i have both 11x14 + 8x10 portfolio ...
if a perspective student / applicant showed loose prints would you look at them differently than
one who would bring, trimmed and dry mounted ones?
i was always taught dry mounted in a box &c is acceptable, but loose prints ... not as much so ... i guess one looks more "polished"
i had a roomate in college applying to architecture school who had everything spiral bound at a copy shop
they looked extremely nice, and didn't cost much to present them in that form.