Applying/going to London Art Schools (Slade, etc)? AMA

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uranusrising
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#1
Hi Guys,

If anyone needs some advice on getting into London art schools- such as the Slade, Goldsmiths, Chelsea, Royal Academy, RCA etc. I would be happy to help with portfolio, interviews, or other questions etc. I know a lot of ex-grads who are doing well today too.

I did my BA and Masters at the Slade school of Fine Art, and have taught at several art unis in London and other cities.

Feel free to ask or just start up a conversation, I'm interested to hear what younger artists are up to these days! :-)

Edit: My work/info- https://www.instagram.com/tintin_cooper/
Last edited by uranusrising; 2 years ago
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Letsbuildacar
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(Original post by uranusrising)
Hi Guys,

I'm preparing to start blogging on young artist issues, so am doing a bit of research on forums.

If anyone needs some advice on getting into London art schools- such as the Slade, Goldsmiths, Chelsea, Royal Academy, RCA etc. I would be happy to help with portfolio, interviews, or other questions etc. I know a lot of ex-grads who are doing well today too.

I did my BA and Masters at the Slade school of Fine Art, and have taught at several art unis in London and other cities.

Feel free to ask or just start up a conversation, I'm interested to hear what younger artists are up to these days! :-)
Howdy. I'm applying this year for fine art at the big ones in London. Slade, CSM, Goldsmiths maybe a few others. What do they look for in a successful candidate and will being a 31 year old mature student go against me? Goldsmiths is my first choice but any help is much appreciated.
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uranusrising
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(Original post by Letsbuildacar)
Howdy. I'm applying this year for fine art at the big ones in London. Slade, CSM, Goldsmiths maybe a few others. What do they look for in a successful candidate and will being a 31 year old mature student go against me? Goldsmiths is my first choice but any help is much appreciated.
Hey Letsbuildacar,

Firstly, your age won't count against you, and I wouldn't really call 31 a "mature" student, so don't worry about that. The tutors on the jury will be looking for someone with their own voice and strong identity as an artist, so I think being older can (sometimes) help, especially if you've been out in the world getting real experience. Are you applying for BA or MA? For both, they will want to see a strong body of work, that isn't derivative of another artist (more so in the MA courses, including exhibiting experience). For your written statement be sure to start with a punchy sentence, and really show your vision. Weed out any artspeak and bs in the statement, as they can spot that a mile away and it will be thrown in the bin. (don't use vague sentences that everyone uses like "ever since I was a child I was always passionate about art..")

For the BAs this is usually what happens:

1) Portofolios arrive. either physical or CD/images. About 4-7 tutors, sometimes also a grad student, will be together and flip through everything super quickly, and give it a rough grade "A" "B" or "C" (or lower) and weed out the lower quality ones. Then they'll look at your written statements. They'll wittle it down to those for interviews.

2) Interviews- be ready for all the standard questions- "why do you want to come to Goldsmiths (or whatever college) in particular?" (you should be able to list several reasons, including which Staff teach there, and that u particularly like their XX work etc.)

If you prefer Goldsmiths I take it you enjoy strongly conceptual art ? Also, be prepared for quite tough crits at Goldsmiths.
Slade has a mix of conceptual, but also a great painting department, and more innovative media stuff going on too. I can't say much about CSM bc I think it has changed a lot over the past few years- from what I've heard the studio spaces are very small, and you're not really allowed to drill in walls/make much mess, or use white spirits etc. so keep that in mind if a studio space is important to you.

Pls feel free to ask anything else, it's a bit tough to say without knowing your work/style and previous experience.
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designkid23
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(Original post by uranusrising)
Hi Guys,

If anyone needs some advice on getting into London art schools- such as the Slade, Goldsmiths, Chelsea, Royal Academy, RCA etc. I would be happy to help with portfolio, interviews, or other questions etc. I know a lot of ex-grads who are doing well today too.

