Happy New Year everyone!
I recently worked on an interview day as a Student Ambassador, and thought that it might be helpful to share my experience of my applicant day/interview 2 years ago, as many of you will be preparing for these. I’m in my second year of BA (Hons) Fine Art and Art History, and had a really positive experience at my interview – it made me decide to choose Plymouth!
Preparing your portfolio:
For the Fine Art side of the course, I had to prepare a portfolio of my work (including work from my A levels, and any work outside of school). This initially sent me into a bit of a panic, because I hadn’t completed a ‘Foundation Diploma’ like I knew some people would have, so I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough work to show. As soon as I got started on it, however, I collected a select amount of my favourite work that I was most confident talking about, and then it came quite naturally to put things in a logical order. They recommended showing a variety of work (i.e. paintings, 3D, prints, written work), because a Fine Art course touches on lots of different areas and mediums - they want to see versatility and people that are excited to experiment. Something that really helped me was showing a few different teachers/family members/friends my portfolio – it is natural to be quite critical of your own work, but you want to show off what you are good at! They might say ‘what about that painting you did in…’ even though you didn’t think that it wasn’t good enough to show. Such works could show some experimentation, and you have to remember that other people may see them differently. Remember that it is your portfolio and you want to feel happy and confident about discussing the work. So, make sure it reflects you as a person! The interviewer will be genuinely interested in you and your work and what you will bring to the degree course.
The interview day:
My applicant day was actually my first time visiting the University of Plymouth, and I was very nervous as it was my first interview at any university! We stayed in a hotel overnight as we had driven down the night before (the journey is 5 hours). Plymouth email you all the information you need to know about times/locations/where to park etc. On the morning of my interview, they assigned me an interview time, then we had a campus tour and went to some talks about the course. As I hadn’t been to an open day, this was really helpful, and all the ambassadors we talked to were so lovely and made us feel really welcome. When it was my interview time, an ambassador took me up to the first-year studios, and we sat waiting for a few minutes before being taken to the tutor who was going to do the interview. I went through my portfolio explaining my ideas and how I work, and he asked questions about what sort of materials I’d use and the thoughts behind my decisions. It was more like an informal conversation, and he just wanted to know why I wanted to study Fine Art and Art History at Plymouth. If you want to go to Plymouth, and feel passionate about the course, they will be able to tell! A lecturer from Art History also came in and went through the outline of the Art History side of the course. She asked to see some of my written work, so I showed her an essay I had to write for my A-level Fine Art. I was worried about the Art History, because I was really interested in it, but I’d never had the chance to study it before. I had, however, done other essay-based subjects such as English and History at A-level. After looking at my essay, the Art History lecturer could see that I was capable of writing essays and was interested in the work of artists from hundreds of years ago and how it related to my work today.
Overall, the interview went a lot better than I expected, and I definitely didn’t need to be as nervous as I was. They actually told me I got an offer on the day, which was the best news! I knew from looking around the campus and the city, as well as finding out about the course, that Plymouth was the place for me! A few weeks later I got a notification for a change on my UCAS, and found out that my offer was unconditional, so I was delighted! I went to a few other interviews at other universities afterwards, but I couldn’t stop comparing the facilities and staff to those at Plymouth so I then accepted my offer and confirmed it on UCAS.
I hope this helps any of you possibly feeling worried about upcoming interviews! Just be yourself, stay calm and remember why you chose to apply to Plymouth, you’ll do great!