Starting from a young age, Elina has wanted to became a designer. This wish became her goal over the years and now she studies at Aalto University’s BA program in Design. Read Elina’s interview about the application process and see the works that got her in!
Applying to Aalto BA in Design Program – How hard is it to get in?
When I applied, I didn’t think if it was complicated. Because I was focused on fulfilling the requirements and creating the assignments, now I would say it is pretty unpredictable. There are no particular requirements regarding your skills. I would say that they are looking for an innovative, determent, and a creative person ready to break the borders of design. In that year, 319 people applied, and only 25 got in. So it was challenging, and sometimes I still wonder why they chose me. It is not that I’m not confident about my skills, but it makes me wonder…
First application round
In the first application round I had to submit two tasks and an essay. In the essay, I had to write why I wanted to study at Aalto (in it, I created several associations about me, hoping that they would remember at least one of them).
Assignment 1. Self-Potrait
I have always struggled with this type of tasks. During this assignment, you must ask yourself: How do I see myself? “Who I am?” etc. Maybe for someone, it is easy to formulate this but not for me, so I spend a lot of time thinking about it and analyzing it. In the end, I just made a list of everything I like and another list of my traits, so I created a self-portrait in a calendar format (one week). Showing that my self-portrait is a pattern that goes on and on (a few things can change, but the mainstays are the same).
Assignment 2. Something about the environment.
Maybe the task was something about global changes and how we stop them or inform about them, but I’m not 100% sure. I wanted to put a prominent example in front of people so that during their daily life, they could see how the plants are dying because of their particular decisions.
Description of my work – Facing global changes, our world is changing along. We shape the environment, and the environment is shaping us. My topic is air pollution in the city and its effect on plants. This project was inspired by global events and related changes, like the Amazon forest fires, Australia bushfires, high air pollution in cities, etc. Walking to school daily, I have noticed how indifferent people are to what is happening around them. It seems that everyone is living in their own dome. It is impossible to feel and see what is happening around. The project visually compares two closely adjacent environments. One plant in the dome is under the influence of the existing environment, while the other plant is in a clean environment, which we would be able to create if everyone left their dome and saw what was happening to the plants on our planet.
Second application round
The second application round was more intense because it was all about your creativity. This round included three different design assingments.
Assignment 1. Kit for Design Students
The first assignment was to create a kit for design students ( as a reference, they showed us the newborns kit that babies get in Finland). I created a bag.
Description of my work – The designer’s profession is unique. It includes a variety of responsibilities. That’s why I’m offering the new designer an “I am IDENTITY bag.” The unspecified shape of the bag is the story of diversity and identity at a time when it seems to us that everything has already been invented, and to create something again, there is no need. That is why we need something that will inspire us and strengthen the belief that everyone has a unique personality. I built the contents of my bag based on my experience. The contents of my proposed bag have been created with experimental meaning, indicating that the user can experiment with it to find the best suitable contents.
Assignment 2. The Emperor’s new Clothes
Based on the story “The emperor’s new clothes.” We had to create a story (story from our everyday life) with a similar meaning. I choose covid19 and how the pandemic made us miss face-to-face communication.
Assignment 3. Balance and Mobility.
The third task was to design an object that suits the theme of balance and mobility. I created a bench called balance. In a fun way (by trying to find balance), this bench will teach the importance of your decisions and how they can affect others.
How to prepare before preliminary assignments or entrance exams?
Of course preparing is necessary. It gives you more confidence and knowledge (this is what you will need when the preliminary assignments come). In my case, I would say that I was preparing for it during my studies at Riga School of Art and Design, and only thanks to everything that I learned there was I ready to apply. Nevertheless, I also tried to read a lot and follow the latest trends and movements in design.
There is this saying: The more you practice, the better you get! It is true. You must train if you genuinely want to study at Aalto or any university. And to have excellent results practicing needs to be a part of your daily routine and not just any kind of practice; together with professional teachers, this practice will be more productive and rewarding in the end.
Aalto BA in Design Preparation course
Aalto University in Finland is one of those schools whose application process includes preliminary assignments and intake assignments or entrance exams. The students in the English taught BA in Design program are selected based on their success in the preliminary and intake assignment process. Our Aalto BA in Design Preparation Course is dedicated for students applying to Aalto Ba in Design program, but in joining the course you will attain skills and capabilities to apply to any Finnish Design BA program available.