So, You Want To Do An Art Foundation?

Here is an outline of my situation this time last year - Fresh out of a-levels, still as passionate about art and design as I had always been but with no idea of how, or even if, I was going to turn this love into a career. No direction in terms of what degree I wanted to pursue (a business degree was still a strong possibility) but a place on the Manchester School of Art Foundation Diploma in hand.

Fast forward 12 short months and here is a brief overview of my current situation - A few months after finishing my year at Manchester School of Art where I gained a Distinction grade, I am preparing myself to move down to London to begin a degree in Graphic Design Communication at Chelsea College of Arts. My skills and knowledge have skyrocketed and graphic design feels like something I have loved for years. I have the direction I had been so desperately searching for.

And how did I achieve this miraculous change in circumstances I hear you ask? Well, I did an art foundation.

I actually got the inspiration to write this post while I was looking after my foundation exhibition over the summer. A question I was getting asked time and time again by the parents of those who were interested in applying to the Art Foundation was "is it worth it?'. By this I can only assume they meant is it worth waiting another year before beginning a full degree, and is the 12 extra months in education of benefit or just a delay tactic?

While I can only talk about my own experience and things may vary from place to place, I can honestly say hand-on-heart that my art foundation was the best thing I could have possibly done for myself. There are so many benefits and I could bang on about them for hours, but here is a list of things to consider if you're on the fence about whether or not to apply...

  • Many art courses still require applicants to have an art foundation, and if it isn't a requirement, it is often preferred.
  • A great chance to build up a quality portfolio.
  • A chance to experience what it's like to study art all day every day, before you commit to a 3 year degree.
  • It really challenges your preconceptions about certain areas in art and design, for me my interests changed radically.
  • Allows you to experience a range of ideas, materials, processes and technologies, enabling you to then identify your chosen degree with more assurance.
  • If you attend a well known school or university for your foundation, it can open up doors and give you a head start in interviews for your degree.
  • Often taught by tutors with experience in the art and design industry. This is invaluable, especially since art is often taught with, shall we say, 'varying' levels of success pre-university level, and design is usually forgotten about all together.  
  • Receive specialised advice on UCAS, portfolios, interviews and applying for art-based degrees. 
  • If you're under 19 and an EU resident - it's free!

I can honestly say I'll never forget my foundation year and the friends I made, tutors who supported me, advice I was given and skills I learnt. If you're uncertain about your chosen path, the extra year is more than worth it - I couldn't imagine going straight to degree from A-levels now. My creative skills, thinking skills and confidence in my own ability are unrecognisable from this time last year and my only wish is that I could do it all over again!

If you'd like to know a bit more about my foundation experience, or specifically the Manchester School of Art course, then the following posts are relevant. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments as well, and I will do my best to answer them!

5 Lessons I Have Learnt At Art School
A Look Inside My Art Foundation Sketchbook 
A Look Inside My Sketchbook: Remixing LOVE
Final Major Project #1
Final Major Project #2
Final Major Project #3
Art Foundation Final Exhibition (FMP #4)
Manchester School of Art Degree Show: The Private View

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