A student works on producing the perfect portfolio and personal statement.

Depending on the major you're applying for, your portfolio and personal statement could be the decision point for your university application. For some courses, your portfolio may be even more important than your grades! You need to pay close attention to the instructions and outline provided by the schools you're applying to, while selling yourself as a unique and valuable individual. Here are some tips to enhance your application:

What to Include

Your personal statement is an introduction to who you are, what you've worked on in the past, and your skillset. This is your chance to convince the admissions committee to choose YOU. Include your positive traits, your education, volunteer, and work experience, and what you've learned over that time. This can include time-management skills, organization, critical thinking, customer service skills and problem-solving. Hype yourself up, but keep the statement formal and polite.

If you're responding to a direct question, be sure to address it fully and completely. If you're allowed to write freely, highlight your best qualities!

For your portfolio, you want to display your best, and most varied, work. Demonstrate the breadth of your skills and imagination. In many cases, schools will value creativity over technical ability. If you are feeling insecure, just remember that skills can be learned and sharpened easily — creative thinking is more difficult.

Sell Yourself Truthfully

When writing your statement, you want to stand out. But this is critical: don't lie about your abilities or experience. Though you may be tempted to stretch the truth, you'll probably get into trouble later if you're not able to meet the standards you set for yourself.

Be realistic when it comes to writing about yourself. Making a list of your strengths and weaknesses can be helpful when drafting your statement. If you can't pinpoint what you're good at and what you still need to work on, ask someone you trust to give you an honest opinion. A friend, family member, or another trusted figure can help you determine the best qualities to highlight, as well as areas for improvement. Be wary of flattery — try to find someone who can give you a realistic perspective.

Less is More

Remember: keep it simple. When it comes to displaying your work, don't overdo it. Your application should include only the best of the best. Both your portfolio and your personal statement should be clean and straightforward. Don't overwhelm the admissions committee before they've even read your work!

Once you chosen the work for your portfolio, and written a draft of your personal statement, you'll need to polish your application. You should get a fresh pair of eyes to look over your submission to ensure you haven't missed anything critical. Never be afraid to ask for help, and good luck on your applications!