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How to Get Onto a Graphic Design Degree Course

Want to get onto a Graphic Design degree course but not sure how? You’ll find five key tips below to help you.

When you’ve decided what you would like to study but have no idea how to get there, it can feel like you have a mountain to climb. For a Graphic Design course, the average percentage of applicants receiving offers is only 47%. It isn’t impossible by any means to get a place at university, but you definitely need to improve your chances by doing as much as possible. Here are some tips on how to do just that:


Picture Credit: University of Salford

1) Take the right subjects

If you’ve already chosen your A levels, don’t panic, you’re probably in luck. Almost all Graphic Design courses ask for UCAS points rather than specific subjects, as long as your subjects are somehow related to your course, so something along the lines of Fine Art or Design and Technology would be perfect. Of course, if you can do a Graphic Design A level, do it!

Aside from this, a broad range of subjects to show you’re a well-rounded candidate will help, such as Maths for the technical side of graphic design and English for the creative side. If you’re worried that your subjects don’t fit, take extra work experience to prove you’re committed to graphic design and talk to your school or college career advisor.

2) Get the right grades

Although there is a wide range of university courses asking for both low and high numbers of UCAS points, the average course asks for around 300 points, which is equivalent to three Bs, or a variant of this. For more help understanding UCAS points, check out the UCAS website.

When applying for courses via UCAS, the key tip is to apply for three courses which match your predicted grades, one course which asks for higher grades and one course which asks for lower. Then you’re covered for whatever your A levels happen to throw at you.

3) Choose the right university

Probably the most important thing about applying to universities, whatever your subject, is choosing an institution which you’ll be happy at. If you want the outgoing, party lifestyle, then you may wish to consider a city university; if you think you would prefer a quieter, community-orientated place, then perhaps you’ll look at campuses.

Ask students on your chosen course what life is like there and what the course is like – studying Graphic Design will not be the same at every university because different institutions have different specialisms. Make sure you’re clued up on the course and what it expects of you, as the benefits are two-fold: firstly, you’ll be sure you like it; and secondly, your desire to study at that particular University will shine through during the interview.

4) Find the right extra-curricular activities

Take the initiative and get hunting for any kind of art-related activities you can find – whether that is simply becoming an art prefect at your sixth form or helping out with art club, helping design your student magazine or supporting your favourite department during an open day.

At every school or college there is an opportunity to get involved, and even if the activities you undertake don’t directly relate to your degree course, something that shows commitment and teamwork like sport is still useful to add to your personal statement.

5) Get the right work experience

Graphic design work experience can be hard to find, unless you know the right places to look. Search online for placements near you, such as with a magazine or even try to find work experience in an art shop or a tattoo parlour. In the meantime, get in touch with as many websites as you can and ask them if they need some help with web design. Persevere and you will find something. GKBC also offers online graphic design work experience.

Follow these five tips and your UCAS personal statement will simply fall into place, as you will have too much to write about: how your subjects fit your chosen course; what you’re looking forward to, particularly in your degree; your extra-curricular activities; your work experience. You know you can do it, as long as you put your mind to it – good luck!

About Author: Sian Elvin is an aspiring journalist and has an interest in art, design, literature and technology.