Emma Thorn - From college to university

January 1 2020
Emma Thorn

I studied FdA Graphic Design. I chose this subject because from leaving school (in year 11) the only thing I was good at was art. I wanted to go into something that would allow me to experience this on a day-to-day basis. So, I did Level 3 Graphic Design at college and then moved up to the foundation degree to carry it on.

Experience studying at college

My experience studying at Hertford Regional College was really positive. Moving up to the foundation degree was the best decision I made. I applied during clearing which can be a stressful time, but I got accepted. I do have to say my fist year on the foundation degree was fun and exciting, but due to being ill I missed quite a lot of time with my friends and developing my skills. But this didn’t stop me! All the tutors and technicians are really nice, helpful and will support you if you need it. The facilities that are available to us are unbelievable, they have all industry equipment in the studios. All you need to know is how to use it and get permission, then you are all set. The best bit of the two years was the last year, it was like a wakeup call to me, I knew I wanted to get a distinction so I put in the work! Staying late, going in on independent study days, showing that the first year wasn’t going to hold me back… and it didn’t, I got the distinction I wanted. Also, it’s a great time to be with your friends and go through it all together and support each other, and at the end of it you have the option to find a job, take a gap year or carry on with the final year.

Progressing to university

Progressing onto the last year (level 6) at University of Hertfordshire was the right decision. Due to COVID-19, I was really nervous to start as it was a change to what I was used to but it got better as I got to know the tutors and people. The whole set up for applying was simple because you just follow the instructions within the emails that are sent out. If you get stuck there is always an email or phone number that you can call. If you have a disability like me (I have dyslexia), there is a support team in place to help you with anything.

When getting started, all the tutors were really helpful, if you need more time on a project for extenuating circumstances, there are extensions available to you. You just need to keep the tutors updated on how you are and they can help! I am really pleased that I was able to push myself to do it, as I have become more organised than I was before and I feel confident that I will be getting a job at the end of the year (fingers crossed).

There are a lot of facilities available to use, and like college you have to know how to use it first, then it’s accessible to you. These are great ways to develop skills and use them in your projects. Due to COVID-19 though, I am unable to get the real experience of these facilities so hopefully when we go back I can. If you have the chance to use it… then use it. Also don’t be afraid to sign up to sports or clubs, you will make more friends and develop as a person.

After I graduate

My next steps after I finish this year is to find a job within the graphic design industry. The University and my studies have supported this. At the moment there is a scheme where we have a mentor who is either from the industry, or a graduate who is in it too. They are able to help with support, tell you what it’s like in the industry and look at your portfolio and give advice. We have portfolio lectures to help get them perfect when applying for a job too. Then we are set!

Tips for applying:

I'd give any applicants the following tips:

  • have confidence that you can do it!
  • do your student loan as soon possible
  • be organised with all the emails and paperwork
  • there is always someone to talk to if you need help.