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People making me feel rubbish about my Art & Design A-Level subjects...? watch

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    Okay so I'm not sure if I've posted this in the correct place, sorry if not. I am quite an academic person, I achieved As & A*s in all subjects in GCSE and was taken on a trip to Oxford University as I could have maybe had the potential to study there. However my dream has ALWAYS to make a living from being creative, as an artist or a designer. My school is quite focused on Art and Design and I, despite being advised not to, was choosing from either taking the BTEC Diploma in Art and Design or taking 3 A-level Art & Design based subjects (Fine art, Textile Design & Photography). In the end I picked the A-levels. I am fully aware that this is 'limiting myself' very much and that I would never be able to apply to a prestigious university with these subjects. Yesterday I received my AS results and I achieved 3 AAA at very nearly full marks for year subject (98/100 etc). Most people are very supportive of my work and I definitely want to pursue art as a career. I would still like to attend an Art University or apply for an Art course (such as Textiles or Pattern & Surface Design) at one however people are making me very worried saying that even applying to an Art and Design based course they'd still expect me to have academic A-levels. This is frustrating because I never had any interest in pursuing any of my academic subjects despite being good at them and would have been unhappy studying them. Any reassurance, or have I really made a big mistake? Please be kind as it's worrying me quite a lot....

    Also if any suggestions or advice about Art Universities such as some of the ones in London or anything would be appreciated.
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    I think those A-levels are a perfect choice for the further courses and career that you want to follow.

    With art based courses it's mainly about your own development, your portfolio etc. My best advice would be to visit some unis you're interested in (it's nearly time to apply!) and speak to the admissions people/course leaders about your qualifications and what they're looking for - this will put your mind at rest and also give you extra advice for interview.

    Some people just don't value arts as much as other subjects. It is true that it's very hard to make a living from being an artist alone, however, that doesn't mean it's not worth studying and aiming for. There are lots of other courses which often don't end up leading to related jobs, and even many graduates from clear vocational courses or areas with plenty of jobs are unemployed or working in unrelated areas. The courses you seem to want to do are a little more open to different careers as well. Well done for sticking to what you want to do and are passionate about, and for working hard at it; just stay calm and explain to people that you have looked in to entry requirements and this is your passion, so you're going to carry on pursuing it. It's a negative of studying art (every subject has them!).

    xxx
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    If you are determined to follow a creative path and go to an arts uni then the subjects that you have chosen with the grades you're getting in them will be perfectly fine I've just done a year at an arts uni to do fashion and I did a mixture of alevels, you might benefit from doing a foundation year as many unis will prefer this to alevels so you'll get more offers ( I did very well at Alevel but still only got 2 out of 5 offers being advised that a foundation would of aided my application especially for london unis).
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    I'm the same. I hear it all the time: "Art isn't a real subject!" "You're not as good as someone who studies Science!" It was only today that one of my mom's friends congratulated me for doing well in my AS results, but then quickly asked what I wanted to be and seemed quite disgusted that I didn't want to get a 'real job', haha. It's laughable how much people care what I'm doing!

    Don't worry about them - nothing's ever good enough these days so you may as well enjoy what you're doing! And, who knows, you might end up earning a lot more than your peers who are studying the more 'academic' subjects. By the way - you do have to be academic to get the high grades, even in more creative subjects, what with all of the essays/artist research you have to do!

    Well done on the brilliant grades too!

    P.S - You are seriously hardworking, too, to get such good grades in coursework based subjects. It shows that you're dedicated to your subjects and that you're willing to focus all of your time and effort into them and not just around exam time.
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    Thanks so much to everyone, you have all lifted my spirits!


    I do want to go to university, possibly a specialist art one but also a highly regarded one... I want to go to one where the entry requirements are quite high but I'd still have a chance based on the subjects I study. Does anyone have any suggestions? I know the big academic focused ones are most probably out of the question for me?
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    (Original post by annls)
    Thanks so much to everyone, you have all lifted my spirits!


    I do want to go to university, possibly a specialist art one but also a highly regarded one... I want to go to one where the entry requirements are quite high but I'd still have a chance based on the subjects I study. Does anyone have any suggestions? I know the big academic focused ones are most probably out of the question for me?
    The easiest thing is to use the UCAS big book (or website if you prefer) to find all unis that do a course you want, then cut down by 1) Do they accept your qualifications? 2) Location 3) Your General opinion of the uni.

    Then you can look in further detail at the remaining ones to choose.

    Xxx

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    (Original post by annls)
    Thanks so much to everyone, you have all lifted my spirits!


    I do want to go to university, possibly a specialist art one but also a highly regarded one... I want to go to one where the entry requirements are quite high but I'd still have a chance based on the subjects I study. Does anyone have any suggestions? I know the big academic focused ones are most probably out of the question for me?
    I'd say it's still worth applying to Oxford if that's a place you'd like to go. The art department is really laid back about grades/subjects and only have the AAA requirement because they have to. The tutors seemed quite bitter about it.
    The only other Art course that is respected in the art world and also has higher entry requirements is Slade/UCL (ABB).
    There is Edinburgh with BBB, and you'd have a wider range of courses other than Fine Art if you decided on a more specialised path such as painting, textiles or animation.
    Although Goldsmiths doesn't really have any grade requirements, you tend to find most art students there got As. You'd need to do a foundation course first though.

    Apart from those, I think you'd be sacrificing your art education for somewhere with high grade requirements. Places like Loughborough, Lancaster, Leeds and Kent all require something in the realm of AAB, but they don't have good reputations for fine art and some really don't seem to know what they're doing. (I was, however, very impressed with Loughborough's textiles degree show this year) Other places that are good for art include Saint Martins/Chelsea/UAL, Glasgow and Brighton.

