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During National Portfolio Day at Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts, 260 students showed up with work in hand.

Only one came wearing a significant part of her portfolio. Sophie Hamilton, of Duvall, arrived with a faux-fur-lined wagon filled with a painting, a sculpture and a sword. But her attire was an original creation of her birth sign — Capricorn. It took a few months to create the headdress. Her armor is of sculpted and painted clay. Her long, blonde wig is professional quality, adorned with blinking LED lights from a craft store. The horns and seashells atop Sophie’s head are hard to miss. Thirty-two schools from across the country and Canada staffed tables giving each student about 15 minutes to state their case, show work, make an impression and discuss their goals. Critiques were free. From Rhode Island School of Design in Providence to the San Francisco Art Institute, schools are looking for potential and to give feedback. Jesse Damazo with CalArts, a recruiter at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, says, “we are looking for evidence of a distinct personal vision and the creative and conceptual skill set to express that vision.” Rosemary Jones with Cornish says, “They want students to show their best work and where they’re going with their work — have a piece that shows potential.” Laptop in hand, Tay Aras showed original industrial designs. One could be called a modern compass pointing people to their destination. It has a slick, futuristic design. He also showed his take on hiking boots with a personal flourish. Sophie’s interest is in theater arts, including costume and production design. The 17-year-old says, “I had a lot of fun wearing it and some really enjoyed it.” She displayed the Capricorn traits of determination and ambition. Whether or not interviewers liked it, they certainly remembered it.