Applying for university is always a stressful and nerve-racking experience, from the moment you’ve sent your application to the sometimes tedious wait for offers. You can find yourself constantly questioning if your personal statement was enough or if maybe you didn’t emphasise how passionate you were.
For many university applicants it’s as simple as paying that £23 to UCAS, sitting back and waiting for the offers or declines to come through, but for all those out there who are applying for Fashion University it is so much more than that. I am currently applying to a number of Fashion/Arts universities to study Fashion Journalism this year and I can tell you it has already been a journey, and I haven’t even received all my responses yet.
Seeing a number of my friends who have applied for courses such as Business and Management, Sociology and Biomedicine fly through the application process has been slightly depressing, but hasn’t deterred from my desire to be a Fashion Journalist.
You can visit my personal site where I have already touched on how to prepare your application and your personal statement. As I’ve already touched on those stages of the application, in this post I will focus on your portfolio and the interview process.
Let me explain to you why the process of applying for a fashion course at university is so long; it’s simple really. Unlike many other courses that focus mainly on the predicted grades of their applicants, the main focus of many Fashion/Arts universities is finding out what type of person you are, what you can bring to the university and the zeal you possess for your desired course.
In order to gather this information the application process will commonly consist of a request for a portfolio; many people get confused when it comes to the idea of presenting a portfolio for their chosen course and it is a common misconception that only students that are applying for subjects such as Fine Art, Fashion Design etc. are the only ones that require a portfolio. Although I am applying for a Fashion Journalism I knew that there was a possibility that I would be asked to present a portfolio, so after sending off my application, I spent a lot of time working on blog posts, focusing less on celebrities but the issues within fashion and culture. This gave a broadness to my portfolio and shows that I am aware of the ethical issues within Fashion as apposed to just knowing ‘who wore what.’
Another way in which they gather about you is by inviting you in for an interview. This is probably the thing that everyone dreads the most, I know I definitely did. However, after my first interview I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable I felt and how straight forward it was. Everyone goes into an interview worried that they may not know enough, but one thing I learnt was that the interviewers aren’t expecting you to come in and know everything about your subject because then there would be no point in applying for university. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t further educate yourself in preparation, but try not to stress. It’s important to truly be yourself and if you find yourself in a group interview, like I did, it’s even more important to make sure you are noticed and leave a lasting impression; showing the ability to listen to others and make clear and valid points.
Although my application process is not yet over, some advice I would give to those who are going through the same situation or plan to next year would be to broaden your knowledge of fashion, read magazines you’ve never read or never even heard of; Magazines that focus on creativity as a whole not just Fashion e.g. i.D magazine.
Try to avoid clichés such as “My favourite magazine is Vogue” or “My favourite designer is Alexander McQueen”, interviewers hear these all the time and this may show that you lack a broad fashion knowledge. But if Vogue is your favourite magazine and Alexander McQueen is your favourite designer make sure you really give valid and insightful reasons as to why and how they inspire you.
Be patient; this isn’t a quick process, especially if you are applying for very well-known and renowned fashion universities e.g. London College of Fashion. Use this time wisely, not just hovering over your UCAS track. Read, write, paint, draw or sew; use this time to really strengthen your craft. There are thousands of creative people fighting for the same place as you, so do what you can to stand out from the crowd by constructing a high quality portfolio.
In closing I’d say, the biggest piece of advice I could give, and something that I live by on a day to day basis, is the importance of remaining true to who you are, no matter what situation you find yourself in. Being yourself will be that one factor that will truly attract people to you and hopefully have you sitting on the front row of the lecture hall come September.
Featured image from Salford University