tips

Tips for Creating an Online Portfolio in College

What is a (Digital) Portfolio?

You’ve spent weeks, months, maybe even years developing skills, studying, and working—now you get to put your results on display.

So, what is a portfolio? An online portfolio (also known as a digital portfolio, electronic portfolio, e-portfolio, or e-folio) is a collection of electronic evidence assembled and managed by a user, usually on the web. Such electronic evidence may include images, text, electronic files, multimedia, blog entries, and hyperlinks.

Having a positive online presence is a huge advantage when it comes to applying for internships and jobs. Creating a portfolio website allows you to share and showcase your work easily for the employers you want to impress.

An online portfolio will increase your visibility and presence. It’s your chance to tell the world who you are as a creative, and delve into your projects, passions, and experiences. Using the flexibility of an online portfolio, you’re able to show your personality by choosing the design, layout, and the copy you write.

It also makes it easier for clients and potential employers to reach out to you. Especially in the digital age, you want to be able to network and link yourself to others in the most convenient way possible. Since we rely on technology, it’s good to show that you have this online presence.

How to Create a Portfolio

1. Pick the Right Online Platform (Best Free Portfolio Websites)

Wix, WordPress, and Weebly, oh my! There are many websites that allow users to create a free online portfolio straight from their free portfolio website templates. 

Here are a few of the best portfolio websites out there right now: 

  • Wix: An all-in-one website builder that’s perfect for beginners and non-coders. Wix lets you build a professional looking website quickly and easily, providing pre-designed templates, built-in security, and in-house features.
  • WordPress: A powerful content management system (CMS), which offers plenty of responsive themes to showcase your work. If you want complete creative control over your portfolio, this is a good option for you.
  • Weebly: A drag-and-drop web builder with around 40 modern, fully-customizable website themes and elements.

It is helpful to take a look at online portfolio examples by other people in your specific creative area or industry. For example, if you’re an aspiring artist – try Googling “Art Portfolio Website.” You might find something similar to what you envision, in which case you’ll be able to customize it and make it your own. If you’d rather start from a blank canvas, you can always build your website from scratch and enjoy complete freedom to express yourself online.

2. Keep the Design Simple

When designing a portfolio, you want a website that is straightforward. You want your content to be the focal point, rather than a distracting design. Your actual work is the core of your online portfolio, so make sure to showcase it in the best way possible. It should stand out and be easily reachable through the homepage.

Your homepage is also your chance to stir the curiosity of potential clients and employers with a powerful introductory sentence. Make it short and sweet, clearly expressing who you are and what you do. There’s no need to go into your biographical details here (that’s what your “About” page is for), but your name and main area of expertise are a must.

It’s helpful to add a short written description for each project, so that visitors can get a sense for the context of your work. Mention your role, as well as any of your collaborators. 

Run your website by a trusted peer and mentor for some insight and fresh ideas. Get some honest feedback about your content, visuals, and ease of navigation. 

3. Choose Quality Over Quantity

Cramming everything you’ve ever done into your personal portfolio may be tempting, but most employers would advise against it. Consider what to put on a personal website, picking only your absolute best pieces to show, trusting them to showcase your strongest work and highlight your talents. Showcasing a limited amount of projects allows you to present each one thoroughly.

Tell the story with less on your portfolio. For example, include links to your top 10 articles, not top 100. Wait for a prospective employer to request the rest. Once someone is interested in your work, you will have plenty of time to give them more information.

Consider listing any distinctive elements that give you an edge, such as press or awards. Having good recommendations is always a big plus so if you can include any of the testimonials from the clients you’ve worked with in the past, it can add a lot of credibility to your online portfolio.

Don’t forget to put emphasis on the types of projects you’d be interested in working on in the future. 

4. Update the Mobile Version 

People often forget about the huge amount of users who are likely to be viewing their site from a smartphone. In fact, mobile devices account for 52% of web page views worldwide. So it’s important to make sure you’ve devoted time to perfecting their user experience, too.

One of the major challenges designers face when it comes to their online presence is ensuring it will be mobile compatible. And since a mobile website is more than just “web design made smaller,” there are a few rules to keep in mind when designing for mobile. 

Best practices for designing your mobile website include:

  • Declutter the website version of your site, keeping only the most crucial elements visible on mobile
  • Pay attention to the fonts and colors you use and make sure they’re legible 
  • Reduce the amount of typing required by adding a search bar to ease navigation

5. Make Your Portfolio Searchable 

Your beautiful work deserves to be seen online – and the best way to go about it is by upping your SEO (or “Search Engine Optimization”). By following a set of simple rules, you can work towards improving your design portfolio’s ranking on Google search results.

