thescientist17
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Hey, so I want to do something in graphic design as a career. I've been told that the best place to start is on an art foundation degree? I am predicted an A in art.

However I'm so confused as to where to apply. There seems to be little information on where is best. What is the difference between art foundation degrees at universities (e.g. Oxford Brookes, Loughborough, UAL) or doing it at a local college?

There don't seem to be many universities that do it and they seem tough to get into (no way am I applying to anywhere like CSM based on what I've heard). As it's mainly based on portfolio there isn't really a way of telling what the entry requirements and standard are like! So I am worried I wouldn't get into these places. Is Oxford Brookes difficult to get into?

Then there are local colleges (my nearest is West Herts) which seem to do BTEC foundation diplomas, what is the difference? I am worried about the standard of these places as college seems to be somewhere people just mess around or people who have gone after GCSE and worked their way up the BTEC levels. How am I meant to know if the college is any good or not? Will a BTEC foundation diploma make it harder to get onto a degree?

I'm trying to find somewhere good to go to but not pressurised and hard to get into, but I can't seem to find anywhere in between a university and a college which would suit me. There seems to be no middle ground? I don't really understand college vs university.

With other subjects you can just look at the grade requirements to tell how good it is and if you have a chance of getting in plus you don't have to do a foundation.

If anyone could direct me to some more information that would be great, or recommend some places in the south east/ london area!
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Carnationlilyrose
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You are a little confused. The BTEC foundation diploma is the one year course you need to apply for art degree courses. Foundation degrees are something quite different and needn't concern us here. It doesn't matter where you do your foundation diploma - your local college is just fine. Its purpose is to build up your portfolio and to help you choose which direction you want to go in for your degree. Most decent art degrees will specify a grade you need to get from your foundation course (it's graded with pass, merit and distinction) and it's usually either pass or merit, depending on the prestige of the course/university. I don't know of one which asks for a distinction.

You can do the foundation course at some universities and this sometimes makes it easier to get onto the degree course at the same university, but all the courses are designed to cover the same ground and your local college will do it just as well. The thing to remember is that the foundation course is free if you are under 19, but doesn't carry any entitlement to student finance, so many, if not most, people do the course at their local college and live at home. It's up to you whether you are in the financial position to move elsewhere.
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alyanj
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I am also confused as I am moving to Glasgow and none of the foundation diplomas are mentioned in Scotland. GSA has a portfolio preparation that is accredited - will that count as a foundation course in England?
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Carnationlilyrose
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(Original post by alyanj)
I am also confused as I am moving to Glasgow and none of the foundation diplomas are mentioned in Scotland. GSA has a portfolio preparation that is accredited - will that count as a foundation course in England?
Things are done differently in Scotland as the degrees there are 4 years and the first year serves as the foundation year. English students with a foundation go into the second year of Scottish art degrees. As for your question, I imagine that somewhere as prestigious as GSA will have a course which will be accepted as a foundation, but I am not totally sure about this. Since I am a teacher in England, all the applications I have dealt with have been going the other way. I certainly can't imagine GSA doing any damage to your CV.
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thescientist17
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(Original post by carnationlilyrose)
You are a little confused. The BTEC foundation diploma is the one year course you need to apply for art degree courses. Foundation degrees are something quite different and needn't concern us here. It doesn't matter where you do your foundation diploma - your local college is just fine. Its purpose is to build up your portfolio and to help you choose which direction you want to go in for your degree. Most decent art degrees will specify a grade you need to get from your foundation course (it's graded with pass, merit and distinction) and it's usually either pass or merit, depending on the prestige of the course/university. I don't know of one which asks for a distinction.

You can do the foundation course at some universities and this sometimes makes it easier to get onto the degree course at the same university, but all the courses are designed to cover the same ground and your local college will do it just as well. The thing to remember is that the foundation course is free if you are under 19, but doesn't carry any entitlement to student finance, so many, if not most, people do the course at their local college and live at home. It's up to you whether you are in the financial position to move elsewhere.
Thank you, how will I know if the college is any good or not? My local college doesn't have a great reputation but I'm unsure where is best. For the degree I want to do it doesn't require merit, it's based on portfolio. So I'm trying to decide whether to stay at home and complete the foundation here or go to the university I'd like to end up at- I feel like it might prepare me better for the degree? (the degree I want to do is Graphic communication and illustration, and I've heard the foundation is more biased towards people who pick this pathway which would be good for me).

I don't know of anyone who's gone from my sixth form to a college to do it, they all go to universities which is why I'm unsure about how good college will be? I tried doing my A Levels there but dropped out after a week because I didn't feel I was pushing myself enough as the people around me were all working towards a B/C/D.. so I'm thinking it'll be all these people who have gone to college after GCSE and worked up to do the foundation? I don't wish to repeat the experience, I can't switch next time so I'd be stuck there!

I will by 19 by the time I enrol so just need to see how much it is to do it at college. Then just need to look at accommodation prices. I will apply to colleges and uni but I have to decide at some point!

I would like to move away from home but I have commitments back here so it might be better me staying at home for an extra year, but it would be possible to work around them, it's just the extra cost of accomodation putting me off and if there's a price difference between college and uni.
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Carnationlilyrose
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(Original post by thescientist17)
Thank you, how will I know if the college is any good or not? My local college doesn't have a great reputation but I'm unsure where is best.It doesn't matter much as long as they have the basic facilities. Art is an independent thing. Your work is your work and it's up to you to make it work for you.For the degree I want to do it doesn't require merit, it's based on portfolio.Well, they all are based on portfolio but the good ones will ask for a grade in your foundation course of some kind, so do check. The course carries quite a lot of Ucas points. So I'm trying to decide whether to stay at home and complete the foundation here or go to the university I'd like to end up at- I feel like it might prepare me better for the degree? (the degree I want to do is Graphic communication and illustration, and I've heard the foundation is more biased towards people who pick this pathway which would be good for me.The idea of the foundation is to cover all pathways quite intensively in the first term or so and then you specialise a bit more. If it's only really covering graphics and illustration then that's possibly a way of discriminating between a 'good' course and a 'bad' one, since the idea is to open up your skills, not close them down.).

I don't know of anyone who's gone from my sixth form to a college to do it, they all go to universities which is why I'm unsure about how good college will be? I tried doing my A Levels there but dropped out after a week because I didn't feel I was pushing myself enough as the people around me were all working towards a B/C/D.. so I'm thinking it'll be all these people who have gone to college after GCSE and worked up to do the foundation? I don't wish to repeat the experience, I can't switch next time so I'd be stuck there. If you feel happier going to university to do it, then there's no reason why you shouldn't. It often hinges on money, though.

I will by 19 by the time I enrol so just need to see how much it is to do it at college.Fortunately it is cheaper than a year's university fees, but you don't get a loan for it. Then just need to look at accommodation prices. I will apply to colleges and uni but I have to decide at some point!

I would like to move away from home but I have commitments back here so it might be better me staying at home for an extra year, but it would be possible to work around them, it's just the extra cost of accomodation putting me off and if there's a price difference between college and uni.
My two cents in bold.
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Sophiet24
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My local college is also West Herts. I've heard good and bad things, some say it's really bad and you shouldn't go there and some that it's okay. My friend is doing an art foundation there at the moment- specialising in Graphic design and she loves it! and says it's really nice.
Apparently CSM take 650 people and if you do well you have a good chance of continuing to a Ba. I am applying to Foundations as a backup if i don't get into the uni i want to go to. I'm thinking of applying to CSM UCA epsom and Kingston uni. UCA's foundation looked really nice so you should have a look!
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