Portfolio Tips for Future Students

What is a portfolio?

Your portfolio is a collection of work and ideas that demonstrate the state of your creative development. Your portfolio will be reviewed by faculty members who teach across the disciplines at Emily Carr. We want to see what you create, to learn about your art, design, and media making processes, and to get a glimpse of the ideas and projects that you have been working on, so that we can imagine how you might succeed at Emily Carr.

A strong portfolio includes a diverse array of artwork, experimental processes, material techniques, observation skills, and creative thinking. The work that you present should demonstrate both a range of approaches as well as a sense of focus. Everything should be recent, made within the past two years.

Even if you are new to some art, design, and media practices, we want to see what you have taken on. What you might think is awkward and poorly executed work, faculty reviewers might see as full of potential, material that reflects an individual's willingness to learn and take on challenges and would therefore be interesting to teach.

How do I create a strong portfolio?

There is no rigid or fail-safe formula for a good portfolio: we are looking for that unique combination of creativity, engagement, and inspiration that makes art, design and media education suitable for you. There are, however, proven strategies you can use to ensure your intent is clear when submitting your portfolio as part of your application to university. Watch the video, take a look at the prompts below, and check out the portfolio workbook for undergraduate students to help you get started.

Tips from Emily Carr University faculty members, including Photography professor Birthe Pointek and Communication Design professor Cameron Neat.


Think carefully about the world around you.

What are the things that are at the top of your mind? Try to interpret those thoughts into your artwork.


Experiment during the process.

Allow yourself to create work that you might not like – you may find this opens you up to new ways of seeing.


Incorporate at least three different mediums in your portfolio.

We are looking for portfolios with a diverse range of materials and media.

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