Senior Portfolios and Exit Interviews
All PTW Track II majors are required both to prepare a senior portfolio and to participate in an exit interview before graduation.
Most of the material for your portfolio will come from work you did in your RHET courses, starting from the time you entered the major. For this reason, it’s important for you to save electronic copies of everything you write. (Please make backup copies to protect you from disk problems.)
Getting Help with Your Senior Portfolio
Every semester, the department offers at least one workshop to help you prepare your portfolio; this workshop is announced each semester by email on the PTW-Info listserv.
We also recommend that you take RHET 4390 (Colloquium in Rhetoric and Writing) during your final fall semester before you graduate, if possible. The senior portfolio is one of the graded writing projects in RHET 4390 – so you can actually get credit for doing the portfolio as part of a class, instead of having to complete it entirely on your own time.
Answers to the most frequently asked questions about senior portfolios and exit interviews are listed below. After you read through this material, if you have additional questions, please email the PTW-Info listserv (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact the chair of the Senior Portfolio Committee, Dr. Karen Kuralt (email@example.com).
Portfolio Due Dates
Portfolio due: Monday, Nov. 14
Exit interview: Dec. 6 - Dec. 14
Spring and Summer Graduates
Portfolio due: mid-April
Exit interview: early May
Your portfolio should be comprised of six writing samples. Five of these pieces will come from writing courses you took during the major; the sixth (the reflective cover piece, discussed later in this site) will be the only new material you write for the portfolio.
Three of your samples must come from the undergraduate core courses. That means you need one sample from each of the following courses.
- RHET 3315: Persuasive Writing
- RHET 3316: Writing for the Workplace — or — RHET 3326: Technical Writing
- RHET 3317: Nonfiction Writing
The last two writing course samples may come from any two other RHET courses of your choosing. We recommend that you choose pieces that represent your greatest learning or that help us see your strongest writing as you prepare to graduate.
A few tips for choosing your content:
- Please include only clean copies of your work no teacher comments should be visible. The portfolio committee does not want to be influenced by what your instructors thought of the samples you’ve chosen.
- Choose samples of moderate length. If you have written a very long piece (more than 20 pages) that you want to show us, you might consider including just an excerpt of it in this portfolio – the section that you like best, or that you think is most representative of your development as a writer.
- Samples of collaborative writing are allowed. You may include pieces that you produced as part of a group project. The committee enjoys seeing these kinds of samples because we strongly believe that our graduates should develop team writing skills. Be prepared to discuss the role you played in your group’s process in your reflective cover piece.
- Multimedia samples are allowed. Not all of your samples must be traditional essays or papers. You may include webpages, PowerPoint presentations, online help systems, or works on CD that include sound and video clips. You may choose to insert a CD in a pocket of your portfolio, or, in the case of a website, you may give us the URL so that we can see it online. However, we also recommend that you include a couple of printed pages of your site or help system – or the notes pages from your PowerPoint presentation – so that readers can see a sample of your work immediately even if they are not reading near a computer.
- Multiple drafts are allowed. If you think it would help us to see how your revising skills have developed, you may choose to show us an early version of a writing sample compared to a more polished later version. This multiple-draft strategy is also particularly helpful if you choose to include a sample from RHET 3301: Editing for Style and Usage. The committee would like to see the original piece you edited (with your copyediting marks) along with the revised copy.
Likewise, if you have some very short pieces (in the range of 1-2 pages) that you want to show us, give us several of these shorter pieces so we can get a good picture of your ability. (For example, for Writing for the Workplace, you might include several examples of correspondence, or both a brochure and a resume. A resume alone, however, is not considered a sufficient writing sample.)