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Putting together your portfolio: students' top tips

Putting a portfolio together for your creative course may seem like a long task, so here are some tips and shared experiences from students who have been there and done it.

Before you start, here's a reminder of just how important portfolios and interviews are for creative courses  putting the hard work in now really will pay off!

Start early 

My interview date was confirmed a few days after application and a lot of my work was still unorganised, it was a bit of a rush in the end. Work constantly on your portfolio before even applying; NTU interviewed very early and I was caught unaware. Fourth Year Fashion Design Student | Nottingham Trent University

Show diversity

Include a variety of work / media in your portfolio: drawing, collage, print, stitch etc. Including a variety of styles within an area (e.g. drawing) is good plus a variety of scales (large, medium and small scale work). First Year Visual Communication Student | Arts University Bournemouth

Choose work you're proud of

You need to have pride in the work you’re showing the tutors, so really think about what to include in your portfolio. If you include something you're a bit wary of, or think that you could have executed it better, they will sense this when they ask you about it and they will ask you about it. Second Year Fine Art Student | Norwich University Of The Arts

Presentation is key

Use thick black or white card and keep it the same throughout. Try to avoid plastic wallets as tutors like to have a clear look and sometimes feel the work, especially if it's material or for a subject like textiles. First Year Fine Art Student | Norwich University Of The Arts

Start and end with the best 

Starting with a very strong page is clearly a sensible idea and then finishing with a page that also has an impact will leave the reviewer with a positive final impression. Fifth Year Architecture Student | University Of Dundee

Get a fresh pair of eyes on it

One big tip before submitting your portfolio is to get an art teacher, artist or someone who has gone through the process before to look at your portfolio! After staring at your own work for so long, it's good to have somebody else to look through it! Third Year Animation Techniques Student | University Of Dundee

... but make sure it's an expression of you 

Do the portfolio how you see best; if it's not a representation of you, it won't be the best you can put together. I had a bundle of sketchbooks and canvases while the girl before me had a plastic wallet pristine A1 portfolio. Mine suited me and hers suited her. Third Year Fine Art Student | University Of Portsmouth

They're not just needed for art and design courses

I had to put together a creative writing portfolio to get on to my course. I was given guidance about how much I should put in depending on the style of writing (ie. x number of words of prose, x number of poems etc.) Don't be too concerned with what they *want* to see as the sorts of writers on the course are incredibly diverse.

If you have something you've already written that you're proud of then send that. It does not have to be a complete piece of prose or script so don't worry about this. Third Year English Literature Student | University Of East Anglia

Enjoy it! 

I actually quite enjoyed putting together my portfolio; it was nice to go through and present all my best pieces of work, and I felt proud looking through it. First Year Graphic Design Student | Loughborough University

 

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