Some of the best practices for improving your portfolio’s SEO are:

  • Choose a good domain name. Your domain name is how visitors will find, remember and share your page on the internet. Using something simple like your first and last name, or your creative niche will prove helpful with branding and marketing. 
  • Do keyword research to find the right keywords for your site. Keywords are the most commonly searched phrases on Google when people are looking for creatives such as yourself. Once you’ve done some keyword research, use these phrases in strategic places throughout your website.
  • Write alt text for your images. Short for alternative text, alt text is a brief description of your site’s images and photos. Writing SEO-friendly alt text can also help improve your website’s accessibility. You’re likely to have visual elements on your online portfolio, so use this opportunity to integrate your keywords into your alt text.
  • Write titles and descriptions (known as metadata) for each of your design portfolio’s pages. 

6. Share Your Contact Information 

After you’ve captured a visitor’s attention with your site, make sure they can easily contact you. Add any of the following elements to ensure you’re reachable: a contact form, your email, phone numbers and links to your social media.

These can be featured as part of your menu, in a dedicated contact page or as a pinned element on the side of the screen. It’s also highly recommended to repeat your contact details in your website footer, offering visitors a final invitation to get in touch.

7. Utilize Social Media

Social media is a two-way channel where you have an opportunity to build a rapport with your prospective clients. Social networking is all about interactions, creating open dialogue, and building genuine relationships with your community.

If you want to grow your network, consider including social media buttons in your portfolio as they will be a huge help in building stronger connections and keeping your clients and followers updated at all times. 

Including buttons to share your work on social media can help bring more exposure and an audience to your site. Promote your work on social media whenever you add new projects to draw attention to fresh work as well as your overall portfolio. 

If you are including your personal social media on your professional online portfolio, remember to keep it professional and appropriate.

8. Keep it Updated

Keep in mind that your work doesn’t end with just creating a great portfolio – make sure to regularly update it. As you create new and better work, make additions to showcase your latest projects, but with the same focus on careful curation.

This will also show visitors that you’re active and working. When first creating an online portfolio, consider how you can build a design portfolio that is easy to update, letting you comfortably add new projects as you go.

A successful portfolio finds that perfect blend of your personality, prominence of work, simplicity, and ease of use that makes your portfolio stand out from the crowd and achieve your goals. A well-made, creative portfolio makes all the difference between making a fine first impression and a truly great one! 

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References:

  1. https://www.wix.com/blog/creative/2018/04/how-to-make-online-design-portfolio-guide
  2. https://99u.adobe.com/articles/7127/6-steps-to-creating-a-knockout-online-portfolio 
  3. https://www.pagecloud.com/blog/how-to-build-your-online-portfolio 
  4. https://collegeinfogeek.com/online-portfolio/ 
  5. https://websitesetup.org/make-online-portfolio/
  6. https://www.statista.com/statistics/306528/share-of-mobile-internet-traffic-in-global-regions/ 

Getting Sick Without Mommy

Taking care of yourself is one of the many things you’ll need to worry about when you leave for college. Making sure you have all the necessary tips for prevention during the cold and flu season as well as habits for optimal health can keep you looking and feeling wonderful throughout the school year.

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How to prevent illness:

  • Wash your hands regularly- This is common knowledge as the first way to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Keep your hands out of your mouth, nose and eyes- germs are easily spread through contact with
  • Tissues, Tissues, Tissues- use them to open doors in the bathroom to keep hands clean as well as wiping your mouth (as opposed to using your hand, gross!) and catching a sneeze.
  • Have Vitamin C handy- Luckily, you can get your daily dose of Vitamin C through orange juice, oranges, and lozenges. Halls makes tasty Vitamin C drops that not only boosts the immune system but also sooths sore throats.
  • Hand Sanitizer- some areas at your college will have stations with free standing hand sanitizer machines. If you are unable to get to a bathroom to wash your hand, the next best thing is your own personal hand sanitizer. It will kill most of the germs on contact.

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If you unfortunately come down with the common cold, fever, or the dreaded flu, there are certain steps that you can take to get better quickly.

  • Drink plenty of fluids- liquids will help replace some of the fluids lost due to a fever or other ailment.
  • Sleep and rest as much as possible- the body needs time to recuperate and while you sleep, your body works to heal itself.
  • Take over the counter pain relievers- this can include Tylenol or Advil. It’s helpful for reducing fever, pain and body aches.
  • Eat and drink healthy- you can help your body recover by boosting the immune system to fight the infection. Tea, especially green tea, with organic local honey (for nutritional benefits) will sooth your throat and help heal the body.

It’s important to note that not all infections can be treated in this manner. Only illnesses that are bacterial need antibiotics prescribed for your doctor. Unfortunately for viral infections, you will need time for your body to fight them naturally.

HOW TO: Do Laundry in College

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Prepare: Make sure to put all your dirty clothes in a hamper or basket (get one that’s easy to carry, its possible you will have to carry it up and down stairs). Also, buy detergent that works with all your clothes (and separate bleach if you want, but I don’t). Make sure you have either quarters or whatever you need to pay for the campus laundry machines, before you head down.

 Step 1: Separate out your white clothes from your dark clothes (if you want- I personally just put everything in on cold and it usually works fine). You should also make sure to take out anything that says “Dry Clean Only.”

 Step 2: Put whichever load you are doing into the washing machine.

 Step 3: Make sure to put the detergent in the right place (because sometimes you don’t and then it will come out feeling weird….).

