Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Friendly and open

Student Lizzie Knott standing against a blue and cream tiled wall

Weighing up my options and reaching out to a university that felt much more suited to my needs has changed my life – and the opportunities that come my way.

I spent the first year of my art degree at a university in the south of England, which offered a course that was well respected. But I felt lost and ignored among 160 fellow students. It felt impersonal. The tutors weren’t familiar with our work and, while I didn’t expect to be mothered, I craved more guidance, feedback and direction.

So I began looking at options to transfer to another university. A friend mentioned ARU, so I arranged to meet the Illustration course leader, Chris Draper. Chris was happy to accommodate my questions and organise for me to see whether transferring would be the right choice.

On that day, I was taken aback by the work being exhibited by Cambridge School of Art students, and the tutors that spoke to me were friendly and open about how the course was run.

Lizzie Knott's book jacket design for Othello
Lizzie Knott's book jacket design for As You Like It
Lizzie Knott's book jacket design for Pericles

I immediately felt comfortable and even got the chance to speak to a handful of students. They gave me honest advice and, funnily enough, ended up being the girls I live with this year. The course was small – around 35 students, the briefs were frequent and I just got a really good feeling about it.

So I applied, had an interview and got in. Here, in my second year, the quality of my work has improved, the tutors know my work and the feedback that I get from my course mates motivates me to become a better illustrator.

I am part of a course that makes me feel important and I know that ARU is the place where I can do my best. It is a lovely artistic community to be a part of, and coming here was the best decision I ever made.

Lizzie Knott, BA (Hons) Illustration

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Images: Lizzie's book jacket designs for Shakespeare plays