5 reasons why you should apply for the AIGA CT Scholarship (aside from the money)

by Christian LoGrasso, President, AIGA Connecticut

With less than one week left until the April 14th submission deadline for our annual $1000 scholarship, we know that at least some of you are diligently gathering examples of your very best work and enthusiastically writing about your love of your creative profession of choice.
Wait, what’s that? You’re not sure if you should apply for our scholarship?
If you find yourself pondering whether or not to pursue this opportunity, I’d like to outline 5 compelling considerations to make your decision a little easier.

1. You have amazing odds
While giving away a $1000 check seems as though it would be enough incentive for most, we receive fewer submissions than you might imagine. The AIGA Connecticut creative community is large, yet students are only a fraction of our network. A smaller fraction of those students are in their freshmen, sophomore or junior year and eligible for the award. AND, only a small sliver of that subset of individuals will ultimately apply. Trust me: it’s not as large of a group as you may think. If you believe in your work and abilities and can demonstrate your talent through your submission, the odds of you being considered for this award favorable.

2. You can make an impression
This year our judging panel is more diverse and robust than ever, and while that is an impressive credential for the award, this also yields value for you as an applicant. Our judges take great care in individually reviewing each and every candidate’s work and essay. Furthermore, key members of our Board of Directors review the applications to ensure they meet the submission guidelines. During the final decision making process, the top applicants are discussed in detail to reach consensus among the judges. Given the relatively small number of applicants and the amount of consideration each applicant is given, your talent may well end up etched into the consciousness of some of the top creative professionals in the state, regardless of whether you are selected as the winner. Consider it a means of personal introduction to a group of highly influential creative leaders based on the merits of your work. No awkward conversation required.

3. We want to help
Helping students grow and become successful creative professionals is a natural extension of AIGA’s mission to advance design as a respected craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. We fully recognize that you are the future of our profession. When our judges and our board see promise in an individual, we are compelled to help. As in the previous point, regardless of whether you are chosen as the winner, you may still make a very positive impression on those who review your submission. To share just one example this, as President of the chapter, I facilitate the decision making process with our judges. Last year during this process, I had visibility to the final applicants submissions. I was extremely impressed with the work and unique point-of-view of some of our finalists. Since then, as opportunities arise, I’ve made it a point to connect them with people who can help further their career and help provide opportunities for them to grow.

4. Curating your work and articulating your point of view is essential
While you may have a year or more to build and compile your senior portfolio, established design professionals know that the best portfolios are developed and strengthened in a continual, ongoing process. Taking the time to go through your work at this point can help you understand your strengths and identify the areas that you may want to focus on as you progress. Furthermore, the ability to write and articulate a point-of-view can be a difference-maker in a world full of talented creative individuals. You may find that the simple exercise of writing about your career choice can help you understand your motivations as a creative professional. Use the scholarship submission process as a means to proactively take on these activities, as they will ultimately be what represents your talent to the creative world.

5. It can elevate your visibility and accelerate your career
AIGA Connecticut has had 4 scholarship winners since the award’s inception. Those individuals have undoubtedly found themselves to be more deeply connected to the creative industry as a result of earning the award. They have gone on to work with some of the most influential firms and companies in the state and the nation and have taken on leadership positions in the creative community. For example, our most recent winner, Sara Jamshidi from UCONN, recently began working at Winterhouse and The Design Observer Group alongside legendary design personality Jessica Helfand. The visibility and connectivity that is gained from being formally recognized and endorsed by a professional organization like AIGA Connecticut can help to propel your career in a positive direction.

We all know that a quality education is expensive, and $1000 can surely help put a small dent in your costs. Beyond that, consider the bigger opportunity. This is a prime opportunity for you to shine. Your chances of success are greater than you may think.

I strongly encourage you to submit your application by our deadline of Monday, April 14th, 2014. Apply today or┬álearn more here, and email ‘scholarship@connecticut.aiga.org‘ with questions.

By AIGAConnecticut
Published April 8, 2014