When starting your search for what it takes to apply to foreign universities, especially when applying for creative and visual arts based courses, an application portfolio is increasingly becoming one of the most requested criteria. How do I create a killer portfolio?

In this guide we give you some tips that can help!

First, what is a portfolio and why is it important?

A portfolio is like an organized record of your professional development and academic achievements. It consists of a collection of documents that demonstrate your skills, ideas, personality and creativity. It’s a great way for institutes to evaluate your potential as a student.

Everything in your portfolio counts! Even if some of your work is not finished you should put it in too, even more if it’s recent. When the experts are evaluating, they’re interested not only in the final work itself, but also in the research and the processes that you used to develop it.

How do I create a killer portfolio?

What should my portfolio contain?

Your portfolio is a way to convince the university of why they should have you as their student so it should include all of your final pieces and examples of research and ideas.  

Sketchbooks and written notes, per example, are an amazing way to show how you think and how your creative journey goes. It might also include any type of work that you want, such as drawings, color and materials studies, design development, market investigation and design presentation.

In case you have some 3D pieces, you should photograph and present them within the portfolio. If you do your application on campus, face-to-face, you should also bring one or two physical examples with you.

How do I create a killer portfolio?

Do portfolios differ for different levels of study?

Portfolio requirements are different depending on which university and course you’re applying to. It can also depend on the level you’re applying for, make sure it is appropriate.

Important: include your arguments to justify the final work alongside the research and reference material, especially if it’s a portfolio for a postgraduate.

How do I create a killer portfolio?

What size should it be and how should it be presented?

A portfolio can be of any size – A4, A3, etc – choose what works best for your content. 

How to present it? It should be divided into different projects and it’s supposed to be something simple so that the focus is only on the content, but at the same time it needs to be relevant so it doesn’t become a boring evaluation.

How do I create a killer portfolio?


How do I submit my portfolio?

With the current covid-19 situation most institutes let their students submit their portfolio online, although this is a choice that depends only on the institutes so you can never be sure. Check the instructions on the university site so you know all the requirements, or talk with one of our advisors!

In case you want to send your portfolio don’t send the original work.

5 extra tips to make your portfolio stand-out 

1 – Do your research carefully and see what are the requirements of the institutes that you are applying for. Keep records of dates, open day times, etc.

2 – Try to find a recent student who can show you his/hers portfolio so you know what is expected;

3 – Be yourself! You can be inspired by other people work but your portfolio should be individual to you and your features;

4 – Attend the open days so you know if it’s the right place for you;

5 – Plan your portfolio so you show different types of your work and don’t forget any.

Did this guide help you understand what a studying abroad portfolio is and its importance? Did you enjoy reading “How do I create a killer portfolio?” ?If you want to prepare your application to study abroad you might also like to read “How to write a memorable Personal Statement?”.

Let us know how we can help you with the requirements that your institute has. Send us a message. 



Talk with your adviser!