Portfolio Contents

A portfolio consists of a completed information form together with the following four equally important pieces of prose writing. Papers written in school or out of school are acceptable. Papers may be revised after being returned by your teacher.

Mandy Olejnik
Portfolio Program Director

1) A Reflective Letter

The reflective letter, addressed to Miami University’s composition teachers, sets the tone for the portfolio by introducing both the writer and the individual pieces of prose writing. Readers are not expecting a narrative of your experiences and growth as a writer but, rather, evidence of the critical reflection you used when you produced and assembled your portfolio. Successful letters explicitly introduce the prose pieces and explain the purpose and audience for each. They should explain how the works demonstrate understanding of and competency with the skills outlined in the Evaluation Criteria on "Helpful Tips" page.

2) A Persuasive Research Essay

This research-based essay should be a focused, informative analysis that puts forth an argument about a specific topic. The essay should integrate multiple sources of information and demonstrate proper citation and documentation. All claims that you make should be supported with convincing examples and extensive, appropriate detail. Your essay should also examine multiple points of view and show strong evidence of critical thinking, awareness of audience, and attention to social context. Please include a title with your essay. You may find that you’ve written an essay for a class other than English that fits this category.

3) An Analysis of a Text

This essay should respond to any communicative artifact or “text.” We define “text” broadly as any written, visual, oral/aural, cultural, performative, or material object, which can include but is not limited to literature, film, performance, music, visual design, art, digital media, speech, or ceremony. The analysis should interpret or evaluate all or part of a text being sure to include historical, cultural, and/or rhetorical context as part of that analysis. Possible approaches to this response include: Analyzing textual elements; Explaining the text’s significance within a specific historical time; Comparing the text to other texts; Connecting the text to larger social or cultural contexts; Analyzing the rhetorical construction of a text. This is not a summary. Use support from the text to develop ideas and strengthen focus without overshadowing your own response. If secondary sources are used, they must be cited correctly. Please include a title with your essay.

4) Writer’s Choice

This selection may be a variety of genres and in a variety of mediums, including digital projects. This work must be created by you and could be a video, blog, web site, editorial, informal essay, multi-genre essay, narrative, or other genre of your choice. Be especially careful in your reflective letter to explain why you have included this piece, the purpose of the piece, the intended audience, what it shows about your writing, and how it works to demonstrate your abilities per the Evaluation Criteria on the "Hints" page. If the text you choose is an audio, video, or other non-word-processing file, please attach it to your submission email or include a link to your work if it is stored online (e.g. a YouTube video or blog). (Note: we cannot accept email attachments larger than 20mb.) You may choose to write about the project in your Portfolio, discussing or introducing the work, including describing the types of choices you made in the project.