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17 Aug 2012
advanced higher art exam
Exam results in – off to art college?

As A level and higher art and design results come in thick and fast now, some of you will be lucky enough to know that you’ve secured a place at art college if you’ve a conditional offer. Some of you in Scotland might be staying on to sixth year to do advanced higher art. Others will be off to your local further education college to do an art foundation course or similar.

But those of you who haven’t got plans, please download and read our FREE eBook ‘What to do if you don’t get in’ – this short 5 page eBook covers practical advice on what you should do if you want to apply again. We recommend that to get the most out of this eBook that you buy it as soon as you hear that you’ve not been accepted at art college. 

I’m keen to explore the issues surrounding the application system for art and design students as it is very different to that of other subjects. Not only do you have to meet the entry requirements in terms of exam grades (A level or higher art and design). But then you need to write a cracking personal statement, prepare possibly a digital portfolio and if selected for interview, attend this with your amazing portfolio and impress the socks off the interviewers. This seems like so many hoops to jump through and I know that this is the only way to ensure that the colleges get the best students on board.

It seems so straightforward if ‘all’ you have to do is meet the exam entry requirements – job done. But even if you get top grades at A level or higher art and design this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get a place at art college; your art college portfolio must be pretty damn fine too. You would think that surely if a student gets an A in art at school then their portfolio will be what the art colleges’ are looking for. But sadly I don’t think that the 2 curriculums (that of the school and the universities/art colleges) are particularly well aligned. This doesn’t always provide a seamless transition from school and higher art and design onwards.

This issue is something that cropped every year during interviews when I was assessing portfolios at entrance level. The main factor lacking in portfolios was this issue of individuality. We would often see that applicants from one school would have pretty much the same portfolio in terms of content from their higher art and design, just of a varying standard; a still life of bowls, a self portrait, a landscape, a clay project etc….what does this say? I think it says that these students are doing what they have been asked to do by their teachers and not much more. But this is the issue here, you must do more, I beg you to do more, I implore you to do more if you want to win that place at art college.

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Read our eBook ‘Creating a sensational portfolio’ to find out more about how you can create a personal portfolio to go with your cracking higher art and design grades. We’re also working on a range of eCourses that will be available to download soon that will take you through some amazing techniques, introduce some fabulous artists to you and hopefully knock the socks off them at interview!

Take a look at our Pinterest page to see our collection of artists that we discuss in our eBooks, choose the board that corresponds to the name of the eBook. Happy days!

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