I am 17 years old and in the middle of exploring what different art and design colleges’ graphics and illustration courses have to offer. Visiting various degree shows, as well as Free Range and D&AD’s New Blood, allowed me not only to look for inspiration, but also to get some idea of what school will best suit me.
It’s clear the colleges with the best reputations and the ones I had never heard of all started out with equally talented students. The difference I found was in the quality of teaching and the facilities offered. Looking at work from the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at Kingston University, for example, at the Free Range show in London’s Brick Lane, some of it was undoubtedly amazing, but a lot of the presentation seemed no more advanced than AS level. Central St Martins College of Art and Design seemed more professional, and it was easy to see why it is more sought after.
As I see it, these private views are a time for students and teachers to sell themselves and their colleges. Many of the more talented students were more into having fun with each other, which is undeniably tempting at the end of three years of hard work, but perhaps not the best use of one of the most important nights of the year.
As for the colleges, there were very few that approached me at D&AD’s New Blood to see what I thought of the work. The ones that did (Edinburgh College of Art, Leeds College of Art & Design and Glasgow School of Art), showed something that I really look for in a school – teachers that really care for their students and subjects. It might be good for sixth form teachers to arrange trips to these shows, so more students can have the opportunity that I have just had, which has left me excited about the future.
By Katie Scott