As high school students reach the end of their journey, the topic of building a portfolio often comes up in discussion. Here are 5 reasons why high school students should build a portfolio – and start working on it in advance!
1. Saving time. When students try to create a portfolio towards the end of senior year, it can be difficult to recall all the individual accomplishments and activities they’ve participated in since freshman year. For this reason, we recommend students start creating a portfolio as early as 9th grade. It doesn’t have to be anything concrete, but it’s a good idea to keep track of your achievements as they take place – it will make the process of creating a portfolio much easier down the road! If you receive any physical certificates for your accomplishments (i.e. dean's list, perfect attendance, etc.), we highly recommend having a dedicated folder at home where you can store them all in a safe place.
2. Getting ahead. For many high school students, there’s a good chance you will be required to create a “senior portfolio” in order to graduate. This is another reason why it’s great to start building your portfolio in advance – after all, you’ll likely have to do it anyway! Many schools have started implementing programs with academic counselors to help students build a portfolio on a yearly basis, starting in 9th grade.
3. College application. As we all know, extracurricular activities and special achievements look great on any college application! Some schools and universities may even require a portfolio as part of the admission process itself. Your high school portfolio and curriculum vitae can be extremely impressive additions to your application, and may give you the upper edge in a highly competitive environment. In addition to academic work, students who are interested in pursuing degrees in creativity-focused fields may choose to start building a portfolio early on. This isn’t limited to art students and graphic design, either – computer science majors will often prepare a portfolio with examples of code or software they have written!
4. Determining major. Many students feel ashamed to admit they don’t have a major by the time they start college, but that’s perfectly okay! In fact, it’s estimated that 80% of college students change their majors throughout their higher education journey. Deciding what subject you want to focus on is a difficult task, and that’s where your portfolio comes in! We often encourage students to look back at their portfolios to get a bigger picture of where they experienced the most success and enjoyment throughout their high school years.
5. Future careers. Many students choose to work throughout college to help pay for academic expenses. Your high school portfolio can be an excellent resource during the job-hunting process, as you can use it to show prospective employers your skills and achievements before you have a degree in-hand!