward.

Graphic Design

A graphic design portfolio should consist of mostly drawings, paintings, prints or other artworks (see the guidelines for “fine art” portfolios above). However, it’s a good idea to begin working with design skills too. Try some projects where you incorporate text and imagery into a finished piece. Some examples might include posters, album covers, and logo designs. Working by hand is a very important aspect of a graphic design portfolio.

If you have taken classes in design, you should include your best digital work. But don’t overlook the importance of drawing skills or the effectiveness of a medium like collage in creating graphic elements. If you have interest in illustration, consider making a series of images that tells a story.

Interior Design

Interior design portfolios can consist largely of fine art work (see the guidelines for “fine art” portfolios above). To help specialize your portfolio toward a major in interior design, add life drawings of interior spaces or architectural structures. Works that emphasize pattern, texture, mood, and color theory in either realistic or abstract compositions are great, too. Even photographs of a space you have designed or decorated could help convey your point of view and design sense.


Film portfolios usually consist of one or more short films, and sometimes include script samples, storyboards, or other supporting materials. When including group productions, make note of your specific role when making the film. Keep your film reel short- 5 to 8 minutes of video is plenty of time to showcase your best work. If your films are longer than that, it is best to combine short excerpts from several projects. Note that it is helpful to include full scenes in your reel so that your sense of storytelling is clearly represented.

Digital Portfolio

Your final portfolio will need to be in the form of digital images of your work, complete with information about each piece (that you will add to the “description” section when uploading your media to the online application).

Steps to documenting your work:documentation

  1. Use a camera of scanner to make digital images of your artwork. Frame your work to fill the photograph and use a plain white or black background when documenting Three-Dimensional work. Be sure that you make the photograph in a well-lit area. To ensure even lighting, photograph your work outside on an overcast day or in the shade. Use a tripod and set your work on an easel, chair or bench.
  2. If available, use photoshop or other imaging software to perform image corrections if necessary. But don’t change the colors or contrast of your actual pieces. Keep your documentation as true to the original pieces as possible.
  3. Keep a list of title, media, dimensions, and date of each piece in your portfolio.  Also, write a short description for each piece to help us better understand your pieces.


Portfolio Overview

Posted on: January 24th, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

portfolio3Each degree program gives you a choice of either submitting a portfolio of work or submitting specific art, design or film exercises. If you choose to submit a portfolio, it should reflect your individual style as well as your understanding of foundational skills.

Certain programs have a few specific requirements to be included in the portfolio.  Beyond that, the balance of your portfolio should include a variety of media and techniques demonstrating drawing ability, composition and color usage (for art or design degrees) or film-related work (for the film degree).  Examples of work created outside of class assignments that show more personal direction are also encouraged.  Please limit submissions to no more than 15 examples.

Watkins Admissions representatives and faculty will be happy to assist you in making final choices for your portfolio prior to submission and you are encouraged to meet with them during a National Portfolio Day or on your visit to the Watkins campus.

Your portfolio is the basis for which portfolio-based scholarships are awarded. NOTE: Digital portfolios are preferred. If submitting original material please be aware that although every precaution is taken to protect portfolios, the college cannot be responsible for loss or damage. Original work will be kept in the Admissions Office for three months after the semester to which you are applying. After that time the work will be discarded.

Contact Us

Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

Need Financial Aid assistance and counseling?
Contact us by email, phone or visit our office.


Director of Financial Aid

Regina Gilbert
(615) 277-7420


Coordinator of Financial Aid

Lyle Jones
(615) 277-7421

F/A Calculator

Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

Financial Aid Calculator – For Planning Purposes Only

The financial aid calculator can be used to determine potential aid options for which you qualify, based on the information you provide.  The aid information listed in this calculator is based on the prior year’s data and does not reflect the current levels of aid that we offer at Watkins.  It should be used for planning purposes only.

Any questions regarding the use of this tool should be addressed to

Use the Financial Aid Calculator

F/A Process

Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

How to Apply:

1. Apply for an FSA ID (formerly, FAFSA PIN)

    • If you are DEPENDENT- the student and the parent whose information is listed on the FAFSA will need a FSA ID. Note: only one parent whose information is listed on the FAFSA will need an FSA ID.
    • If you are INDEPENDENT- the student is required, spouse is optional)

2. COMPLETE the FAFSA online at . Completing the FAFSA online is safe, free and easy to do. If you need help filling out the FAFSA, be sure to read the “Help and Hints” located on the right side of any page you are entering information. Note: the “help and hints” changes depending on the question(s) you are being asked.

3. LIST our school code 031276

4. Be ADMITTED to an eligible undergraduate or graduate degree program

5. READ and RESPOND to all correspondence received from the Financial Aid Office. Sometimes, a student may be selected for a process called VERIFICATION (requires additional documentation – see verification section for more info. Work closely with the Financial Aid Office until you have satisfied all requirements.

