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Building Student Portfolios

Three of my children had writings published before they were freshmen in high school. These pieces were the beginning of their writing portfolios and those portfolios gave them an edge when it came time to apply to colleges. One daughter’s Christmas short story was so impressive that she won a local short story contest and a full scholarship to Westover, a prestigious all girl boarding school in Middlebury, Connecticut.

Writing teachers should encourage students to develop writing portfolios. Here are suggestions on how to get started:

Use a three ring binder with dividers for Poetry, Essays, Short Stories, and Journalism.

Set a goal to have at least one published piece in each category every year.

After publication, place a copy of the published piece in the appropriate section of the portfolio.

Publications in magazines, poetry books or anthologies should include a copy of the cover page. Online publications should include the URL.

Include only the best work when submitting applications to colleges.

Keep in mind that the fastest way to build your writing portfolio is to publish online. Paper publications are important also, but it takes much longer to submit and receive either an acceptance or rejection from paper publications. This is why I started Students Publish Here! Send me your work. I will critique it and if I think it has value, I will publish it.

If you would like to know more about the logistics of publishing your students' work at this site, please contact me. I may be reached at

I do not publish any writings that include profanity or erotica. The purpose of this blog is to help teachers teach good writing and to publish good student writing. If a piece has been published elsewhere, the publication is cited here.


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