 Step 4: Put the machine on the right settings. (I tend to always put on delicate cold, but that’s just me- if you took the time to separate your clothes, look at the tag and see what it says.)

 Step 5: Pay the laundry machine to do your bidding.

 Step 6: Turn on the machine. Stay until you can see (or hear) that the machine is on and laundering your clothes.

 Step 7: Set a reminder on your phone for however long the machine says it will take. If it doesn’t, set it for about 45 minutes. That way you can come down and check on your clothes and hopefully not find them left on top of a dryer with a couple wet socks having fallen off, gathering dust on the grimy laundry room floor.

Step 8: Transfer your clothing to the working dryer. (It may take a few tries to find out which machines work and which machines don’t dry your clothes no matter how much money you give them…) OR bring your wet clothes to your room and set up a drying rack, but I DON’T recommend this as it takes up a lot of room and for a long time.

 Step 9: Set the dryer to the right settings.

Step 10: Give the machine your money for the hope of dry clothing.

 Step 11: Repeat step 7, but with only the possibility of dry clothing ending up on top of the dryers.

 Step 12: Make sure that your clothes are dry. Having to run it twice isn’t abnormal, more than that is- if you have to, move it to a different dryer and hope that one works.

 Step 13: Bring the hamper/basket upstairs and IMMEDIATELY fold and/or hang up your clothing. Or don’t. But then you’ll be living out of your hamper and not have a hamper to put your new dirty clothes in.

The End – Congrats you have done laundry in college!

Saving Money During the School Year: Tips and Tricks!

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1. Get a job over the summer to save up some extra cash!   Even a part time summer job can save you a decent amount of money for the school year and anything helps.  This can be your spending money for your time at school!

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2. Stock up on essentials before you leave for school.  Go to places like Walmart and Target for your shampoo, soap, other toiletries, and cleaning supplies.  Or try wholesale stores like Costco and BJ’s—buying in bulk will save you money in the long run and you won’t have to worry about buying those things when you’re at school.

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3. Right before heading off to school, figure out exactly how much money you have saved up so you can plan out your budget.  Then, set a weekly or monthly budget for yourself and stick to it!

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4. If you have a meal plan, take advantage of it!  Limit yourself to only going out to eat or ordering in a couple times a week so your cash doesn’t disappear too quickly.  Going out to eat too often will start to add up so be careful!

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5. Live off campus.  Room and board is often very expensive and living off campus can save a lot of money.  Splitting rent and groceries with roommates will be cheaper in the long run.

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6. Buy or rent textbooks online (www.eCampus.com is a great option!)  The books at your school’s bookstore will set you back a lot of money and the amount of money you can save buying or renting online is astronomical!  Do some research and find your cheapest option.

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7. If you need furniture, kitchen supplies, or other apartment essentials, ask family and friends if they have anything they’re not using or plan on getting rid of to save some money.  Once you’ve done that, see what else you need and go shopping online or at discount/budget friendly stores.  You don’t need to splurge on your college apartment!

3 Tips for Surviving Fall Semester

It’s about that time again where the new school year looms dauntingly overhead.  Nearing the end of swimsuits and late night rendezvous in replace of studying and hitting the alarm 3 times before rolling out of bed. Yes, it’s the fall semester and while you’re frantically rushing to class, were helping you retain some of that cool ocean chill all year round. Get your head in the game because it’s going to be a long semester.

1. Get Plenty of Rest

3 Tips for Balancing Fall Semester | Get Plenty of Rest

This could be tricky but it’s doable. You’re loaded with midterms or finals and you must study to pass but you’re working or crunched for time. The only likely scenario is to study late into the night, every night with little sleep. If your experience is similar, don’t fret. The perfect solution is to start early. In order to get plenty of rest, start studying weeks in advance. The rule of thumb is to study the amount of hours you have a class per week. For instance, if you have a class that meets three hours per week, the allotted amount of time you should spend studying that subject each week is 3 hours.

2. Pick Healthy Foods

3 Tips for Balancing Fall Semester | Pick Healthy Foods

At every college campus, there is an ample amount of convenient food, but choosing the right convenient food matters. Ditch the candy, ready-made pizzas and chips for something more filling.  Assorted nuts are packed with healthy fats, minerals and protein to keep you full during long lectures. Sustained energy can also help keep you alert if you find yourself drifting. Fruits are also an easy on the go snack filled with brain boosting nutrients that can help curb that sweet tooth we just can’t seem to get rid of. Try eating a banana for the amino acid tryptophan; it has been linked to aid memory (great for studying!).

3.  Hit Your Campus Gym

3 Tips for Balancing Fall Semester | Hit Your Campus Gym

Hitting the gym is a no-brainer for optimum health, but did you know it can actually help achieve higher grades? One study found that students who frequented the gym had higher GPAs than those who did not. Those who work out regularly have better memory, better test scores and tend be better at managing their time. So don’t sweat the upcoming semester; just sweat at the gym!

I hope these tips help you have the best fall semester yet! Have any comments? Leave them below!