6. WAIT for your Financial Aid Offer. This will list the student aid programs for which you and/or your family are eligible to use to assist in funding your educational goals at Watkins. Remember, the choice is yours and/or your family to decide which student aid programs you want to use for funding your education.

7. READ the Financial Aid Offer and all the information included to make sure you understand each program that is being offered.

8. ASK questions, if you don’t understand. We are here to help you understand the financial aid process.

9. SIGN and RETURN one copy of the Offer and all documents required for your student aid to be processed.

10. COMPLETE all required loan documents, online, if you and/or your family plan to utilize federal loans to help fund your education.



Your FAFSA may be selected for a process call “Verification” either randomly or due to conflicting data reported on your FAFSA. Students selected for verification will be sent a request and/or steps required to clear this process. It is very important for you to comply with this request immediately as this step will delay your financial aid processing.

Other requirements:

Loan ENTRANCE counseling is required for all first time borrowers of the student loan program. Its purpose is to inform students of their rights and responsibilities as borrowers of the federal loan program.

Loan EXIT counseling is required for student who graduate, transfer, withdraw, or drop below half-time status at the college. Its purpose is to inform students of their loan obligations and to provide information relevant to successful loan repayment.

Both ENTRANCE and EXIT Counseling are federal requirements.

To recap:

• Complete the FAFSA as soon as possible beginning OCTOBER 1st of each year that you want to be considered for student aid assistance.

• Respond to all requests for additional information as quickly as possible – especially if selected for Verification.

• Make sure you are accepted into the college as a degree seeking undergraduate or graduate student.

• Review your Award Offer letter and choose the aid programs you would like to utilize for the period of enrollment.

• Complete any additional requirements needed for certain aid programs, such as student and/or parent loans.

• Sign and return one copy of the Award Offer letter.

• ASK QUESTIONS! Contact the financial aid office if you need additional assistance or have special circumstances that may affect your eligibility or if you are unsure about any of the aid program requirements or the process.

Types of Aid

Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

Types of Student Aid Assistance Offered

Watkins offers aid assistance from the following programs listed below:

  • Federal Grants, Loans and Work Program:  PELL Grant, Supplemental Educations Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Federal Work-Study, Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans for undergraduate students and the Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
  • State Grant and Scholarship Programs: Available for eligible residents of TN. TN Student Assistance Awards (TSAA), Tennessee HOPE Scholarship, Aspire Award, HOPE Access Grant, HOPE Scholarship for Non-Traditional Students, HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant
  • Other State Grants and Scholarships Programs: requires additional information and/or application. Dual Enrollment and Helping Heroes Grants, Ned McWherter and Dependent Children Scholarships. Detailed information can be found at
  • Institutional Grant, Scholarship and Work Programs: Watkins Grants and various Institutional Merit and Departmental Scholarships and work-study
  • Other Aid Programs: Veterans Educational Benefits, Yellow Ribbon Matching, Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits and non-federal Private Alternative loans

Note: Certain Institutional scholarships and student employment require additional information and/or separate applications. Please contact the financial aid office at for more information.

Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation Programs

For complete information on HOPE and State grants and Loan programs offered, please visit

Helpful Links

Below is a list of helpful links that have been deemed safe and reliable websites for researching scholarship opportunities and to prevent you from becoming a victim of various scholarship scams.

Financial Aid Planning Tools

U.S. Armed Forces

Scholarship Search

State Higher Education Agencies


Veterans Affairs Education Benefits

The Veterans Affairs Education Benefits are coordinated with certifying officials in the Business Office.  Watkins degree programs are approved for veteran’s education  by the Tennessee State Approving Agency for the training of veterans and their eligible dependents. Watkins certifies enrollment and changes in enrollment of eligible students to the Veterans Administration (VA).  The process begins by completing and submitting an application online.  Go to, select “Educational Benefits”, click on “How to Apply for Benefits”.  The second stop is to apply for reimbursement.  For questions, call (888) 442-4551.  The VA will mail a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) disclosing the Chapter and level of benefits.  The Certifying Official requires a copy of the COE along with the Certificate of Other Colleges Attended form and the VA Enrollment Verification Form.  The forms allow Watkins to release student records for certification and are available in the Registrar’s Office.  It is mandatory for veterans to disclose all enrollments in other post-secondary institutions prior to the first semester of enrollment at Watkins.  Certification of enrollment is processed after the receipt of completed forms and after the college drop/add period ends.

Post 9/11 and Yellow Ribbon Program

Watkins offers Yellow Ribbon benefits to five qualified students annually on a first-come/first-served basis, either full-time or part-time.

Yellow Ribbon FAQ


Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

The Office of Financial Aid staff is committed to being courteous and professional while providing quality student aid services to students, families as well as the general public in an efficient way while remaining in compliance with established federal, state and institutional guidelines for various aid programs. Our goal is to assist students in funding their visual arts educational goals at Watkins.

Each year, approximately 75% of our students receive some type of funding from various student aid programs.

