Your portfolio should demonstrate your creativity and potential for a particular course. It is always worth checking individual portfolio requirements for particular courses prior to submitting your work, but in general, a well-organised and prepared portfolio will always be appreciated, and will get you noticed! Here are some general guidelines...
Be prepared to adapt the portfolio according to the course you are applying to.
The portfolio should be well organised - so that whoever looks through it understands how you develop your ideas and how you move from one idea to the next. Also include notebooks and sketchbooks.
Show the range of what you can do, concentrating on recent work. Include visual and other background research, sketches, models and prototypes - not just the finished work.
It should show whatever interests you, and how it influences the work you are passionate about, for example fashion, music, or sport etcetera.
You can often submit your portfolio as a CD. If you do this, check well in advance that this is acceptable, so that the digital files can be viewed by the interview panel.
Pick work that shows ideas, skills and media that you want to explore further in the course that you would like to do. Don't include too much and avoid repetition of one kind of work. Generally 15 to 25 items for a portfolio should be enough.
An objective eye
You may find it helps to ask a friend or a tutor to look at your portfolio to see if it shows you to your best advantage.
Make sure your portfolio is clearly labelled with your name and contact details!
We look forward to seeing your work. Good luck!