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Interview Preparation

Interviews are an opportunity for UAL to find out more about you and your interest in the subject you applied for, as well as a chance for you to find out more about us. We hope the guidance here will help answer some of the questions you may have about the UAL interview process.


Whenever we interview students or applicants, because we don't interview everybody, the portfolio is sometimes a really good prompt to get people talking, so if we have your portfolio in front of you and we can ask you questions about projects and we can sort of tease out of from you where did that come from? How did you develop that? What risks did you take, how did you experiment?

It's an opportunity for us to talk, it's an opportunity for us to find out more about you, it's really a conversation that's how I look at it. We want to think about each individual and their potential for a future and we want to be able to make very comfortable, responsible decisions for each of those

So the portfolio is a visual guide to you, but whenever we have your interview we get to know you and we get to see your potential.

The purpose of the interview is to make sure that you know what you're talking about and you're making this decision based on your research, that you want to come to this University.

Really we're not trying to ask you trick questions we're trying to understand more about you, you know you. Reread your personal
statement for example, reread the course guidance, look at you know, news and stories.

It's quite frustrating if I talk to a student for example that's interested in architecture and they can't tell me any architects that are interested in or any buildings that they have visited.

A lot of it was to do with filmmakers, that I liked and influences and inspirations and stuff like that and a lot of it was to do as well what you plan to do on the course what you saw of future might be.

It was just a kind of a friendly chat about the way I think rather than a 'you're going to sit opposite me and I'm going to scream questions at you'.

I was really really panicked going into it, but it's a lot easier than you think it's gonna be. I walked into a room, I put my portfolio down and I walked out and  they looked over my portfolio for a little while and then they called me back in and I just talked to her about the industry and what I liked and  you know things that I had in my portfolio, she kind of went through a little bit of my portfolio. But, mostly just wanted to talk to me about what I wanted to gain from the course almost?

I talked about a couple of people I found influential, but I also talked about like particular shows or particular experiences of theatre and not just the good ones, like the ones that I didn't like because I think often you can tell a lot more about someone when they articulate why they don't like something.

I love that engagement and I love having conversations and I love that sense of being excited by a conversation with somebody and listening. I've learned an awful lot from young people, I've learned so much from people and how I've listened to them. I've grown from that process.

And where your interviewing skills may be strong and may be weak, reference your work always come back to the work you've done because that's the one constant within any interview. Bring the work that's comfortable for you to carry you don't need to bring your original work you can digitize it bring it on a laptop bring your sketchbooks with you and show your finished pieces and a different format.

When I telephone interview students I'm kind of expecting them to have their portfolio in front of them, on the screen. You know because then we're both looking at the work then and we're talking about the work and that's, that's helpful know.

If you're nervous and you're not not confident speaking on the phone, we're not all confident speaking on the phone, you write it down, write down some of the things that you'd like to say about your work.

But actually most students enjoy it, they see it as an opportunity for them to talk about their work talk about their ideas talk about their direction what they want to do and it gives us a chance to talk to them and maybe we make another suggestion. They might not have applied the right course and then we can we can talk to them about what might be a good next step for them in terms of their creative journey.

I may look at a portfolio for an applicant who's interested in studying fashion for example and it may be that actually this student should be thinking
about studying theatre or costume for example, but they've never really thought about the difference between fashion and costume. They're very different but if you don't know you've never really been taught that before it's probably never cross their mind.

If it's your portfolio to a body of work, it's like it's like a singer and the music they make it's like a painter and the paintings they may have done so they can't really be separated.

So if you can prepare in advance and think about what's in my portfolio? Why have I put it in this order? What's happened? How can I talk through the ideas. It's really good to talk to a friend or somebody that doesn't know you or perhaps doesn't know the work, to try and explain it to them because if they have no understanding of it you'll be able to explain it to them in a way so that somebody who's never met you before can see where you've come from and where you want to go.


What can I expect?

The College you’ve applied to will normally provide you with an outline of the interview process before you arrive. This will give you a good idea about the schedule for the day.

In your interview we’ll expect you to:

  • Show you understand what the course entails and that you’re interested in the subject
  • Ask relevant questions - this demonstrates that you’re thinking seriously about the course
  • Be able to give more detail about your personal statement
  • Turn up confident, knowledgeable and fresh - get a good night’s sleep the night before
  • Be enthusiastic.

How can I prepare for my interview?

The best way to prepare for your interview is to do some research about the course and College you've applied to, the subject area, and studying at UAL. You can:

  • Read the course information thoroughly
  • Find out more about studying at UAL
  • Read our prospectus
  • Watch our videos on YouTube
  • Look for online discussions on our social media or on The Student Room and other online forums
  • Read more about the subject you’re hoping to study so you’re up to date with current news
  • Reread your personal statement to refresh your memory.

Your interview is also a chance for you to ask us any questions you might have about the course, College or studying at UAL. While you’re researching, write down any questions that come to mind so you can ask them in your interview.

Don’t worry if you feel nervous on the day. It means you care about what you’re about to do. Remember, the person interviewing you is really interested in hearing what you have to say, so just be yourself.