by Samantha Wilson

Artist, and Curator of HINSA.

Who does not want to learn art in the best schools in Europe? Our Curator, the Scottish artist Samantha Wilson shares tips and tricks on how to get into the Royal College of Art:

Although I am Scottish I have never actually lived in London or even spent that much time in England, but in 2021 London came calling. After having lived outside of the UK for 6 years working independently as an artist abroad, I finally felt an unexpected urge to return to the cloudy little continent that is my mother land.

I decided to make an application to the Royal College of Art. With these kind of prestigious schools, you’ve got to do these things with a pinch of salt.

Many talented artists dream of attending a great Art University like The Royal College of Art. They have up to 10,000 applications every year! You may have a hard time getting in, but if you do not try, you will not make it. Give it a try and give it all! You just may get that place after all! Here my tips for a better results.

 The Application Process

Knowing the application process is important, But not the most challenging part. They have two accounts you need to register (one on the Royal College of Art website where you fill in your basic info) and a second on software called Pebble Pad. This is where you make your formal application.

Each course is different so will ask for different items inside your portfolio/application.

The Interview Itself

Then you will be called for an interview. You will need to prepare an 8-minute presentation. Cramming an entire year’s plan into 8 minutes and showcasing your portfolio and explaining why you want to study, including your plans is not easy, so practice is required.

Some Tips to Deliver a Fantastic Presentation

(Note: this is how I structured my presentation that landed me an offer – but it is by no means the only or best way to structure it. It’s just a few tips to help you on your way to designing your own as it worked for me!)

  1. Use PowerPoint or Canva to set out your presentation. Your project must be presented in a clear straightforward way.
  2. Have a cover page stating your name, the course you are applying for, the year of the course, and the project title.
  3. Include a brief agenda – contents of the things you will cover – but just for their info – do not get in details to safe time.
  4. Introduce your project in a few bullet points. Time is short – use it wisely – sell the key of your idea in an exciting manner, so that they want to hear more.
  5. On the next page, you may write two lists of bullet points outlining the key issues (what is your project solving or dealing with) and the key questions (what are you trying to find out through doing this). This is applicable particularly for a research proposal/research or Ph.D. course because you are trying to uncover something new and contribute to your field as opposed to purely taught degrees where they will not as for such information.
  6. Share your background, and motivations behind your project. Make it clear, visual, and trustworthy.
  7. Introduce your art practice. This is your chance to elaborate on what you submitted in your visual portfolio. Show them how you form ideas and how you are hoping to grow or experiment further with that on the course. Make sure to use excellent images of your work and present them neatly with labels (titles, mediums, year, etc).
  8. State your objectives: why this project is important and what you are ultimately trying to achieve by doing it.
  9. Show them that you are prepared for this level of study. Let them know how serious and committed you are!
  10. Finally, tell them why you believe this is the right course and school for you and your project
  11. Prepare a good portfolio. The guidelines are very clear on the website of what you need to follow them 100%
  12. Prepare a short video about yourself – this is your virtual elevator speech.

If you would like to check my personal experience with the process, you can read more details.