Skip to main content

Communication and Digital Media

Graphic Design Scholarships

The Communication and Digital Media Department’s graphic design scholarships are awarded to passionate and talented students who will be pursuing a degree in the field of graphic design.

Scholarships are awarded based on an interview as well as a portfolio of your creative works. Applicants should also include a current resume with their application.

Scholarship reviews for fall 2020 have ended, but scholarship applications for freshmen entering in fall 2021 will be available in October.

The Interview

The scholarship interview is your opportunity to convey your interest and passion for graphic design. What interests you about being a designer? Even if you are just starting out, if you have a great passion and perhaps the start of some strong projects, we want to meet with you! Where do you get your inspiration? Who are your favorite designers or artists? Do you ever check out the student section of What would you like to be involved in at Carthage? Draft, our graphic design group? Our newspaper? Getting to know you is an important part of this interview. Then on to your work …

The Portfolio

The body of artistic work you present should exemplify your design abilities and creative potential.


We encourage you to pick one of the following formats:

  • Printed Portfolio: 10-12 pieces of your strongest (high resolution, printed) graphic design work organized in a simple portfolio such as a binder, designed into a book (such as through, or mounted on boards in a portfolio case. Whatever the format, we’ll look for a clean and consistent presentation of your best work. You do NOT have to spend a ton of money on a finished portfolio! The best portfolio is one that shows creativity, strong design sense, and attention to detail. Here’s just one example of an acceptable printed portfolio:
  • Digital Portfolio: 10-12 pieces of your strongest graphic design pieces showcased in a slideshow presentation or a website, preferably designed and coded by you, perhaps with the help of web design software like Dreamweaver.

Additional Portfolio Materials

Your portfolio should also contain:

  • Process Work: Regardless of the format, we also encourage you to include process work you have for any of your projects, such as brainstorming and sketches so we can see how your brain works.
  • A “List of Works” document with written descriptions of each of your design pieces that explains a) what you are trying to say (did you have a concept?), and b) how you are trying to say it (what line, color, shape, texture, technique did you use to enforce the message?. During your interview, we don’t want you to use this as a script, but we would like you to consider the thought process behind your work before you present it to us.
  • A current resume

The Projects

When we say “graphic design,” this includes finished products like logos, brochures, and T-shirt designs. We’ll be looking for strong skills in conceptualization, image making, typography, and color use. But we’ll also be looking for original concepts started by hand, as well as work that features your own images and photos. If you need ideas for graphic design projects, consider doing work for your school, find a non-profit needing designs (search for work in your area) or look on call-for-design websites (such as

You may also include:

  • Photography (especially strong when you place your own photography into a design piece- such as a flyer)
  • Studio art (also especially strong when you place your own art into a design piece- such as a postcard)
  • Time-based media
  • Website work
  • Self-promotion piece (sometimes people leave behind a book or printed item for us to remember their work)

Items you do not have to include:

  • You do not have to label your work.
  • You do not have to bring a CD or flash drive unless you do not have a printed portfolio or website.

And finally …

We definitely don’t want to see:

  • A disorganized portfolio
  • Sloppy work thrown together quickly
  • Low-resolution images
  • Plagiarized work

Best of luck and we look forward to meeting you! 

The graphic design faculty
Communication and Digital Media Department
Carthage College

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2020), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $20,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 3 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …