Spend a little time poring over university prospectuses and you’ll quickly discover a huge choice of courses.
Creative degrees are eye-catching, but what sort of opportunities might courses such as fine art, design or creative writing offer?
We got together with the team at Falmouth University, one of the UK's leading creative institutions, to find out what you can get out of a creative degree.
Challenge your imagination
Got a beautiful mind? Use it! Creative programmes are designed to give you practical skills but also to question and develop the way you think. They'll help you harness your innate creativity and point it in the right direction, as well as stretching you in ways you might not expect.
"Falmouth gave me the help, support and knowledge to approach design in a completely new and exciting way," says Tom Raffield, who graduated with a BA(Hons) in 3D design for sustainability. "It also gave me the skills and experience to set up my own creative enterprise straight after finishing."
Prepare yourself for future industries
It's an exciting time for the creative industries. Advances in technology and new ways of thinking and working mean that many of the roles prospective students might go into haven't even been created yet.
That means good employment prospects, of course, but also fresh challenges. A creative degree will give you the future-facing skills you need to really play a part in the industry to come – and with graduates still predicted to earn an average of £100,000 more than a school-leaver over their working lives, that future is bright.
Develop vital communication skills
Being a clear and effective communicator is a vital skill in every walk of life, and it's something that creative degrees have been helping students develop for years. Whether they're working on collaborative projects, engaging in group discussions or presenting to classmates, creative students are sharpening their communication skills.
In open study environments like Falmouth, the process carries on outside of the classroom. "There’s a diverse, friendly student population and lots of interaction between different students on different courses," explains Gideon Goldberg, a BA(Hons) graduate in broadcasting.
Connect with industry and top thinkers
However immersed you are in your student experience (and that's part of the fun, after all), universities don't exist in bubbles. Being in touch with the industries you hope to go into – through guest lectures or work placements, for example – will stand you in good stead when it's time to go out into the working world.
"I was offered a job with Waterloo-based design agency, Smith & Milton after spending a month with them on placement," says Falmouth graphic design graduate David Taylor, who went on to help design packaging for Crabtree & Evelyn. "It wouldn’t have happened without the placement."
Turn your passion into your profession
Creative institutions like Falmouth offer tangible things such as work experience, placements, state-of-the-art equipment and the chance to develop technical skills relevant to your area (from IT and cinematography to painting with oils).
But just as important is the opportunity to make a career out of something you love by putting those skills to work. It really happens: Falmouth alumnus Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is a Turner Prize nominee this year, and others have successfully turned their passion into their living, exhibiting at venues from the MoMA, to the Royal Academy, London.
Study a subject you enjoy!
Perhaps the best reason to study a creative subject is because, if you have a passion for it, you'll enjoy the study experience more. To get the very most out of your time as a student it helps to be in a supportive environment. For creative subjects (and finely-tuned creative minds) in particular, the right surroundings are vital, so be sure to research prospective unis carefully and find the right place for you.
Do that and you'll be on the path to happiness, suggests Falmouth fine art graduate Tim Shaw, now one of the UK's leading sculptors. "Cornwall gives you the space and peace to create something. Studying here is a marvellous opportunity in a truly marvellous place."
Visit the Falmouth University website to find out more
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