Honest opinions on UAL?Watch this thread
More about University of the Arts London
ok so I think it really depends on which course you take. I have no idea about LCC sorry! I took Fine Art at CSM and did not get along with it at all. This was because we were completely left to our own devices, and had very little support in general. Maybe this is just uni in general, but you really have to be comfortable asking for things and getting on with work on your own and just generally growing up a bit. I feel like if you're a confident person or just comfortable asking questions, it won't be a problem for you. Hope you've been able to speak to someone from LCC
Thank u sm for your reply. I have heard you need to be independent, which might be an issue for me as I’m not very good with self discipline lol. Did you find it okay making friends there? I’m worried that being in such a large city will make it harder. Thanks
+ Loads of workshops, studios, studio space, exhibition rooms, fantastic teachers, superb libraries and an overall great site location (the campus is and looks fantastic).
- While a handful of workshops will give you the odd bit of free material, you do have to (for the most part) buy and supply all of your art supplies and tools.
While there is a loan store and shop on-site, a lot of people are still unprepared for the cost of everything (as well as living in London, in general).
+ You get insane amounts of freedom
- but the schedule can get very busy/intense at times.
- Also, the system of calendars can be sometimes confusing, with changes sometimes being made very last minute.
Some people do struggle with the freedom and lack of structure, either struggling to maintain a regular habit of going to university or developing anxiety about being on campus or attending workshops. I would say only apply here if you really want to be somewhere where you are totally free but are also prepared to handle the responsibilities that come with that. If you want to have a more traditional or structured arts education experience, then this is not the place to be.
+ There are always a lot of interesting lectures, workshops and meet-ups going on.
+ The university also regularly invites genuinely famous and well-known artists to come in and do talks and many of the staff here are extremely high achieving individuals who are respected artists and curators etc in their own right.
+ There is also always a whole bunch of other stuff going on that you can apply for, such as language courses and extended year experiences.
+ The university also regularly emails people about stuff going on outside the uni, such as gallery open calls.
However it is entirely down to you to make use of these opportunities (nothing will happen if you don't make it happen).
+- The university has a habit of pushing people into the deep end, such as making students go do an off-site show and having them arrange and do everything by themselves, down to finding a venue and paying for it. This can end up being a fantastic experience for everyone involved but also very stressful at times. Nothing is done here without purpose (its all to give you real world applicable experience and help gain you confidence, etc) but not everyone copes with the leaps forward all that well.
+ However there is a lot of help with mental health stuff (lots of support services and friendly, understanding staff, etc).
+ The university is also very receptive to feedback, making regular alterations to how they do everything
- But there are very high rates of mental health issues amongst students. I don't think that this is the uni's fault though, but is rather just something that is often commonplace amongst highly creative people. Quite a lot of people seem to be going through some sort of existential crisis or other and beneath the surface, depression is very common.
+ This does not mean that its depressing to be here though! There are so many lovely, friendly people here, and the vibe for the most part is pretty relaxed/casual. A lot of people have a great time, lead very active social lives and have fun decorating their studio spaces (which are often large & sociable). If you go here, you will be surrounded by interesting and creative people from all walks of life.
Sometimes things do feel kind of disorganised here, but overall its a fantastic uni and I feel blessed to be here. I know a PHD student at the UAL who said to me that a degree from the Chelsea College of Arts was good in his CV as it was internationally recognised and highly regarded. And the university also does try to help people post-graduation.
I can't comment on what life will be like post-uni as I'm only a year 2 student, although I do (so far) feel that I am being prepared for life as an artist post-uni.
- The student halls are entirely different matter. I wouldn't recommend staying at Glassyard, the place has a lot of problems with plumbing, heating, ventilation and overall quality. The staff at Glassyard were nice but its managed by a different company (Fresh Student Living) and the UAL can't really do anything about what goes on there. In the Winter the building freezes and in the Summer it becomes insanely hot and the boilers are known to break quite regularly. The building on the outside looks great but on the inside, its quite grubby and falling to pieces because it was built on the cheap (and a lot of corners were cut)
- Price-wise its very so-so (if not, actually kind of expensive)...If you have the confidence or means, I'd recommend flat sharing in private accommodation as you'll probably get somewhere that is both cheaper & nicer. Socially, I did fine at Glassyard (lived with about 8 people over the course of a year during the pandemic and got on with all but 1) but I'm aware that some people had really nightmare experiences living with others. Kitchen sharing & hygiene is often a cause for consternation with many people in halls, as well as late night partying. Almost everyone I knew went to look for private accommodation after 1 year at Glassyard, despite it being possible to stay at halls for the entire duration of a course.
+ One benefit of Glassyard is that its very near to the Brixton Markets, which sell a lot of great produce.
- But the general area is kinda high in crime and can feel a bit sketchy at night sometimes.
+ But there is at least small corner shop where you can buy basic essentials directly by the building (so if you need to pop out late at night, you don't need to venture much).
I never went to the other halls, but general impression that I got is that they also all have a lot of issues and were very "mixed bag" deals.