I did my BA and Masters at the Slade school of Fine Art, and have taught at several art unis in London and other cities.

Feel free to ask or just start up a conversation, I'm interested to hear what younger artists are up to these days! :-)

Edit: My work/info- https://www.instagram.com/tintin_cooper/
Hey!
I am an international student planning to apply for the MA Design of Products and MA Industrial Design at RCA and UAL respectively. I plan to apply for the course starting in Aug/Sept of 2020. I am currently in my Bachelor's studying design and I graduate in May'20. Any tips on how I should build my portfolio?

Cheers!
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doradylam
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hi Tintin, thanks for your post and your offer to help!

I wondered if you could help me with a few questions - I'm not sure whether I would be accepted into an MA without doing something like the RCA's Graduate Diploma course first. Would you be able to comment on this?

I'm also a bit torn between the Slade or RCA for an MA in painting. I have sent you a DM on instagram!

Really appreciate any help.

Thanks
Dora
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Letsbuildacar
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Can you take a look at my personal statement for Uni?
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lolita1234
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Hi there!I am considering in applying to Slade next year. Do you know by any chance how well I should do on my a-levels, do you think having a good portfolio is more important?also, do you know by any chance if in slade I could get to take classes at ucl?best!!
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bloated_utopia
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(Original post by lolita1234)
Hi there!I am considering in applying to Slade next year. Do you know by any chance how well I should do on my a-levels, do you think having a good portfolio is more important?also, do you know by any chance if in slade I could get to take classes at ucl?best!!
hi so from what i know grade wise they say u need ABB but i know of people who got in with way lower grades. if you get ABB you have more of a chance of getting an unconditional during ur art foundation. whereas if you have lower grades but they like ur work you get a conditional, needing to get a higher grade in your art foundation. portfolio is the most important thing seemingly.
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JulieClareRead
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(Original post by lolita1234)
Hi there!I am considering in applying to Slade next year. Do you know by any chance how well I should do on my a-levels, do you think having a good portfolio is more important?also, do you know by any chance if in slade I could get to take classes at ucl?best!!
Usually the minimum grades need to be met. However, if your folio is super-amazing I know some Unis do make offers and add other conditions to the offer. For example, if you're not qualified in English, they may require you complete an essay or similar to ensure you're able to cope with the written aspects of the course. Hope this helps. Julie
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uranusrising
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(Original post by lolita1234)
Hi there!I am considering in applying to Slade next year. Do you know by any chance how well I should do on my a-levels, do you think having a good portfolio is more important?also, do you know by any chance if in slade I could get to take classes at ucl?best!!
I'm sorry I only just saw your post! I'll try to turn on notifications now.

This is the opposite of what everyone will tell you, what you get at A-levels doesn't matter so much, except for your Art portfolio (and obviously your art a-level). When I applied I got given an offer of getting two "E" grades in my a levels, which is mainly because they wanted me to finish high school.

So it's all to do with your portfolio really. (just to get into the Slade)

BUT- if you want to be able to apply to scholarships etc. like at UCL, for funds you might want to consider doing your best on your a-levels because that can make a difference.

Once your in the Slade, you can talk to professors in other departments to sit in. it shouldnt be a problem. I think in the 1st/2nd year you also choose a subsidiary course, such as anatomy, theatre design, etc that you do alongside History of art. ( but this might be different now, as i went a long time ago..)
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uranusrising
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(Original post by doradylam)
hi Tintin, thanks for your post and your offer to help!

I wondered if you could help me with a few questions - I'm not sure whether I would be accepted into an MA without doing something like the RCA's Graduate Diploma course first. Would you be able to comment on this?

I'm also a bit torn between the Slade or RCA for an MA in painting. I have sent you a DM on instagram!

Really appreciate any help.

Thanks
Dora
Hi Dora, I'm not sure what you mean? If you have a Bachelors you can apply straight into an Art MA course. If the subject is not related, you can make a case for it in your statement when you apply.

