Using portfolios for scholarships

Students have different ways of using a portfolio when they are applying for scholarships.

Each year, students planning to attend postsecondary education (college or trade school) seek financial assistance to help cover the costs of their education. Applying for scholarships can be a competitive yet tedious process.

Scholarship applications come in different formats. Some may ask for general information while some can ask a series of questions, require an essay and require some documents. As students apply for multiple scholarships, they can have a personal scholarship portfolio to keep a record of documents they need to submit for their scholarship application.

What type of records should students keep in a scholarship portfolio? Gyan Baird in Scholarship Opportunity explains 12 items students can keep in their scholarship portfolio:

  1. Official transcripts
  2. Resume
  3. Letters of recommendation
  4. Test Scores
  5. Essay or personal statement
  6. Tax returns
  7. Proof of enrollment
  8. Proof of residency
  9. FAFSA/SAR (Free Application for Federal Student Aid – students will receive their SAR report when they complete their FAFSA form.)
  10. Age verification
  11. Photo
  12. Application

A portfolio can also be a collection of work that is turned into a scholarship committee. They may be needed for scholarships in subject areas like art and writing. Students interested in majors and careers related to art and writing should have a display of their past work in different formats from their high school experience.

Submitting portfolios for art and writing have differences. For scholarship portfolios for art, Jessica Zdunek gives tips for putting together an art portfolio in U.S. News and World Report:

  • Read the instructions carefully (some scholarships that require portfolios may require additional instructions).
  • Choose your portfolio pieces carefully.
  • Organize your portfolio.

For scholarship portfolios in writing, Brynne Ramella gives tips for putting together a writing portfolio in U.S. News and World Report:

  • Choose a web platform.
  • Post your biography.
  • Connect to social media.
  • Fill your portfolio.
  • Apply for scholarships.

When it comes to applying for scholarships, portfolios can be used in different ways. The discipline of having a portfolio can build a career skill of record-keeping as students try to keep up with the different documents needed for an application or keep a collection of art, essays or other pieces of writing to display to the scholarship committee.

If you’re a student interested in scholarships for higher education, begin the process of keeping track of documents, art or writing pieces needed to have a completed and competitive scholarship application.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth career preparation, money management and entrepreneurship programs, read the Impact Report: “Preparing Michigan Youth for Future Careers and Employment.”

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