    I hope this helps.
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    (Original post by HelveticaBold)
    I'd say it's still worth applying to Oxford if that's a place you'd like to go. The art department is really laid back about grades/subjects and only have the AAA requirement because they have to. The tutors seemed quite bitter about it.
    The only other Art course that is respected in the art world and also has higher entry requirements is Slade/UCL (ABB).
    There is Edinburgh with BBB, and you'd have a wider range of courses other than Fine Art if you decided on a more specialised path such as painting, textiles or animation.
    Although Goldsmiths doesn't really have any grade requirements, you tend to find most art students there got As. You'd need to do a foundation course first though.

    Apart from those, I think you'd be sacrificing your art education for somewhere with high grade requirements. Places like Loughborough, Lancaster, Leeds and Kent all require something in the realm of AAB, but they don't have good reputations for fine art and some really don't seem to know what they're doing. (I was, however, very impressed with Loughborough's textiles degree show this year) Other places that are good for art include Saint Martins/Chelsea/UAL, Glasgow and Brighton.

    I hope this helps.
    It really does help - Thank you so much!!!

    I was under the impression that for slade you had to have an extra AS like 3 A Levels and 1 AS level? Could have misread this somewhere though.
    As much as I loved visiting oxford university and would love to go there, I've kind of thought that it's so competitive and they'd want me to have some sort of essay based subject like English because the course is quite Art History based also..? I don't know if it's worth using up one of my options on despite that I'm predicted to come out with 3 A*s.

    I really do like the look of goldsmiths though and I've booked myself into an open day there in the next few months. And CSM is also a place I'm interested in. My only problem is where I'd complete a foundation course. It's not ideal for me to complete it where I live now as my parents would like to move away and I heard that you can't get a loan for accommodation for a foundation course? (Also may be something I've misread) So I don't know where I'd live or how I'd fund living there!

    I really wish I could skip over it some how, in any cases can anyone ever go straight into a BA course at these unis?


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    (Original post by annls)
    It really does help - Thank you so much!!!

    I was under the impression that for slade you had to have an extra AS like 3 A Levels and 1 AS level? Could have misread this somewhere though.
    As much as I loved visiting oxford university and would love to go there, I've kind of thought that it's so competitive and they'd want me to have some sort of essay based subject like English because the course is quite Art History based also..? I don't know if it's worth using up one of my options on despite that I'm predicted to come out with 3 A*s.

    I really do like the look of goldsmiths though and I've booked myself into an open day there in the next few months. And CSM is also a place I'm interested in. My only problem is where I'd complete a foundation course. It's not ideal for me to complete it where I live now as my parents would like to move away and I heard that you can't get a loan for accommodation for a foundation course? (Also may be something I've misread) So I don't know where I'd live or how I'd fund living there!

    I really wish I could skip over it some how, in any cases can anyone ever go straight into a BA course at these unis?


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    Glad I can help!

    Oh yes, you do need an AS for Slade. Whoops! I forgot you only did three AS levels. If you really like the look of it then it's still worth applying as they'll always take your portfolio over your academic achievements, but as only 3/4% of people get a place each year I think you'd have to be really good for them to think it's worth the paperwork.

    Oxford is a very theoretical course, and I think it's the only art course in the country that has exams (except maybe Edinburgh's Fine Art course). This might mean that it's simply not the right course for you if you don't like the writing side of things. It might be worth asking about it on an open day. About 15% of people get an offer I think.

    I'm starting Goldsmiths in September, so I hope you enjoy your open day. They accept about 10% of applicants. I don't know the statistics for CSM as I didn't apply there, but I think it's still very competitive, so if you're worried about using up your choices on competitive places then you might not want to apply to all of these.

    As far as I know it's only the UAL colleges (CSM) and Goldsmiths that are still adamant about applicants having a foundation course. Saint Martins says they will consider exceptional candidates without, but apparently they accepted two people straight from school two years ago and they both dropped out in the first term, which now makes them even more wary. A friend of mine who applied this year without a foundation course was turned down, despite her being 21 (could no longer do a foundation for free) and they clearly liked her work as they offered her places on a lot of other UAL courses (foundation, photography, drawing, etc).
    You can't get a student loan for accommodation in the foundation year. I know that some people who need to do get around this by going to a university which includes a foundation year (I know Edinburgh have this, but it is another competitive course with about 10% getting an offer). You can then transfer somewhere else after the first (foundation) year if you want to. But this does mean paying an extra £9000 in fees (although your loan will cover this).

    Most places will recommend a foundation, but I don't think anywhere else actually requires one. Many people on my foundation course ended up going to Loughborough, which I got into when I applied straight from school. If you work very independently already, and you've tried a lot of techniques such as textiles, printmaking or ceramics, then there is no need for a foundation. You may also instinctively know that something like printmaking isn't for you (I really hate printmaking ). Personally I got nothing out of my foundation course, but I know people who said it changed their lives. It really depends on the individual.

    Wow this got really long...
    To summarise, Goldsmiths and CSM require a foundation, Edinburgh has a built in foundation year, no where else requires one but they recommend it. You'll hopefully be at an advantage portfolio wise as you don't need to worry about other subjects and you can just work on your art.
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    Thank you so so so much for taking the time to write all that for me - it's an unbelievable amount of help. I really needed someone to just explain all of that exactly how you did.
    I will take everything you've said on board - I've booked all my open days and will start writing my applications ASAP
    Thanks again!


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