Students come to UC and DAAP’s Industrial Design school for the opportunities that the historical Co-op Program provides. For IDers, what gets us these co-op jobs is the portfolio. And because of co-op, we find ourselves updating or completely reworking our portfolios every school quarter, multiple times per year. We complete the portfolio to fulfill Des Comm assignments, show our stuff to potential employers, and use our work as a representation of ourselves online or in peer networking. This makes the first 2-3 weeks of every quarter consistently stressful and busy.
But other ID students do not go through all of this! I have reviewed friends’ portfolios from another top-rated school in the US, and as seniors they tell me they are using the same graphic layout from their sophomore year portfolios. I was rather unimpressed with many of their portfolios, for the reputation of their school preceeded them. Conversely, the German exchange students from Wuppertal have consistently had excellent portfolios to show us. The common factor between these two groups is that, like most students, they have internships only once per year, usually in the summer. These schools have more time to dedicate to the portfolios and make them shine than the 2 week stints that we students at the University of Cincinnati have. And as the two examples above show, this “extra” time can either be used to create stunning portfolios, or spent on other projects and leaving average portfolios.
So as it applies to us Bearcats, there are positives and negatives to the way portfolios are developed here in Cincinnati. Because of co-op’s grip on our lives, we cannot spend inordinate amounts of time fiddling with every single element in the portfolio and making it shine. Conversely, co-op forces us to keep our eye on our portfolios and constantly refresh the work inside to make it better and improve the impression it makes for ourselves. A good balance which has led to an overall “UC” style of portfolio and which has cemented a strong reputation for our school.
Think about your portfolio from just 6 months ago: How does it look now?