University Tips Blog
A lightbulb with vibrant colours
A headshot image of the author, Sarah Hewitson

by Sarah Hewitson

Student Recruitment Centre Manager, Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth

posted on 30 Nov '23

Applying for a creative course? Five tips when preparing portfolios and interviews

Applying for a creative course requires more than just grades. Developing a portfolio of work, attending an interview, or writing a personal statement will form a key part of your application. It will allow you to showcase your style and creative ability, discuss your influences, and demonstrate your passion for your creative subject.

Five tips to help you during the creative course application process:

Research the course – It is really important that you look into the course you’re applying for. Universities won’t expect you to be able to recite every module, but courses can differ vastly between universities. In your portfolio/ interview, you’ll need to show an understanding of the course and subject area. So, look into attending an open day, read the portfolio guidance carefully and explore current events, to stay ahead of the game.

Help us learn about you – At the same time as showing you understand the course, universities will also want to see what inspires you! Everyone is unique and we want to see you amongst the pages. Include a range of things that describe you as a person and as a creative individual – what makes you tick? As creatives, we put a lot of ourselves into our work, so ensure that comes across.

Show us the creative process – Within the portfolio, you can shine by demonstrating your creative journey through initial research, developmental work and then the final piece. You should also demonstrate that you can critically review and analyse your work. Would you do the same again, what would you change? This balance of creativity and reflection will help you sail through your studies.

Keep it succinct – While we love to see a variety of work within a portfolio, we do want to see your ability to edit. It is all about establishing a balance. You shouldn’t bring everything you’ve ever done, but don’t pare it back to nothing at all. You should also try to tailor this to the course you’re applying for.

Presenting your portfolio - Different universities may have different requirements for how they want to see your work. This may be in person, online using eg Zoom or via a digital portfolio submission. You may need to tailor your portfolio to the needs of each university so look at their requirements carefully. If the portfolio is digital, bear in mind that you won't be able to provide context in the same way as a face to face interview so consider adding text to your images/links to explain your reasons for including each piece of work.

Remember, applying for a creative course can be daunting, but universities will always be there to support you through the application process. If you have links with universities, make the most of opportunities to attend workshops, taster days and more, so that you are fully engaged and prepared for your application journey.

Get email alerts when new blogs are posted

This free newsletter will include information on university events added to UniTasterDays, as well as details about new webinars and blog releases for you and your students.

Recommended blogs

Cookie Policy    X