Now there never going to be the formal put together interviews that your expecting, unless its a posh university. Most of the time I got locked in a room for hours with other interviewees waiting. Be warned if you don’t live too far away or you’re a fellow sufferer of the surname being near the bottom of the alphabet then you’re not getting out anytime soon. So if you’re taking the train get tickets for a few hours after the interview is supposed to be over. I’d take the sentence of being locked in the room to get to know people, and I don’t mean in the hypercompetitive way, they could be in your class so it’s nice to see a friendly face. I kept bumping into a few people on ‘the interview circuit’ and it’s really good to see what other foundations are doing and to see them get offers where they want.
For me the interviews were in Costume design and making, I applied at UAL, NTU, Edinburgh and Huddersfield. I had a backup of Fine art at Manchester school of Art as that’s my local university. I got an offer from Huddersfield and unconditional’s from UAL NTU and Manchester. But here’s a tip please oh please don’t screw up as badly as I did on
the application forms with UCAS (the board which you send the application through). I was so stressed about the personal statement I rewrote it and edited it at least 17 times I was consumed by it and instead I made a huge blunder with my grades. I put that my Alevels ( what you get after two years of college ) were AS levels ( what you get after only one year). I only found out right at the start of my second interview which was with NTU where I obviously freaked out and it really put me off. I called UCAS and all they could do was email the other universities.
The main problem I had was with Edinburgh, is it has an initial round of online portfolios and they obviously didn’t get any of the billion emails I sent. I got an email back saying my portfolio was accepted but my academics weren’t.. I’d rather they just said no. So please look closely at the things that really matters to the higher universities and make sure you put the right grades in and not be an idiot like me.
Fortunately for me I wasn’t too bothered about losing a place as I’m horrendous at making a decision that big. It was obvious which one I liked the best but I couldn’t let go of the other opportunities. London was by far the hardest to give up literally just because it was London, which I don’t even like. I just thought I’d have better job prospects if I went there but I realised that that wouldn’t happen if I didn’t get through the course. I think you have to consider where you’re going, what works geographically and where feels right to you because you can end up at the ‘better’ uni but it’s not the best for you
Interview advice: again I’m not an expert at this but I’ve been to a billion job interviews and trust me there nothing like university ones:
- Be polite – Just being polite to anyone goes a long way and don’t be too over friendly to the interviewers as they can smell your bullshit a mile away.
- Speak clearly – I struggle with this a lot being dyslexic but the best thing is to go in prepared with some speaking points and take your time, don’t over think it.
- Do your research – A lot if not all of them ask if you’ve been on the open days that you’ve actually seen the university and liked it. You’ll also need to know your artists it comes up.
- Don’t panic – Its just an interview your work speaks for you and so do your grades, as my mum said ‘I think their just checking to see if your a numpty of not’.
- Its speed dating – You say your interested with an application then you meet up at an interview, they see if your a good fit and then you later choose to carry on or not.
- Sometimes its shit- The interviews really put me off some places, like when they don’t tell you its a group interview/ free for all or when its literally 5minutes long as they haven’t been paid enough to stay for longer. Don’t let it put you off, their the ones being impolite, pretend you don’t notice and speed through that portfolio.
My shit show interviews ( the worse bits)
- Group interview- whoever thought this was a good idea should burn in hell, I cant deal with the competition it literally brings out the worse in people. A question would be asked and we all had to answer in turn, but its really awkward if you let everyone else go first and they’ve literally covered every aspect of the question. I had to think so out side the box it made my brain ache.
- Oh your still here- When the interviews ran too long and they didn’t realise they still had us left, so it was literally 5 minutes if that and because he was embarrassed I felt like he gave me an unconditional ( so it can work out )
- The questions- I really don’t know who thought of the questions but I remember then being really bizarre even for me, like asking what my inspiration in life is. LIFE?
- Just getting there- It can be a trek and when your nervous everything’s even more of a disaster.
- It was awkward- there were a few hyperventilating internally moments, one that stands out as being awkward was bringing up UAL foundation to UAL and getting a sharp ‘yes I noticed that…'(glares). This is what I mean by them catching your bullshit/ name dropping, but in this case I was just asking about whether the schedules would be similar so then it got more awkward as she’d thought I was being a dick.
- Lastly, not getting free food- Now this irks me more than is should but I really like food and my friends got food so it ain’t fair man, where’s the food. It was either not provided or the place was shut by the time I got out the interview, life can be so cruel.