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2022 Diversity in Design Scholarship: Application Advice

We’ve just launched our exciting 2022 Diversity in Design scholarship opportunities—open to aspiring designers from underrepresented groups. 

Want to apply but not sure if you’re ready to dive in, or how to begin? Read on for some advice from our 2021 winners!

Lauren Steenkamp, 2021 Half Scholarship Student

Job prior to Shillington?

Freelance Digital Marketer

What were you up to before Shillington and what kind of work were you doing?

Before Shillington began, I was working with a few Australian small businesses and startups. Mainly doing social media management, email marketing, digital campaigns and some graphic design. I had just graduated from University and had been a ‘freelance marketer’ for almost two years, while studying.

We’re opening up our half-scholarships again this year, what advice would you say to someone working on their scholarship application?

Tell your story, stay authentic and just apply! Take a look around the blog and previous scholarship applications, they are a great starting point and source of inspiration.

The scholarship application process validated why I wanted to study design, not for anyone else but myself! It allowed me to spend time reflecting on why design was important to me and solidified that this was the right path forward.

Why did you want to study design and what made you decide on Shillington?

I have always felt a strong calling to design and creative problem solving. After highschool, the safest option to pursue design seemed to be university. However, after two years of working towards a Bachelor of Design, I realized university lectures weren’t going to teach me relevant skills required to enter the industry. From there, I switched my major to marketing and completed a Business Degree in 2021. However, I still felt unsettled and that marketing wasn’t my true passion.

I had known about Shillington since highschool and was always blown away by the student work. Often I thought about how my career would be different if I chose Shillington first.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

It is 100% worth the time and investment! If you want to be a graphic designer, accelerate your skillset and have confidence creating design solutions – this is the place for you.

Do you think the skills you learned during the course prepared you for the design industry?

They definitely did. During the course I was still working with a freelance client and was able to apply new skills and knowledge straight away. Although I had used Adobe for a few years already, literally in the first 2 weeks of the course I learnt more than 2 years of a degree!

One of the biggest things for me was also learning the process of design. Where to start, what steps to take when you feel creative block as well as how to critique and further refine your designs.

Brinda Srey, 2021 Half Scholarship Student

Job prior to Shillington?

Dental Assistant

What were you up to before Shillington and what kind of work were you doing?

I work as a dental assistant and have been for about four years now.

We’re opening up our half-scholarships again this year, what advice would you say to someone working on their scholarship application?

Even if you feel like you’re not going to win, apply because you never know. When applying for the scholarship, my mindset was to answer the questions to the best of my ability and from my heart.

Also, there’s no right or wrong in answering the questions, and the answer reflects who you are as a person and your values.

Why did you want to study design?

I wanted to study design because you can be as creative as you like. I have decided to take design as my pathway as I would like to become a brand, communication visual designer.

After graduating from high school, I never had a set direction for my career. I had no clue which profession would play to my strengths or be passionate in. Only until recently that I decided to look deep within; I collated my strength and determined my ideal job. My strengths are creativity, technology, computers and problem-solving. I was always curious about society and how it has evolved. I’m a free spirit, always on an adventure to find something new and exciting. I was always on the search to expand my knowledge with excitement and challenges.

What made you decide on Shillington?

I wanted to study at Shillington because, as mentioned, Shillington educates students to achieve outstanding and award-winning results quickly. I like the approach that Shillington offers, along with the course structure—providing accurate and relevant skills in design theory and design programs. The projects shown on Shillington’s homepage and Instagram made by students were the kind of designs I wanted to be making. The designs were immaculate and attractive, and I felt inspired and excited to start at Shillington.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

You’ll learn everything you need in three months to become a graphic designer, don’t spend two to three years when you can do it now to start your design career.

Do you think the skills you learned during the course prepared you for the design industry?

Yes, the teachers have a lot of experience in the industry, so you’re in great hands. The skills cater to what you need in the design industry. I can say that you’ll be graduating from Shillington confidently with the skills to be successful.

Valeria Miranda, 2021 Half Scholarship Student

Job prior to Shillington?

I was working as a Compliance Officer at an international charity.

What were you up to before Shillington and what kind of work were you doing?

Most of my previous career involved process improvement, operational risk management and compliance work, primarily for corporations. I was good at it and progressed to top positions, but I grew tired of the corporate life and lack of creativity many companies imposed over these roles.

We’re opening up our half-scholarships again this year, what advice would you say to someone working on their scholarship application?

Think about how to frame your story. Think of a topic you enjoy and know about and that you can use as a template for telling your story and making your pitch.