Both the Slade, RCA are very good for painting. Also consider the Royal Academy because there arent fees, and they give you funds.
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uranusrising
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(Original post by Letsbuildacar)
Can you take a look at my personal statement for Uni?
Hi Letsbuildacar, as I said to others I'm only willing to look through things here on the forum, publicly so that others can benefit :-) . If you would like to post a link to your statement or ask specific questions on statements pls feel free.
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uranusrising
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(Original post by designkid23)
Hey!
I am an international student planning to apply for the MA Design of Products and MA Industrial Design at RCA and UAL respectively. I plan to apply for the course starting in Aug/Sept of 2020. I am currently in my Bachelor's studying design and I graduate in May'20. Any tips on how I should build my portfolio?

Cheers!
Hey sorry for just seeing your post. I don't know much about those departments as I studied Fine Art :-) .
I can help comment if you post a link to your portfolio. best wishes
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wretchedslummy
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Hi Tintin !

That is so amazing to hear that you have been at the Slade for so long ! It seems like such a wonderful institution and is my first choice for when I will be applying in 2020.

I have a few questions:

What is the difference between the BA and BFA ? (is one more competitive than the other / does one have limited spaces)

Does the Slade typically accept more painters over other disciplines ? I am planning on taking a route in sculpture or media)

A lot of my work consists of electronics, does this put me at an advantage or a disadvantage compared to more conventional applicants like painters ?

Do you have any top tips for hopeful applicants to the Slade ?

Would you recommend that I include multiple projects in my portfolio, such as 2 of my A level projects and an extra curricular project ( all are in sketchbooks ) or is it better to have one concise project ?

What do you think makes an artist applying to the Slade stand out ?

Many thanks,

Lorelei
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uranusrising
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Hey nice to hear from you :-)

I was originally at the Slade when they only did BAs for 4 years- my feeling is that it is not very different except that the BFA is 3 years and perhaps has less essay writing ? not entirely sure, but I think it should say on the website.

I think they try to spread the number of students evenly over departments. there shouldn't be any disadvantage/advantage of you using electronics at all, as long as your work is creative and innovative, medium hardly matters. even if you join sculpture you can continue to make electronics or videos etc.

My tips- make your statement very strong and try not to just say things everyone else regurgitates.. (like "ever since i was a child / I'm passionate about..., rather show this through examples) and start the opening sentence strong too. Portfolio wise, anything that shows your very focused and driven person, or thinking out of the box. Don't be afraid to be different/confident obviously. Try to curate your works well together, and not just cram everything in.

There's no particular style, the tutors are very open to many different types of art, which is what I really liked about the Slade.
hope thats helpful :-)

(Original post by wretchedslummy)
Hi Tintin !

That is so amazing to hear that you have been at the Slade for so long ! It seems like such a wonderful institution and is my first choice for when I will be applying in 2020.

I have a few questions:

What is the difference between the BA and BFA ? (is one more competitive than the other / does one have limited spaces)

Does the Slade typically accept more painters over other disciplines ? I am planning on taking a route in sculpture or media)

A lot of my work consists of electronics, does this put me at an advantage or a disadvantage compared to more conventional applicants like painters ?

Do you have any top tips for hopeful applicants to the Slade ?

Would you recommend that I include multiple projects in my portfolio, such as 2 of my A level projects and an extra curricular project ( all are in sketchbooks ) or is it better to have one concise project ?

What do you think makes an artist applying to the Slade stand out ?

Many thanks,

Lorelei
Hey nice to hear from you :-)

I was originally at the Slade when they only did BAs for 4 years- my feeling is that it is not very different except that the BFA is 3 years and perhaps has less essay writing ? not entirely sure, but I think it should say on the website.

I think they try to spread the number of students evenly over departments. there shouldn't be any disadvantage/advantage of you using electronics at all, as long as your work is creative and innovative, medium hardly matters. even if you join sculpture you can continue to make electronics or videos etc.

