If you have an artistic side, you may be considering a career as a graphic designer. The first step in becoming a great designer is choosing the right college and completing a degree program. There are several things to look for when choosing one of the many graphic design colleges in the nation, and many ways that you can pay for your education. Here are a few things to look for when choosing your college:
The very first thing you should look for in a college is accreditation. Accreditation means that the college has met and maintained a rigorous set of standards set forth by a state or national body. By attending an accredited college, you can be almost certain that your credits will transfer should you decide to switch schools or pursue a higher degree after you graduate.
If you want a career in a specialized type of graphic design, make sure that the school that you choose has the courses that you need. For instance, if you want to land a career with an ad agency, you’ll want to take courses that will enable you to land the job of your dreams.
Computer-aided graphics design is the wave of the future. Make sure that the school that you pick offers courses in computer arts. Even if you don’t plan on specializing in this type of design, you’ll want training in Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Illustrator.
Look for a school that offers a wide variety of student services. You’ll want to be sure that you can get assistance when you need it, so look for advising, tutoring and job placement services at the schools you are considering.
Once you’ve decided on a college, the question of money is sure to arise. There are several different ways available to you to fund your education. Here are the top four:
Grants are free monies that you are given for tuition and other educational expenses. Because these monies are free, they never have to be paid back. The Federal Pell Grant program is by far the most popular, but you may qualify for grants from your state as well.
Scholarships, like grants, do not have to be paid back. Scholarships can come from a variety of different sources: the college, companies and private foundations. Once you’ve decided on a school, contact their financial aid office to inquire about scholarships that you may qualify for. You can perform a scholarship search online or visit your local library for a book listing all of the scholarships available.
Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are available from the government and can help you pay for college. These monies do have to be paid back, with interest, once you graduate.
Many colleges offer tuition payment plans if you are going to be paying your tuition with your own money or with the help of your parents. Instead of coming up with the full amount of tuition up front, many colleges will allow you to split the cost of tuition into three or more payments.
To qualify for aid, you must fill out the FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You can find the application online, at your college’s financial aid office or at some local libraries. When your form has been accepted and processed, you will receive a letter telling you what monies you’ve qualified for.
Choosing a college and deciding how you will pay for your education can be overwhelming, but if your use the information above, you’ll find it all a bit easier. Remember that the college you choose can have not only a bearing on your success as a student, but can make or break your future career.