And have fun! There is nothing more authentic that showing your creative side and that you had fun during the process of putting your presentation together.

Why did you want to study design and what made you decide on Shillington?

I had studied Graphic Design when I was younger, but it took me a while to realise I wanted to pursue this again. So, while still on my last job, I joined a career change course to identify potential areas of interest. Technology, design, and photography were among mine. After much research, which included speaking to a former Shillington student, I thought this academy could provide me with a great platform to later combine these interests with my design skills.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

If design is what you are interested in, I would definitely recommend this course as there is nothing quite like it out there that would teach you so much in so little time. But I would also advise that you go to the open days, ask questions to the teachers and former students, and read Shillington’s blog to see what type of work students do and what kind of design skills you will be taught.

Do you think the skills you are learning during the course is preparing you for the design industry? 

I’m still studying as I’m doing the PT online course. Still, so far, having ended the second term, I can confidently say that I have learned so many skills that are mandatory requirements to apply to job postings and from what I know from other established designers’ experiences. The software is, of course, essential, but the design process for answering clients’ briefs that you are taught at Shillington really makes all the difference.

Anything else you would like to add?

I would just reinforce the above message for shy or introverted people. I am timid, and when I first thought about the scholarship submission and even the course work, I was afraid of what other people might say or think about my work. Just don’t do that to yourself! I found out that it was all in my head, and the community at Shillington is very welcoming and warm when it comes to each person’s approach to design.

After all, this is a very subjective discipline, and if you are drawn to it, there is nothing ‘ugly’ or ‘bad’. You just have to be willing to try once and many times until you get better at it.

Lily Twelftree, 2021 Half Scholarship Student

Job prior to Shillington?

Social Media assistant at a beauty PR agency!

What were you up to before Shillington and what kind of work were you doing?

I was working across 4 beauty and lifestyle accounts at a PR agency. My day to day included creating content, working with paid partners, and managing the activities across all branded social accounts.

We’re opening up our half-scholarships again this year, what advice would you say to someone working on their scholarship application?

It’s such a cliche but be yourself. I say that because I was nearly too intimidated to apply for the half scholarship when I saw previous successful admissions as I had zero design experience and my imposter syndrome was through the roof.

Turn your experience into a story and convince the admissions team of how much you want to be in that classroom.

Why did you want to study design and what made you decide on Shillington?

Part of my job was working with designers to bring the campaign and content ideas I had to life. I spent so much time trying to articulate my visions to someone else. I wanted to develop the skills to be able to create the designs myself.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

I think the course is an amazing pathway for someone either looking for a career in design or wanting to use the skillset as a supplementary asset in another related field. There are soooooo many areas of design and I think Shillington provides a really strong foundation that you can build on.

Lizzie Riach, 2021 Half Scholarship Student

Job prior to Shillington?

was a Marketing Manager for a medium-sized agency.

What were you up to before Shillington and what kind of work were you doing?

Before Shillington I did a biology degree, Science Media Masters, then spent 4 years working my way up in the marketing industry to become a manager. My role was to grow the team revenue, optimise ad spend, make creatives & write copy to make the ads perform better. I’d used a bit of Photoshop & After Effects to create ads, but had never learned shortcuts properly.

We’re opening up our half-scholarships again this year, what advice would you say to someone working on their scholarship application?

I’d say your submission should really be a reflection of your personality. Tell your story the way you want to.

It’s scary being such an open brief, but it’s also a chance for you to learn something new, or challenge yourself with an idea that’s a bit out there. Also just start early so you’re not stressed by the deadline!

Why did you want to study design and what made you decide on Shillington?

Even through my science degree & full-time job, I never gave up drawing, printing or doing odd design jobs for friends—I’d even started an art club at work to share my love of making things. During the pandemic, I realised that I’d never be truly satisfied until I worked full-time in the creative industry. Shillington seemed like the best way to lay that foundation, and I was blown away by the high standard of portfolio.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

If design is truly calling you, this is the best course you could ask for. You leave with great contacts, a polished portfolio, an eye for detail and most importantly, the confidence you need to crack into the industry.

Do you think the skills you learned during the course prepared you for the design industry?

For sure. The Adobe skills are one thing—you learn all the tips, tricks and shortcuts that you need to work efficiently under time pressure. However it’s the emphasis on concept, research and breaking down the brief that I think prepares you to show workings behind ideas that make this course special. Ultimately, this is what you need to succeed in the industry—conceptual understanding rather than just ‘make this look pretty’.

DEADLINE: 28 June, 5pm. Find out more and apply today

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