My tips- make your statement very strong and try not to just say things everyone else regurgitates.. (like "ever since i was a child / I'm passionate about..., rather show this through examples) and start the opening sentence strong too. Portfolio wise, anything that shows your very focused and driven person, or thinking out of the box. Don't be afraid to be different/confident obviously. Try to curate your works well together, and not just cram everything in.

There's no particular style, the tutors are very open to many different types of art, which is what I really liked about the Slade.
hope thats helpful :-)
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c_yy
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Hi Tintin!

I'm currently finalising my digital portfolio for the Slade and I'm quite nervous about it! I know this is a long shot as the process has probably changed, but as I'm uploading my work to Slideroom, there's a box that says 'Additional details' for each document and you're allowed a total of 1000 characters, as well as other boxes that let you put in the dimensions, date and the title of the work, but on their email, they didn't say anything about writing a short introduction for your work. Do you suggest I write anything in that box?

Also, do you know if I'll be at a huge disadvantage if I haven't done a foundation year, and am only doing a 3 month foundation course at a non accredited organisation?

Thank you in advance for your help!
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uranusrising
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(Original post by c_yy)
Hi Tintin!

I'm currently finalising my digital portfolio for the Slade and I'm quite nervous about it! I know this is a long shot as the process has probably changed, but as I'm uploading my work to Slideroom, there's a box that says 'Additional details' for each document and you're allowed a total of 1000 characters, as well as other boxes that let you put in the dimensions, date and the title of the work, but on their email, they didn't say anything about writing a short introduction for your work. Do you suggest I write anything in that box?

Also, do you know if I'll be at a huge disadvantage if I haven't done a foundation year, and am only doing a 3 month foundation course at a non accredited organisation?

Thank you in advance for your help!
I'm sorry I can't tell you about "additional details", because I havn't seen the new form( are there no clear instructions)? If it's just additional details for work titles, etc. I would say only write extra about the work concept if they specifically ask about it. But if in doubt, just call up the office!

You won't be at a huge disadvantage without a foundation year if you have a good body of work to show them :-) , I also didn't do one, but I did have a lot of large, ambitious stuff to show them.

Also, I kinda forgot to mention this, but in the interviews they will ask you about the contemporary artists that you really like or influence you. It's good to start looking at some now if you're not yet sure. Best of luck!! maybe see you there next time i visit!
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c_yy
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(Original post by uranusrising)
I'm sorry I can't tell you about "additional details", because I havn't seen the new form( are there no clear instructions)? If it's just additional details for work titles, etc. I would say only write extra about the work concept if they specifically ask about it. But if in doubt, just call up the office!

You won't be at a huge disadvantage without a foundation year if you have a good body of work to show them :-) , I also didn't do one, but I did have a lot of large, ambitious stuff to show them.

Also, I kinda forgot to mention this, but in the interviews they will ask you about the contemporary artists that you really like or influence you. It's good to start looking at some now if you're not yet sure. Best of luck!! maybe see you there next time i visit!
No worries! Thank you so much for your response, it's reassuring to hear that you didn't do a foundation year! And thanks for the little tip. Fingers crossed hahaha
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JulieClareRead
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In these boxes that many colleges/unis ask for more info about the work - if they're looking for 1000 characters then I'd write a bit about your ideas and project not just describing the work or just sizes etc - help them to understand your work if you can. If you don't write anything I'd be thinking that you can't be bothered! Hope this helps.
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Artstudentstress
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(Original post by wretchedslummy)
Hi Tintin !

That is so amazing to hear that you have been at the Slade for so long ! It seems like such a wonderful institution and is my first choice for when I will be applying in 2020.

I have a few questions:

What is the difference between the BA and BFA ? (is one more competitive than the other / does one have limited spaces)

Does the Slade typically accept more painters over other disciplines ? I am planning on taking a route in sculpture or media)

A lot of my work consists of electronics, does this put me at an advantage or a disadvantage compared to more conventional applicants like painters ?

