Arts education is something that has always been first on the chopping block when it comes to government cuts.
Nevertheless, artists all over Australia cannot be curtailed in their impassioned endeavours to express themselves creatively through the medium.
Australia is proud to have an arts education sector that holds it’s own against art programs around the world. Every year thousands of Australian students are enrolled in fine art courses and institutions across the country.
If you are budding artist who wants nothing but to immerse themselves in painting or drawing in an educational setting, art school could be the next step for you. Thanks to Australia’s federal university loans scheme, money should not be an obstacle between you and university.
Graduating from an art school in Australia will supply you with the knowledge and ability to succeed as an accomplished artist. In school, you will have the chance to be part of exhibitions, even gaining the know-how to run your own in the future.
Here are a few things to consider before you enrol in a course
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Are You Art School Ready?
Classic Wannabe Art Student Tells
Dream of becoming a professional artist one day? One of the best ways to achieve that is to go through art school. If you fit any or all of these descriptions, chances are the sooner you get in to art school the better.
- You were a serial scribbler in high school, pervading the margins of your exercise books with doodles and drawings until your teacher couldn’t even be bothered to stop you anymore.
- Instead of watching TV you’d like to go to the museum. Instead of playing sport, you’d rather sit in front of an easel with a brush and paint. Instead of crunching numbers, you’d rather crunch through pencils as you sketch your way to mastery.
- You are a known creative. Your friends know it, your family knows it; maybe you’re eccentric, but your artwork speaks for itself.
- You have analysed the great artists throughout history and can recognise their work from styles or techniques used in a piece of art.
- You don’t go out of the house without a sketchbook and some pencils.
If you found yourself wondering if this was a personal profile written especially about you, we don’t need to tell you that art school is just waiting for you to apply!
All that needs to be considered now is whether art college or schools of art would suit you best, or if an art course or internship could work better for you.
Each year so many Australian students apply to enrol at schools around the country. For prospective students, a range of programs and courses exist in both the undergraduate and postgraduate spaces.
Schools do not look for one thing in particular before accepting students. However art students should have a basic ability when it comes to drawing and have already completed classes in drawing and painting, for example in high school.
You may also want to investigate online lessons...
What Makes a Good Art Student?
- Strong work ethic and the ability to put in long hours
- A solid foundational knowledge when it comes to drawing and other artistic disciplines, along with the skills to execute work across these disciplines.
- An irrepressible creative flair
- Persistence – getting in can take multiple attempts, and once you do so, they won't shield you to the realities of life as someone trying to be a professional artist. The industry can be demanding and unrewarding a lot of the time, it’s important to be prepared for the grind.
- A sense of independence and ability to work alone
- Openness to the world abounding, and a curiosity that shines through to every aspect of life. This sense of wonder and intrigue is what can bring about work that seeks to reflect truth and ask it questions at the same time.
- An ability to reflect and ruminate on different topics and events, so as to approach them with a multifocal lens.
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Have Your Own Personality
Once you finish high school, don’t hesitate to take part in an foundation course, to prepare yourself for the journey you are about to embark on over the next three years at art school.
Foundation courses encourage individuals to hone their own style by preparing a portfolio of work that shows what their key interests and artistic mediums are. A lot of students don’t feel ready for art school just out of high school, which is why a foundation course is something to be considered.
Of course, many students can’t wait to get straight in to not just art school, but university life as they are done with high school. But just bear in mind that it’s not the only option you have if you want to do something art related after school.
Have you also thought about joining an art association?
Choosing Your Art School
Try choosing an institution that can provide what you are looking for in an art school, rather than just applying for all the ones in your area. That way you can develop a portfolio in an environment that is in line with your ideas about art.
If you select right, then you should have plenty to talk about with your prospective uni regarding how you can get the best out of each other.
Unis offer many different programs when it comes to art, so of the speciality areas you may come across are:
- Decorative Arts
- Fine, Graphic or Visual Art
- Visual Communication and Computer Graphics
- Computer Animation
- Spatial Design
It up to you to pick a stream and course that works for you and offers what you are looking for.
Of course, post-uni the employment opportunities for graduates are both varied and exciting.
Preparing for the Entrance
Although there are many programs across universities within Australia, entry can be competitive and spots are limited in some courses.
Each course has its own unique entry requirements. Often this includes submission of a portfolio. Your portfolio should include 10 – 15 artistic works that are different to each other, so as to showcase your artistic range. Admissions committees usually want to see a variety of pieces that show that you can keep up with the various demands of the course.
You may be asked questions about the driving factor behind you wanting to study this subject. They may also ask you about projects you have undertaken in recent times, and projects you might look forward to working on during the course.
If English is your second language, you may even be asked to take a language exam, to show that you won’t have too much trouble understanding the lectures and coursework.
When trying to gain entrance in to an art course, it is important to relax and be yourself throughout the process. The institution is looking for the person you are, not someone you think they want you to be.
Can You Study Fine Art on a Budget?
If you attend a university fine arts course in Australia, your course can be covered by student HELP loans, unless you decide to pay up-front.
Once you are making a certain amount of money, your debt is repaid through your tax, or through voluntary installments if you choose. You won’t pay interest on your HELP debt, although the debt increases yearly in line with the Consumer Price Index.
This means that not having the money to afford a university course is not a problem any Australian student should face, notwithstanding the other expenses that come with attending university.
University students in Australia are well-enough supported by our government, meaning you will receive fortnightly payments which should be enough to cover the basics such as rent, food, bills and a bit of entertainment.
If you work part-time you can supplement what the government gives you; earning a certain amount does not affect your payment – above that amount and the government reduces your payment in line with what you earn.
At the end of the day, university can still be a grind financially, despite government funding. If you are at all worried about the monetary pressures of attending uni full time, then consider taking a year off to save money and do other things, and then come to uni when you are ready to focus on study.
The things you can learn in a year off will surely help your art, and having savings to pull you through uni is a huge weight off your shoulders.
Graduates around the world say that, whether they became a professional in that field or not, their time at art school was one of the best, most formative, fun, creative, enjoyable times of their life; making them the person and creative that they are today.
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