morningrise
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Hi, I'm a student from South Korea studying for A levels in the UK. I'm currently in year 12, studying Art, History of Art, and Philosophy. I'm planning to study Fine Art at uni. My current plan is to apply to the following universities:

1. Oxford (Fine Art)
2. CSM (Fine Art)
3. Chelsea (Fine Art)
4. Goldsmiths (Fine Art)
5. Reading (Art and Philosophy)

Q1. Any thoughts on this list? (The reason I put in Reading is for insurance but also because they are one of the few unis that offer Philosophy along with Art.)

Q2. My main confusion is whether I should do a foundation year or not. A further complication is that, according to my art teacher, probably only the foundation courses that are integrated into a degree (as year 0 or something) will be possible, due to visa problems as an international student. How realistic is it to get into the unis above without a foundation year?

Q3. As for my skills, I often hear from my art teachers that I've got great concepts but need to improve observational drawing. I prefer more abstract, conceptual, and philosophical side of art, and I heard from one of my teachers that Goldsmiths might suit me because of this. I'm also academically strong and usually get predicted A or A* in the reports. What do you think? Which art college do you think would be the best for me (if I can get into them of course)?

Q4. My art teacher says that Slade School of Art in UCL is about 5 times harder to get into than Oxbridge. I didn't put it on my list because of that. To what extent is this true?

Q5. My gut feeling is that aiming primarily for UAL (CSM or Chelsea) will be the best, since I like London and the atmosphere of those colleges (I have visited them). But the fact that their A level requirement is CC makes me think: wouldn't it be better to aim for somewhere that requires higher A level grades, such as UCL or Oxford, when I'm likely to get much better grades than C's? What do you think?

I know these are lots of questions. You don't have to answer all of them, please feel free to answer only the questions you want to answer.
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CerysO
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I would suggest that you tried applying to the universities you're most interested in next year, after your A-levels. There's no harm in trying to get in without having done a foundation as you may already be working at a high enough level to get in! Even if you don't end up getting the offers you wanted or you are rejected, you will have gained the experience of putting together a portfolio and hopefully some interview experience too. That would then be an incentive to apply to do a Foundation year and then to try applying to Universities you most want to go to the following year instead. By then, you should have a much higher chance of being accepted with all of the added experience and time to develop your practise further.

I applied to go to Uni in Year 13 to study Fine Art, I received 3/5 offers but the Uni I loved the most rejected me, they advised I did a Foundation year and tried again the following year. Which is exactly what I did, and I can now happily say that I have an offer and will be going this September!

I think most Universities for Fine Art courses are more interested in your actual work and what's in your personal statement, than just your grades. Often people receive lower grade offers based off the impression the rest of their application/portfolio/interview makes. Obviously good grades help because they look good and show that you're an intelligent, hard working student; but someone with an outstanding portfolio with lower grades is definitely going to stand out more than someone with a weaker portfolio with higher grades.

As to which Universities you should apply to, only you can really make that decision. I don't see any harm in striving to get accepted into the top Uni's if that's what you want to do! But don't choose a Uni purely based off of their entry requirements, they don't define how good the degree course will be or how well you will succeed. Make your decisions on what you like the most about those Uni's based off of things such as location, student life, cost of living, facilities, opportunities, module choices etc.

Just go with your gut feeling, if it doesn't feel right, don't go. You will know where you want to go deep down, it just feels different and you know it's the right decision!

I hope this is somewhat helpful!
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morningrise
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Thank you for the advice, and congratulations for the offer!
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CerysO
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No problem! Best of luck applying, I hope you end up where you want to be!
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