Argumentative Portfolio Letters

A woman typing at a computerIf you’re in a class that requires a writing portfolio, you’ll likely be required to submit a reflective cover letter that introduces your work to your audience. In some cases, that audience is your professor, but in other cases, that audience is a committee of professors.

Many times, this reflective cover letter will have an argumentative angle to it. You may be working to make the case that your work shows you have met the requirements of a course or a program and are ready to move on to the next level in your writing.

Thinking about the lessons you have learned in this area of the Excelsior OWL can help you write that letter. If you’re making an argument that your writing meets the requirements of a course or program, what examples and evidence can you provide to your audience? What examples or evidence should you provide? What tone will you take?

The following sample outline for a portfolio letter shows you how this type of writing is really persuasive and what kinds of things you might consider including in your own letter.

Of course, this is just a sample outline, and different courses and programs will have different requirements. Still, if you approach your portfolio letter as a persuasive letter, you are likely to be more convincing to the portfolio scoring committee, or your professor, that you have met the requirements of the course and are ready to move forward with your writing.

  • In your introduction, provide the portfolio committee with a little background about yourself as a writer. Don’t tell your life story, but describe some of your past experiences as a writer. Where were you starting from as a writer when you began this course?
  • At the end of your introduction, provide a thesis statement that makes a clear assertion about your growth as a writer and what the portfolio committee can expect to see in your portfolio.
  • In your body paragraphs, spend some time discussing each piece of your portfolio. Give specific examples of your work, your revision, and what you learned. Make sure you address the outcomes or goals of your course. How does your work reflect these outcomes being met? You may need several pages to make your case here. Be sure to review length requirements with your professor.
  • In your conclusion, explore your continued struggles as a writer, acknowledge where you want to go, but remind the committee that you have grown and made improvements thanks to your work in the course.

The following sample letter will provide you with even more insight on how you might approach your own portfolio letter.

Click the image below to see the sample paper in a PDF format. In the sample, scroll over the dialog boxes to learn about the strategies and techniques the author used in this sample letter. In some browsers, you may need to download or save this file to be able to utilize all of its functionality.

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