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A portfolio is working document of awards, honors, distinctions, transcripts, and work samples that you've collected over the years. The portfolio is an extremely useful tool if you're interested in challenging credits, or as a resource to use during interviews. There is a right way and wrong way to use a portfolio however. If using it to show a school what skills you have and how you've used them, it's only necessary to show them that part of the portfolio.
Likewise, if you're using a portfolio during a job interview, don't dump a three-ring binder full of stuff on the table and expect the panel to rifle through it. Instead, choose key times during the interview to bring up the fact that you have certain skills and abilities, and be prepared (with tabbed or marked pages) to efficiently produce relevant documents.
Community colleges and universities offer Portfolio courses through Continuing Education departments. If you don't already have a portfolio, and haven't been accepted into university yet, you might want to consider honing your portfolio-building skills by taking a course. It's a great self-assessment tool designed to illuminate your strengths and capabilities, while providing “proof” of your accomplishments. As your experiences grow, so will your portfolio.