University Honors Program

University Honors Program

Learning Portfolio Documentation Guide

How can you capture the essence and the value of the experience you undertook in a concise but meaningful way? Our hope is that you document your learning in the most appropriate way, which may vary across experiences. It is important to note that you must cite any work you reference or sample from another source. Additionally, you must also remember to avoid posting any proprietary or confidential information (find out more here). This framework should be used as a guide and a minimum set of expectations to use when approaching the documentation process.

All honors experiences are expected to be documented in your learning portfolio within one month of completion.
Documentation has two parts: a descriptive reflection and an artifact.
(If an experience requires a reflective essay, note that this does not take the place of the descriptive reflection.)

Descriptive Reflection

This is a brief (about 200 words) statement discussing what you did, what you learned, and what you hope to do with that learning going forward. Here are some questions to think about in crafting your statement.

  • Thinking about what you did, describe the experience for someone who does not know anything about it:
    • What was the experience?
    • When and where did it take place and who was involved?
    • What was accomplished and/or what was the outcome(s)?

  • Thinking about what you learned:
    • Why did you choose to engage in the experience?
    • How did the experience meet or exceed (or not) your expectations and why?
    • Why/how does this experience connect to your prior experiences?

  • Thinking about what you hope to do with that learning:
    • Why was the experience meaningful?
    • How might it inform your future intentions?
    • What prior knowledge that you held was most helpful and what new, transferable knowledge have you acquired?


This is something that represents your experience accompanied by a caption explaining its connection to your learning and why you chose to feature it.

  • Include a link to a downloadable version of this artifact in its original form (e.g., Word document, PDF, high-quality image, PowerPoint file) and/or embed the artifact directly onto the page.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all approach to artifacts; each experience may have a different artifact that makes sense for it.
    • Examples of artifacts include: class projects, final papers, presentations, videos, reflective essays, photo galleries, sketchbooks, blogs, journal entries, etc.
  • It is important to note that you must cite any work you reference or sample from another source. Additionally, it is necessary to avoid posting any protected, proprietary, or confidential information. Find out more on our page concerning these issues.

Showcasing Experiences and Activities Beyond University Honors

We also encourage you to document other significant experiences that you have, whether those happen within University Honors, at UC, or more broadly as part of your growth and development as a person. Remember, your portfolio is available to anyone who wants to learn more about you, including professors, letter of recommendation writers, graduate school admission officers, potential employers, etc., therefore, it is important that your documentation provides context for what you did and what you learned in a succinct manner.

The University Honors advising team will review learning portfolios beginning on July 1, as part of the annual honors progress review process. Please us know if you have any questions or concerns.