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Compiling a portfolio can seem like a daunting task, especially when submitting it for something like a university course, the outcome of which could impact the next few years of your life. Don’t worry, it felt like that for me as well. But really, it isn’t that difficult.

For the course I took - Creative Writing MA - handing in a portfolio of my work was required and honestly, creating it wasn’t that hard. Coming from my last university course, a BA in Television & Media, I had plenty of past writing projects in the form of scripts to pull from, as well as everything I had created in my spare time. Because I couldn’t submit everything that I’d done (nor did I want to), I had to narrow down what I was going to send in. I selected around five examples of my work, some large, some small, some finished, and some not. I picked the pieces I was happiest with, most proud of, even if they weren’t finished or very long.

Once I had selected which pieces I was going to hand in, I had to hand them in. Luckily, Northumbria offers a number of ways for you to do this. Through your online application, via email, and by post. For me, I did all three.

Creating a portfolio wasn’t that hard, but it was still a stressful few days and I wasn’t going to leave it to chance.

I sent in PDF versions via email and the online application, and hand-delivered hard copies to the address they provided. The last is the method I would choose again. It was a large weight off my mind knowing for certain that my work had been received.

The next time I heard about my portfolio was during my interview, but it was very casual. I wasn’t given any feedback on it, but rather we discussed the types of piece I had included - scripts, sketches, an extract from a novel - and how that reflected my goals moving forward. Did I want to continue with script writing or did I want to focus on a different area? I got the impression that my portfolio was needed not just to show I was capable, but also for the lecturers to see how they could help me moving forward, and determine whether the course was going to be able to provide that.

Portfolios may seem daunting, but they are there so that the university can help you the best it can. If you’re anything like me then you’ll have plenty of work to pull from.

If not then make something. If you’re going to be studying it for the next year or so you must like it, so start making now. And don’t be scared. The university wants to help you, it has amazing resources set aside to do so. So, take your time with it. Just try not to miss the deadline.

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