I thought I’d do a post on the application process for the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. I received an offer to study on the BA course. Before my interview I only came across one post describing the interview and it was five years old, and considering I had never had an interview for an art school/programme before as I came straight from A levels, I found not knowing what to expect a little daunting so I hope this helps some of you!
Firstly what I will say is, if you’re unsure about applying because of how competitive it is, do not let it put you off. I thought I would have no chance of getting in:
- I achieved BBB at A level. Admittedly I was only 2 marks away from ABB, and when I went back in to speak to my old head of sixth form, she seemed to think that because my work was chosen to be exhibited at the Mall Gallery’s National Student’s Exhibition that it may compensate for those two marks. I also went to a Sixth Form that was in the bottom 40% and some universities do take that in to consideration.
- I do not have a foundation
- I was rejected by Brighton
- I have taken a year off due to unforeseen circumstances.
You have nothing to lose and do not know until you try.
Not long after sending my UCAS application, which I sent in mid-November (2015); I received an email inviting me to a portfolio inspection. Personally, I would book a time slot as soon as you get the email to make sure you get one. From what I could see is they had several times in the morning from Monday-Thursday during one week in February. You also have to pay a portfolio handling fee of £15 to the university via the internet.
On the day of the portfolio inspection, I think I arrived a little early but I was able to give it in as soon as I got there. They do weigh your portfolios; I think it had to be under 15kg. Then after that you leave your portfolio and they give you a time to collect it which I think was between 4-4:30 or 5-5:30pm.
I got an email on the 19th of February informing me that I had an interview, just eight days after my portfolio inspection.
My interview was on March 3rd and with me I took 3 A level sketch books, one sketch book I worked on independently on my year off, one little sketch book which I use for notes and sketches at galleries, my portfolio that had roughly 10 pieces of work in (I included life drawings but I don’t think it is imperative you have them. However if you have the opportunity to do life drawing I would 100% do it), and I also took 4 physical pieces of my work. Fortunately I don’t live too far from London so I was able to do so, but again I don’t think it is imperative to bring canvases and other large scale works a long. If you can, that’s great but it would be really difficult to travel with them if you are not close to London because a taxi would be ridiculously expensive and I couldn’t imagine how awful it would be to lug it around on public transport.
My interview lasted roughly 20 minutes in total. On the post I had read on here from five years ago, the candidate said they had to speak about one piece of work for twenty minutes. I was expecting to do this and during the interview they did tell me to hurry up because they did not have enough time. The interview structure does change so to anyone reading this post, do be prepared your interview experience may differ to mine.
I had three members of staff interviewing me, they were all really nice and did not make me feel uncomfortable at all. Unfortunately where I was so nervous I forgot their names as soon as I came out of the interview haha! Sorry!
I talked through key pieces of my work and spoke mainly about one final piece (maybe for about 7 minutes?) where the interviewers would chip in with questions and comments. From the interview it does seem they are more concerned with the final pieces as that was what they mainly questioned me about. Yet they did acknowledge my sketchbooks and asked some questions. One thing I will say that I also saw another student room user comment on is that the interviewers made references to artists of whom I had never heard of. What I just said was something along the lines of was “no I was not influenced by *insert artist’s name here* (or “them" if you could not pronounce the name like I couldn't). For this particular outcome/idea I looked at…”.
After speaking about my work they sat me down and asked me questions I presume they ask everyone:
-Why the BA as opposed to the BFA?
-At degree level, we do not work in projects like you did at A level, would you be able to adjust to this?
I have a feeling the asked me a fourth question but I cannot remember it, if it does come to me I will update this post.
They also asked if I had any questions and I thought I should ask some to seem interested. I asked something a long the lines of “what makes this fine art course stand out from the others?” and “how often do you have artists come in and speak about their work?”.At the end of the interview they took a picture of me in front of my work and I had to hold up a piece of paper with my name on it.
I was notified of my offer through UCAS on March 31st and the next day I received an email from UCL. About a week later I also received a letter from UCL and a letter directly from the Slade.
I hope this helps!! If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask, and good luck with your application! Do not be disheartened if you are not successful, although it does kind of decrease your confidence as it did when I was rejected by Brighton I have realised these interviews are to see if you suit the course. So wherever you end up will be what is best for you!
Here’s the link to the old post I was talking about, if you were interested: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1594533
Hello, my name is _fella_!
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