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Old 04-12-2010, 07:45 PM   #1
EduSeeker
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Default Importance of Portfolio

Hi all. I am currently a JC2 student, going to take 'A's this year. Recently, I've been thinking how my portfolio is doing. And I must say it isn't really very good. Had a chat with my family doctor recently and she told me results matter most. I understand that this is a indisputable fact but it set me thinking. So how important is one's portfolio in terms of getting into a uni course and getting scholarship?

And just to digress from the main question for a while, when did you seniors start preparing for 'A's? Just to get myself ready and to make sure I'm on track.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:17 AM   #2
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Getting in to local unis: the grades are definitely important. They don't want your portfolio (except maybe SMU, who wants your CCA stuff...) generally, unless you're going for courses which require a portfolio, such as NTU's Art, Design and Media (which requires stuff from secondary school days).

The only time the portfolio matters for uni admission, generally, is if you're going through discretionary admission. This is mostly because you want to bolster your chances for getting in, and your academic results don't quite make the cut. Or, you're going for a really competitive course (which I think you are, since you're speaking to your family doctor - are you aiming for medicine?).

Scholarships look at your portfolio. While your grades are still important, they still look at your portfolio. It is quite important.

If you're going to build up your portfolio now, I think you should fill it with things related to the course you are intending to apply for/scholarship you are applying for. (E.g., for medicine, you can volunteer at an old folks' home/childcare centre/hospital.)

Preparing for As depends from student to student. You get the students who have prepared since day 1, and you get the slackers who start a month before/when their prelim results come back (I have a friend who did that). It depends on you, but generally you should have started preparing by now.
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:52 AM   #3
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thanks for the long reply. with regards to overseas uni, if I wanna enter via normal admission, is portfolio impt? or are grades the only determining factor?

and I'm actually aiming for law but I was just having a casual chat with my doctor.
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Old 04-13-2010, 12:00 PM   #4
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Overseas uni: depends. US looks at portfolio (I think they have an equal weightage, but I didn't apply for US - this is what I've heard). UK - nope, it's grades (although you can mention your portfolio in your personal statement). Australia: strictly grades.

I don't think you should aim for US, though, since law is a postgrad degree there.
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Old 04-13-2010, 12:18 PM   #5
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there is no such thing as normal vs. discretionary admission for US/UK universities, with the exception of recruited athletes in the US.

for UK, your portfolio (i.e. non-academic achievements) hardly matters as compared to (1) your academic results and (2) your aptitude and passion for your course of study, as demonstrated in the personal statement, interview (if any) and any relevant tests (if any).

for US, your academic results are important, as with your SAT scores. however, you are required to present your non-academic achievements as well, such as activities participated, awards. you are also required to write personal essays to convey a sense of who you are. there is no exact guideline on how important academic is vs. non-academic, but it's safe to say that at top universities in the US where admission rates are notably low (ranging from 6% to around 20%) non-academic achievements are often differentiating factors that would give you an edge over the multitudes of other applicants. in this case, perfect grades are hardly significant advantages over top grades. (e.g. 2400 sat not a large advantage compared to 2300, all As not large advantage compared to one or two Bs)

Last edited by Butterbeer; 04-13-2010 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:56 PM   #6
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oh ok. to be more precise, what does portfolio consist of? I missed out on chances for ocip and attachment programmes already. my friend suggested service learning but I doubt I will be able to cope with all the upcoming competition and preparation for 'A's.

currently, my portfolio only consists of upgrading workshops I attended, cca exco. that's all that I know.
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:50 PM   #7
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your portfolio can consist of any activity that you have demonstrated a sustained commitment to. besides the following e.g.s you have mentioned, it can also include:

- work experience
- non-cca competitions (e.g. academic quizzes)
- helping out at school events (e.g. Orientation)
- pastimes, if you have pursued it at some sustained or advanced level (e.g. an instrument)
- any other external commitment, like helping out at events in church

however, more importantly, i would urge you not to involve yourself in an entire slew of activities as scholarships and US universities do require you to declare the length of time and frequency for which you have been engaged in these activities. A laundry list of activities with little demonstrated commitment does not make a good impression at all.

i think the best thing you can do now is to be as active as you can in your cca, and attempt to contribute to your cca the best you can. only then would you have credible, robust experiences through which you can truly grow and learn new things about yourself, which is the point of non-academic pursuits in the first place, and something that scholarship providers and US universities are truly looking out for.
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterbeer View Post
your portfolio can consist of any activity that you have demonstrated a sustained commitment to. besides the following e.g.s you have mentioned, it can also include:

- work experience
- non-cca competitions (e.g. academic quizzes)
- helping out at school events (e.g. Orientation)
- pastimes, if you have pursued it at some sustained or advanced level (e.g. an instrument)
- any other external commitment, like helping out at events in church

however, more importantly, i would urge you not to involve yourself in an entire slew of activities as scholarships and US universities do require you to declare the length of time and frequency for which you have been engaged in these activities. A laundry list of activities with little demonstrated commitment does not make a good impression at all.

i think the best thing you can do now is to be as active as you can in your cca, and attempt to contribute to your cca the best you can. only then would you have credible, robust experiences through which you can truly grow and learn new things about yourself, which is the point of non-academic pursuits in the first place, and something that scholarship providers and US universities are truly looking out for.
I agree with the points mentioned above. There's no point taking on more activities, concentrate on the ones you are currently involved in, think about how you have contributed and what you have learnt in the process. Meanwhile, do study hard for your 'A' Levels! While your grades aren't the only factors universities consider when deciding whether to give you an offer, they are very important as well.

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