Students interested in applying for federal financial assistance must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at and list our school code 031276. (For Tennessee residents, the FAFSA is required in order to be considered for the TN HOPE Scholarships and the TN State Grant programs.) You must be admitted to the College in a degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate program, in good academic standing and meet all other general eligibility requirements for student financial assistance.

NOTE: Non-degree, special status and students who do not meet the eligibility and/or citizenship status on the FAFSA may not be eligible for federal student financial assistance. Please visit for additional eligibility information.

Once a valid and processed FAFSA is received, this information will be reviewed to determine if additional information and updates are required (a process called VERIFICATION). If no additional information or updates are required, the FAFSA will be used to determine a student’s eligibility for various aid programs. Your eligibility will depend on the following items:

  • Cost of attendance (COA)
  • Expected Family Contribution(EFC)
  • Year in school; and
  • Enrollment status ( i.e., full-time, quarter-time, etc.)

 For more information about the FAFSA and how the information is used to determine student aid eligibility, amounts and other detailed information, please visit


Financial Aid Deadlines

Semester Priority Late
Fall April 1 July 1
Spring April 1 October 1
Summer April 1 May 1


Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

We’re not hard to find – located just 3 miles from downtown Nashville or less than one mile off exit 85 of Interstate 65.

Plug us into your GPS and enjoy the ride or give us a call and we’ll be glad to direct you to our front door.


2298 Rosa L Parks Blvd

Nashville, TN 37228



Enjoy Nashville

Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by Steve Wilkison

Nashville has a lot to offer.  Here is a list of just a few favorites of the students, faculty, and staff to enjoy during your visit to Watkins!

Local Food:

Burger Up

Noshville Delicatessen

Baja Burrito

Nashville Farmer’s Market

Las Paletas


Five Points Pizza

For more, check out Nashville Originals, a list of locally owned and operated eateries.


Coffee Shops:

JJ’s Market & Cafe

Bongo Java and Bongo Java East

Dose Coffee & Tea

Portland Brew



See Art:

Frist Center for the Visual Arts

The Arcade (including WAG- Watkins Arcade Gallery, and Co-op- run by Watkins faculty)

Cheekwood Museum of Art

Fort Houston

Zeitgist Gallery

First Saturday of the Month – Art Crawl

Art and Invention Gallery


Historical Places:

Hatch Show Print

The Parthenon

Belle Meade Plantation

The Hermitage

Traveller’s Rest Plantation

Ryman Auditorium

Carnton Plantation


Live Music:


The End

Mercy Lounge

Cannery Ballroom

Robert’s Western World

The Basement

This music list could go on and on so check out the Nashville Scene’s Calendar to see what is going on during your visit.

For a walk (and a listen) through the history of country music, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum


Sports Nashville

Nashville Sounds

Tennessee Titans

Nashville Predators

Atlas Football Club (soccer)


Nashville With Children

Feed the ducks, check out vintage trains, and visit the food trucks at Centennial Park

Get creative at  ArtQuest at the Frist

Walk through the botanical gardens at Opryland Hotel

Catch a show at the Nashville Children’s Theater

Climb into tree houses at Cheekwood

Get wet and wild at Nashville Shores

Explore science and look at stars at the Adventure Science Center

Talk to the animals at the Nashville Zoo

Listen to a story during Nashville Main Library’s Story Time

Upcoming Events

Posted on: January 16th, 2014 by Steve Wilkison


Watkins Studio Experience

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Location: Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

Become a Watkins student for a day! You don’t have to imagine art school, with Watkins Studio Experience, you can immerse yourself in it right now. Tour the residence halls, dine in our cafe, relax in the library, speak with your future peers, take a class with our faculty, experiment with high-end equipment, and make work.


1:00 – 2:30pm – Experience Watkins
Join your student guides as they take you on a journey through a day in the life of a student at Watkins. Check out our student show and talk to students about their work, relax in the library as our library staff shows you the ropes, and visit some of our students in the residence halls to take a tour and eat some freshly baked cookies.

2:30 – 5pm – Experience the Studio
Time to create. See what being a Watkins student is all about by taking a class with our faculty.
Classes offered:

Students will create an image in response to a short piece of text, learning how to consume a piece of text and produce an illustration that compliments the written word. Basic drawing and collage materials will be provided.

Film Directing Workshop
Go behind the camera as you direct a scene. Use industry equipment and learn about crew positions as you experience what life is like on a film set.


As a Studio Experience participant, you will choose one of the above mentioned courses to take during your visit. The course lasts around 2 hours, and will give you a good idea of what being in a studio class at Watkins is like. You will be taught by our faculty and will be using the same equipment and facilities that our students enjoy on a daily basis.
Courses are for prospective students only. Family and other college decision helpers are welcome during other parts of the program. Workshops will finish at 5pm, and students can be picked up at that time.

Space is limited, and courses are filling up fast! Register today to reserve your spot.



Questions? Email