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What Is a Student Portfolio? The Complete Guide

The education business in the 21st century is changing to meet the needs of diverse students and prepare them for the future in a rapidly changing world. While many schools evaluate a student using traditional tests and grades, experienced teachers know that knowledge of each student’s experiences, interpersonal interactions, and interests is essential to evaluate student work. One of the best ways to get a complete picture of a student’s skills and achievements is to look at his or her carefully arranged and updated student portfolio.

In this guide, we will explain what a student portfolio is and why it is important for both students and teachers. We’ll also give you some tips on how to create student portfolios and use the capabilities of our portfolio maker to make them shine.

This guide will help you create a solid student portfolio that will set you apart from the competition, whether you’re a student who wants to show off your academic progress or a recent graduate who wants to show off your skills and abilities.

What Is a Student Portfolio?

A student portfolio is a collection of a student’s work that shows the general student’s progress, development, skills, and successes over time. It can include examples of project work, completed assignments, and work created by the student – including for apprentices and students of courses. Student portfolios can be digital or physical, but digital student portfolios are becoming more popular because they are easier to use and more convenient.

You might use them as a beginning of your professional digital or physical portfolios, but they are also invaluable when applying to some universities, colleges, and professional courses. Student portfolios can showcase work and demonstrate your growth to anyone interested in recruiting you.

student preparing a portfolio

Teachers can also use student portfolios because they make it easier to track each student’s development over time, see where the student needs to improve, and give the student useful feedback on their learning journey. Student portfolios can also save teachers time when it’s time to write certificates, as they can be used to show a student’s overall strengths and summarize the school year.

What Should Be Included in Student Portfolio?

A student portfolio is a collection of students’ works that shows a student’s development, skills, and successes over time. That’s why it’s a clever idea to include not only the best work but also work that shows evolution and student progress. By including various elements of their work in their student portfolios, students can show how they have developed and improved over time and boast their unique strengths and skills.

  • Writing samples: Including texts in student portfolios gives them a chance to show how their writing skills have improved as they have gone through the entire learning process. In most cases, these samples consist of writing assignments, journal entries, essays, and research papers that the student has completed over time. In the case of screenwriting students, excerpts from screenplays can be included here and illustrated with photos.

    Student writing samples for portfolio

  • Handicrafts and artwork: Photos and examples of digital artwork are also an important part of showing off one’s skills and imagination. Sculptures can be photographed from several angles and digital art compressed to a reasonable DPI so that digital portfolios are easy to download and browse on mobile devices.

    student making sculpture for portfolio

  • Photography and videos: Students who want to show off their photography or filmmaking skills need to pay attention to things like editing, lighting, framing, storytelling methods, and equipment selection. You can place your photo gallery on your portfolio website. However, with Publuu you can include excerpts from your video in a digital portfolio that looks like a traditional printed document.

    student taking photo for portfolio

  • Music and sound recordings: For music students, you can upload your music recordings to your own website or host them on YouTube. With Publuu, you can integrate music, animation, and music notation in one document! You can create online portfolios integrating all sorts of creative works and embed them on the portfolio website.

    student recording music for portfolio

  • Applications and code: Demonstrate a student’s software development and design skills and abilities in a way that can be seen and touched. Samples of code can be included and Publuu lets you link to students’ completed work, like websites or HTML5 programs. Some of the best student portfolios integrate paper document elements, interactive galleries, and student work online.

    code of an it student

What Do Schools Look For in a Portfolio?

Schools look for different things in a student’s portfolio, depending on the school. Most recruiters want to see evidence of a student’s academic development, creativity, student learning process, critical thinking skills, and skills required for the profession.

You can demonstrate your understanding of a subject by including articles, research papers, and projects that are of high quality in your student portfolios. In the case of creative majors, it is best to showcase your best work – not necessarily the highest-rated one. What makes student portfolios important is the individual approach to your work and the self-assessment of your best qualities.

what makes you unique caption on adhesive card

In the case of science majors, you need to show that you can solve problems and think seriously. These skills can be demonstrated in a portfolio, allowing students to show off examples of analytical writing, projects, and thinking outside the box.

Schools may have specific goals or learning outcomes in their programs and will look for evidence that students are meeting these goals. Student portfolios can also show that program goals are being met by showing examples of work that demonstrates specific skills or knowledge.

How to Create a Student Portfolio?

The easiest way to start creating a student portfolio is by using a student portfolio template, but you can also create your portfolio from scratch in your authoring software of choice.

If you would like to expand your knowledge on this subject, please make sure to check out our portfolio strategy guide.

Begin with Personal Details

student filling out personal information for portfolio

The first step in creating a student portfolio is to provide personal information, such as your name, contact information, and a brief introduction. Provide social media details – if you are creating an art portfolio, you can provide your profile on ArtStation or Behance, or a link to your profile on GitHub if you want to showcase your progress as a programmer.

Find Your Best Work Samples

student searching for best work samples

These can be essays, projects, slideshows, photos, videos, and tests. Choose work that demonstrates your skills and abilities and shows how you have grown and improved over time. Think about what sums up your achievements as a student – it doesn’t have to mean what your teacher rated the highest!

List Out Your Skills and Goals

skills caption on adhesive card

This can include both academic and non-academic skills, such as teamwork, language skills, and leadership. Include both short-term and long-term goals – for example, mastering the technologies you want to acquire in school. If you want to show your skills outside the classroom, mention good people skills among your peers.

Add Resume

student creating a resume for portfolio

Adding a resume to your portfolio is a fantastic way to present a complete picture of your skills, experience, and accomplishments. Make sure your resume is written for the person or group you want to impress, whether it’s a job or a college admissions committee. If you don’t have experience, don’t worry – write down experiences like helping your parents at work or training. Add any course you have completed, to reflect your growth!

Create a Table of Contents

table of contents in student portfolio

To make it easier for people to navigate through your portfolio, create a table of contents that includes all sections and elements. This will make it easier for readers to find the information they need and give them a clear picture of your work. Thanks to Publuu, you can use hotspot links, to link to various pages, chapters, and even to outside websites.

Export Your Student Portfolio to PDF

Once your portfolio will be finished, you can export it to a PDF file. Now it is ready both for printing and uploading online.

Choose Paper, Digital or Both

Consider whether you want to compile your portfolio on paper, digital, or both. A paper portfolio will be an actual copy of your work that you can take with you to work or meetings. A digital portfolio can include things like videos and graphics that they can interact with. When choosing a style for your student portfolios, think about who it is for and what it is for.

You can use Publuu to convert your PDF into an online student portfolio, which will combine the best elements of digital portfolios and traditional documents like in the example below:

Publuu’s online student portfolio example

View more online student portfolio examples



In conclusion, a student portfolio serves as a powerful tool for students to assess progress and showcase skills. By carefully curating and updating a student portfolio, individuals can set themselves apart in a competitive academic and professional landscape.

If you follow our tips listed above, you can create a portfolio that showcases your student achievements and prepares you for future success.

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