So, you've just finished 5th year at school (here in Scotland) and you've achieved your Highers. So that means that you're possibly qualified for entry for art college in Scotland.
Each year, when I have students visit for their mentoring sessions, more often than not they are at school in the 6th year studying for their Advanced Highers. I wanted to write this blog post for those of you who aren't quite at that stage yet, maybe you're in 4th or 5th year.
This blog post coincides very well with a fabulous email we received today from a very proud Mum that we met whilst doing our presentation/information evening at Dundee Contemporary Arts last year.
© Rosanna Dyke 2018
"Hi Julie, just wanted to drop you a note after reading your post regarding successful entrants to courses.
We met a few years ago when Rosanna and myself drove down to Dundee from Inverness to attend your portfolio talk and then we briefly met at the John Byrne Awards the previous year.
As a keen follower of your page and having downloaded your eBooks we have been very aware of the difficulty in gaining a place to any course, particularly when focusing on only Scottish Universities.
Rosanna has worked very hard in every area of her application. She took the decision to leave school in 5th Year and live in Ullapool in order to go to Bridgehouse Art portfolio course. Around 15 mixed age students attend an intensive 16 week course. Three ‘young ones’ were applying to study art.
Taking on board all the advice you shared Rosanna has been in a extremely fortunate position and has had an offer to study textiles from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and Dundee (DJCAD).
We really could not be more happy and grateful for the eye opener from those years ago. It has been the main focus for several years taking every opportunity to go on courses, gain work experience, visit exhibitions attend ALL degree shows. Take part in ECA and GSA summer school and follow a path which really is unconventional to the usual degree applicant.
There was no mention of Duke of Edinburgh awards in the personal statement or prefect duties; there was no space for that as there was too much art to talk about.
© Rosanna Dyke 2018
Had we lived nearer to yourself we would have used you more. Luckily the tutors at Bridgehouse, Eleanor White and Kittie Jones were fantastic. All the pupils have been offered a place.
So to finish off I would like to say you have played a large part in Rosanna’s success, she has accepted a place at GSA, her first choice, although it was a difficult decision to have to choose where. Had we only followed the direction the school would have taken her, I am 100% sure she would not be in this position now.
Thankyou for all your advice and input albeit not something you may have been aware we were using………and just because Rosanna has a place now doesn’t mean we will stop following your posts!!!!!
Best wishes to yourself and your other students."
What we're driving at here is that it's not always the best option to stay on at school for Advanced Higher Art if you're unsure. There are many factors that go into making this decision:
1. are you absolutely sure that art and design in the only route you want to take?
2. are you hoping to use 6th year to take more highers?
3. does your school have a good record of getting students into the college/uni that you want to go to? (this is not necessarily the same thing as your school having a good reputation for getting A grades at Advanced Higher)
We spoke to a different student last year who had mentioned the idea of going to Further Education College to one of their teachers, who had said to them that they were "too clever" to go to Further Education College! This is not really the issue – it's not about being too clever and this isn't helpful to anyone. There are better ways for some than others, dependent on your subject discipline and choice of destination. If your school doesn't have a good rate of success with the art colleges/unis then it's a wise idea to take a look around, as Rosanna did, to other options.
This is part of the reason that we have developed our PLAN, CREATE, SUCCEED online course – to reach students who aren't geographically placed to be seeing us for mentoring but really need assistance with the whole process of creating a portfolio and making the UCAS application. I can't emphasise just how competitive Glasgow School of Art and Edinburgh College of Art are.
If you're really unsure what to do, what's best for you, then please do get either pick up the phone and give us a call (07815 810797) or email us to arrange an appointment.
We can help to iron out any issues or uncertainties that you may have. In the end, the decision is yours but please make this decision with as much accurate knowledge as possible.
Also published on Medium.