The World of Portfolios

Briti Prajapat, CollegeFindMe Intern

Out of those hundreds of thousands of applicants, how can you stand out? Are you excelling in school? Do your test scores set a promising representation of you and your abilities? If you’re an artist, then your talents might be another great way to set you apart from the crowd.

Whether it be dancing, painting, acting, or singing, your skills may be rarer than you think. Just by submitting a clip of you singing or a collage of your amazing drawings, you can stand out from other students in the application pool.

What should you send?

Well, the hard part is to choose what to use. Answer these questions: what are you most proud of? What do you think reflects your abilities? And lastly, is it unique?

If you want to turn in a video of you singing, choose a song that is challenging, yet you have managed to not just sing it well, but also highlight your vocals. You also need to be careful not to choose a song that contains inappropriate words and sentences. So basically, select a song that you can sing during a family gathering or a school event.

Furthermore, for artists, make sure to save ALL your artwork from previous years of art classes. Choose your favorites, but if you have any questions, seek help from your art teacher. Your pile of artwork for your portfolio should include only 10 to 20 of your best artworks, showing both your skills in a variety of media as well as your development in a few media over time. This will help to show schools the range of your talents, but also your commitment to mastering one or two artforms.

Unlike drawers, dancers should try to concentrate on one specific type of dance. If you are a dancer and you want to submit a group dance, be sure that it focuses mostly on you.

An important note

Some colleges and universities do not necessarily have a section on Common App where you can attach your portfolio. To submit your portfolio to these schools, you can mention it in the “Additional Information” section and attach the link. Also, you can send a professional email to the admissions committee of the school informing them about your interest in submitting a portfolio.

Don’t be afraid to display your true talents!  Show these colleges what you have to offer through our platform – we’re working on a new function where students can share their profile photos and videos with schools!

From one artist to another, I wish you luck!

Displaying Your Creativity

Alisson Martinez, Senior, Community Charter School of Cambridge

Being an artist while trying to navigate school is a daunting feat, especially when you add college applications to your to-do list. Luckily, there is an easy and productive way to combine both your passions and your college applications. Working on creative projects throughout high school can help develop your sense of artistry and show colleges your potential. For example, I am currently working on my own magazine, Solara Magazine, and its accompanying fashion line. Based on my experiences, I want to help you start your own projects and use them when applying to colleges.

Realize your potential

The first step to embarking on any sort of creative journey, especially one which you will be sending out for review, is to be self-aware. You want to make sure you are entering this project, and anything you do really, with a positive mindset. If you think you’re going to fail, or that it’s going to be a waste of time, then you won’t put in 100% and you won’t do as well. Make sure you really want to commit to this project and that you want to embrace the challenges and grow along the way! 

Make a plan

Remember, this is something you’re going to be sending to colleges. Make sure you plan everything with enough time to be completed. I would definitely recommend getting a planner. I know everyone everywhere tells you to “get a planner, you’ll be more organized,” but it seriously helped me so much with my magazine and my clothing brand. Since buying one last year, I never leave anywhere without it! Always schedule enough time to brainstorm and create, but also give yourself some time to relax and recover. Creativity is an energetic spark and sometimes you need to take a break to gather new inspiration and let your brain regenerate itself after cranking out some great ideas!

Connect with peers

I thought I could handle every aspect of my magazine along with editing, writing, shooting, designing and just about everything else. It was one of the most stressful times of the whole creative endeavor and I regret not reaching out to my friends for input. If you connect with other creative minds, your project will be way more fun and enriching. You’ll learn a lot more when you bring together different perspectives and experiences, so ask around on social media for anyone willing to help you. You can also join meetups in your area to get ideas and learn more. You’ll be surprised by how many people actually want to help! I’ve met so many amazing people and made friends just by posting online for help. 

Just do it

Now that you’ve planned and built a team, it’s time for action! Start your project! It’s so satisfying (and no, not satisfying like the slime videos on YouTube) to see your vision come to life. True story: I cried during my first magazine photoshoot because I was so overwhelmed with the feeling of seeing a vision I’d had for so long manifesting in front of me. You should make sure you’re having fun while getting the content you need.

Also take pictures of behind the scenes and of your work in general! When it comes to submitting your work for portfolios or competitions having quality photos of your creative process will make applying so much easier. They will definitely come in handy later on and serve as proof of your commitment to your project! Colleges appreciate when they see students who dedicate themselves to projects long-term, so take time to document the hard work you put into making your project happen!