Do you have any top tips for hopeful applicants to the Slade ?

Would you recommend that I include multiple projects in my portfolio, such as 2 of my A level projects and an extra curricular project ( all are in sketchbooks ) or is it better to have one concise project ?

What do you think makes an artist applying to the Slade stand out ?

Many thanks,

Lorelei

Hi, so Slade student here.

"What is the difference between the BA and BFA ? (is one more competitive than the other / does one have limited spaces"

Difference between BA and BFA. BA is 4 years, BFA is 3. BA you have art history lectures which result in essays and a dissertation, 20% of your overall grade is based on these history and theory elements whereas 80% is based on your final year degree show. BFA have critical studies which still requires some reading of theory but instead of talking about it academically its meant to be that you relate it more to your practice, artists statements etc. In my opinion and from what other students have said the critical studies feels a bit less rigorous than the Art history element of the BA so I would recommend the BA over the BFA personally.

Other than that the courses are identical, you share the same studios, go to the same seminars, have the same tutors etc. They do not factor in which course you apply to into whether they admit you, and you can switch from one course to the other within the first term, in some cases the first year with almost no difficulty. Given that apply to the course you think suits you better. Applying to the BA or the BFA won't give you any advantage over the other, some years the BA has way more students, some years it has less, if they like you you get in whichever course you applied for.

"Does the Slade typically accept more painters over other disciplines ? I am planning on taking a route in sculpture or media)"

Yes and no. It has a large painting department but much of that is that the slade has a less hostile reputation when it comes to painting, it has a longstanding painting department even when painting was seen as less cool in the art world, so I think it attracts a lot more painters than necessarily preferring them. There aren't a set number of any discipline that get in every year and each department has tutors involved in portfolio inspection and interviews.

"A lot of my work consists of electronics, does this put me at an advantage or a disadvantage compared to more conventional applicants like painters ?"

Neither really. If it is good and interesting work is more important than the medium.

"Would you recommend that I include multiple projects in my portfolio, such as 2 of my A level projects and an extra curricular project ( all are in sketchbooks ) or is it better to have one concise project ?"

I would recommend that you put your portfolio together in terms of works not projects. We don't get projects at slade we just make work. I would say they dislike feeling like you're making 'school work', or making work because you have to/ were told to/ in a formulaic way. My feeling is that tutors feel a bit like projects are more what your school or foundation told you to do than what you did yourself. When I applied I didn't give any supporting material, not a single painting or a single drawing, no designs. I'm not recommending that, but I took them out because it didn't reflect how I work, it didn't tell them about me. If a big part of your making process is sketchbooks filled with drawings then great. But don't send them a load of still lives just to prove you can draw. Maybe somethings that were just tests are actually really interesting stand alone pieces, mount them by themselves instead of letting them get lost in showing a lot of unnecessary prep work. Things don't need to be just 'final pieces', but feeling too much like a series of project boards can make working out who you are more difficult.

"Do you have any top tips for hopeful applicants to the Slade ?"

Basically what I just said. I think the Slade want to get an idea of you as an artist more than just a student. You don't have to have everything worked out and know exactly what you're doing and have a smart answer for everything, even final years haven't worked all that stuff out so don't put pressure on yourself to be perfect. Try to give them a flavour of who you are, and make sure it doesn't feel too formulaic. For example my foundation told me to mount A3 glossy photos on portrait A1 white sheets. I sent only landscape A1 photos with no back up work because I didn't want my portfolio to look like everyone else's, to look like I was just following instructions and to show that I had ideas about how I wanted myself to be seen as an artist. I look back on a lot of that work and it was pretty cringey, but I managed to show that I had my own ideas about my work which they value a lot.

I don't check the forums much (first time in 4 years), but you can drop me a message if you want to ask any more specific questions and if I see it i'll respond. Good luck.
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