How to Integrate External Links & Portfolios in Your College Application

Including external links and portfolios in your college application can be a powerful way to showcase your talents, accomplishments, and unique qualities. However, many students are unsure about how to effectively incorporate these links into their applications.

In this article, we will provide you with practical guidance and address common questions to help you make the most out of linking external content in your college application.

Before deciding whether to include an external link, it’s important to evaluate its relevance and quality. Ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. How good is it?
  2. What does it say about you?
  3. Is it worth the reviewer’s time?
  • Some content types don’t resonate when merely described with words, such as art, photography, music, and theatre plays… If you have quality content of such types, including a link for the Admission Officers to review is a great idea! Include it only if it’s objectively good. It can hinder your chances if it’s terrible, low-quality stuff because you’re not only mediocre but also out of touch with how bad you are.
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A portrait of Drake. So bad it’s actually good.
  • You should only include things if they display your talent and show additional aspects about you that aren’t apparent elsewhere in your application.
    Be aware of red flags that might be interpreted – e.g., if your content touches on controversial/immoral things or is overly political, religious, or divisive. Also, make sure you don’t come across as juvenile, immature, or arrogant.
  • Make sure it’s worth the reviewer’s time. You don’t want the admission officers to think you wasted their time. Typically, when reviewing additional portfolios or links, their thinking process follows this pattern: “What is this?” -> “Is it of high quality?” -> “Should it affect my evaluation of this applicant?” Frequently, the answer to the last question is “It doesn’t,” and they simply proceed to the next item.
    You can make a special “best of” page or sub-portfolio just for college apps; this can help mitigate the amount of time the reviewer spends and make a better impression.

How do I know if my stuff is actually good?

Determining whether your content is genuinely compelling and of high quality can be subjective. To gain a clearer perspective, consider the following steps:

  1. Seek feedback from friends, teachers, or mentors who can provide objective opinions on your work.
  2. Post your content on relevant online communities and request feedback from strangers, such as subreddits and forums focused on your area of expertise.
  3. Compare your work to similar content online. Study and analyze other successful works to understand the standards and assess where your work stands.
  4. Examine participation and engagement metrics, such as a significant following, website traffic, or social media reach. These indicators can validate the interest and impact of your work.
  5. Trust your own judgment. If you feel proud of your content and believe it genuinely represents your best work, that confidence will shine through.

It can be beneficial if you have received recognition for your work through competitions or if trusted individuals, aside from your parents, acknowledge its quality. Additionally, your content should align with your overall skill set and demonstrate your growth, passion, and dedication.

It’s highly recommended to put your links in the additional information section. Some students prefer to include the link in their activities description, and that’s totally fine.

Whatever place you choose, DON’T use URL Shorteners (e.g.,, as reviewers like to know what’s the direct link they’re clicking on.

When including links in the additional information section, it is recommended to provide an introductory sentence or paragraph preceding the link. This introduction sets the context and prepares the reviewer for the information they will find. Since the additional information section is not a standardized part of the application, an introduction will help create clarity and highlight the relevance of the linked content.

If you present your link in a decent way, they will definitely click on it. However, they probably won’t look through all parts of it. That just takes way more time than they have.

But if you highlight it in your application and give it a good pitch, they will almost certainly look at the homepage where the link lands. You don’t need to go full clickbait, but if you just say:

“See my site here”

That’s not as compelling as:

“This link is a good representation of my graphic design and creative skills. The first project in particular displays my passion and growth as a designer.”

You can also ask your recommenders to mention your impressive portfolio/link in their LORs. That gives the reviewer another indication that it might be worth their time.

Including personal social media accounts in your college application is generally discouraged unless they are dedicated to showcasing your talent or accomplishments. Admissions officers are typically not interested in casual, personal aspects of your life, such as vacation photos or daily activities.

However, if you have an Instagram page, for example, solely dedicated to your passion, which captivates a substantial following, you may consider including it as it highlights your commitment and impact within a specific field.

If there are articles written about your achievements or extracurricular activities, you may consider including them in your application. However, ensure that the article provides contextual information and adds value beyond what is already stated in your application. Don’t include articles simply to validate what you have claimed.

It is important to link only those articles that are specifically about you and contribute new insights or perspectives.


Including external links and portfolios in your college application can be a powerful tool to showcase your abilities, achievements, and interests.

By carefully evaluating the content, strategically placing the links, and providing compelling introductions, you can effectively engage admission officers and leave a memorable impression. Remember, each link should offer something unique and valuable that enhances your overall application.

See also: How Accurate Are Online College Chance Calculators?

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