My name's Matt Kopeck, I'm 27, and I just got out of the Navy. I've always drawn since I was little, but about a year and a half ago is when I really started to study and practice every day. I'm applying to around 10 schools for Fall 2013, particularly SVA and Ringling are the ones I like most, but I was hoping I could get some feedback on my chances, strengths, weaknesses, et cetera.. My goal as of now is to get into the illustration program. I've taken a few studio classes this last year at a community college in order to prep myself for art school.
You could stand to brush up on your perspective. Once that's solid, you want to focus on constructing everything you draw. Features tend to be misaligned and ground planes not very well established. Break things down into their simple shape components (cubes, spheres, cylinders, cones). Focus on drawing convincing form.
With your 15 minute portraits, you've spent too much time rendering little details (women's earrings, eyelashes on the bearded fellow). Learn your average proportions, measure those of the model and compare, then focus on well constructed form. Your values should all agree with each other and emphasize the basic planes of the face. Right now it feels like you're just drawing features IMO.
I'd say the pears, painted skulls, and fall landscape are the strongest pieces of the collection.