A guide to breaking into the design industry

Even if you don’t have a portfolio.

As the end of the year draws closer, people get cheerier, the days become longer and the temperature goes up a couple of degrees.

It’s also around the time ATAR scores and round one university offers are released. Receiving your ATAR can seem like a make or break – but it doesn’t have to be.

In a creative course like design, an ATAR isn’t the only way to get your foot in the door. Thankfully, institutions like Whitehouse offer a plan B.

Whether you’ve never created a portfolio, don’t get the required ATAR or are just not sure about the right pathway, we’ve done the hard yards and pulled together a guide to breaking into the design industry.

If you’re undecided about your course

If you’re still in the decision-making stage, Whitehouse’s Bachelor of Design is like the Rolls Royce of design education. It covers three areas of specialisation – Fashion Design, Interior Design and Creative Direction and Styling. Previous alumni have gone on to showcase designs at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, alongside heavyweights like Donatella Versace and Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior. You’ll access international exchange opportunities in London and Japan, and can complete the course in just two short years, or further your studies into a Master of Design for just one more year.

If you don’t achieve the required ATAR

So you slaved away during year 12, nailed your assessments but flunked out on the exam. If you narrowly miss the ATAR you need, and don’t want to settle for your second preference, don’t give up just yet. Let us introduce you to a little something called the ATAR Bonus Points System. It’s a Whitehouse initiative made especially for year 12 students who did not get the required ATAR, or took a non-ATAR route. Students can bump up their score from creative subjects they may have completed in school, or by taking part in Whitehouse workshops. Which takes us to our next point…

If you don’t have a design portfolio

Don’t have a portfolio? Fine. Don’t have the creative work to produce a portfolio? Still fine. Whitehouse offers a series of workshops to get you started before you dive headfirst into a degree. They range from two to five days, so you don’t have to stress about committing to a course you might not like. On offer are workshops to create a design portfolio, as well as workshops to produce the work you will need for said portfolio. There are also illustration, photography and sewing short courses if you want a taster of the real thing. Head here to secure your spot.

If you’re not sure how to apply

Once you’ve decided, this is the easy part. The first step is applying online here. Next, you’ll attend an interview on campus in Melbourne or Sydney (or via Skype). This is where you’ll submit the creative portfolio you’ve been working on, your academic transcripts and a motivational statement discussing why you’d like to study at Whitehouse. And just like that, you’ve taken your first step into the industry.

If you’re still undecided, there are a few added extras a Bachelor of Design will offer you that you won’t get elsewhere. Think guest lectures with international industry professionals, on-hands experience at various worldwide fashion weeks, and an annual graduate exhibition showcasing your designs to professionals at the end of the year.

For more info on what you’ll achieve at Whitehouse Institute of Design, head here.


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