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How to perfectly present your portfolio at interview

Daunted at the prospect of presenting your portfolio during a university interview? Students who've been through the process reveal their top tips for impressing admissions tutors and not falling at the last hurdle.

If you're preparing for a university interview, don't miss our expert's guide to portfolios and interviews for creative arts students. Here's our students' take on it...

Focus on your interests

You have to be honest and focus on what interests you, as you will have to talk about your work - be properly prepared to do this, including associated theoretical ideas and concepts.

Be prepared to argue your case and ideas, though obviously in a non-aggressive way. Look at the website of the uni you are applying to; many have guides as to what they're looking for. Second Year Fine Art Student | University For The Creative Arts

Talk about what worked and what didn't 

You need to think conceptually about why you did something and why you like something. Talk about what worked and what didn't. And if you're showing them workbooks, you do need to annotate them. Words are important! Fourth Year Cinematics And Photography Student | Edinburgh Napier University
 

Convey what you want to say 

Decide what you are trying to tell the person viewing your portfolio, and remember that you may not always be there to explain your work. They may ask you to pick one piece to talk about in depth, so be prepared for this. Also remember - art tutors hate plastic wallets, so don't waste your money! Third Year Design Studies Student | Manchester Metropolitan University

Make sure you've got the common questions covered

Advice is always given on what to expect from a portfolio, just read it carefully and make sure you're prepared for common questions before your interview - pick a favourite artist and their work for example.  Third Year Architecture Student | De Montfort University

Show how you've developed

The interviewers were friendly and appreciative of my work which put me at ease during the interview. My advice for anyone going to an interview is to not be too nervous, be yourself and natural and make sure to show your strengths and skills. Explaining weaknesses which you have overcome is also a good idea, because it shows how you've improved. Fourth Year Multimedia Design Student | University Of Ulster

Have some questions ready for them

I would think of some questions to ask the person who is interviewing you to find out a bit more about the course, as this shows that you are really interested in the course (not that you wouldn't be) but it gives a good impression. First Year Fine Art Student | University For The Creative Arts
Still putting together your portfolio? Here's some inspiration from other arts and design students on what your portfolio should include.

 

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