Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Portfolios, Personal Statements & Interviews

As the UCAS season approaches, here's a post that tries to answer those perennial questions about portfolios, interviews and personal statements...

The first thing you need to know is that we're looking for four things…
Passion: Someone who shows a passion for and interest in their chosen area of study.
Potential: Someone in whom we see potential. Raw talent! We’re not looking for the fully finished article!
Personality: Someone who has opinions and something to say. Someone we can work with productively over the next three or four years. 
Preparation: We like to see students who’ve made informed University choices, so, ave you… 
a.     Checked us out? Website, blog, Instagram, etc. 
b.     Visited us? Open day, privately arranged visit, etc. 
c.     Compared us to other centres?

We find out about these four things through your personal statement, the interview and your portfolio of creative work.

Personal statement: It’s your chance to tell us who you are, what makes you tick and what’s informed your University choices. 
Portfolio: We want to see what the you do! It’s an important way to show your skills, ideas, the pride in your work, etc. Also, we feel it would be discourteous to the you and your tutors to dismiss the fact that you’ve spent at least two years working to improve your creative skills. 
Interview: Primarily, it’s the you we offer a place to, not a portfolio, not a personal statement. Of course, all of these things are important, but talking to you enables us to draw out your passion for the subject. It also offers you the opportunity to ask us questions.

Personal Statements
This is your introduction to us.
Make it brief and to the point. Don’t procrastinate. We want to know about you, we want to get a taste of your personality. 
What are your passions, what are you interested in? Studies and extra curricular
Who are your creative influences? Who inspires you and why?
What are your achievements? Voluntary or community work; defining moments, etc
What are your ambitions? Future goals

Write from the heart, edit with the head.

The Portfolio
Remember, this is your chance to show us what you can do. You are in control of what goes in your folder and how well it’s mounted or presented, so remember, a few dog eared drawings or a notebook half filled with copied cartoons stuffed in a carrier bag probably isn’t going to send a good message. Overall we a looking for a portfolio that demonstrates a level of pride in the work and attention to detail – both in the work itself and its presentation – but your portfolio could contain...

Drawing from life – draw what’s actually in front of you; not images copied from pictures or photos, or from your imagination. 
Design projects – with an element of visual problem solving 
Art projects – painting, sculpture, installation, etc. Photographs of the big stuff, that tells us about recording skills, photographic control, pride, attention to detail, etc. 
Sketchbooks – personal drawing/sketching, supporting school or college project work, etc. 
Printmaking – avoid repetitions with minor colour differences 
Photography – Artistic ventures, not holiday snaps! 
Research, ideas and development work – thoughtfully presented as a package of roughs.

Any digital files should be supplied on a memory stick in .jpg or .pdf format, not native files.

The Interview
This is the time we get to find out about each other and we try to make it more like a relaxed discussion than an interview.

Try not to be nervous, we’re trying to get the best out of you, not trip you up or make you look foolish.
We’re trying to find out about you and your passions in life.
We don’t expect you to know it all, but we do expect you to know a little.
You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions.
It’s a 15 minute discussion, don’t be afraid to join in!

Dress code? There isn’t one, just wear what you feel comfortable in.