The 2012 D*S Scholarship: Applications!

by Grace Bonney

Amid the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and the political tension that’s floating around, I feel incredibly fortunate- and excited- to have a bright spot to focus on today: The 2012 Design*Sponge Scholarship is here! Since 2007 I’ve been organizing this scholarship as a way to celebrate and support the next generation of up and coming artists and designers. These are the people who are destined to inspire us for years to come and I want to do everything I can to help these talented young people across the globe follow their dreams and have the funds and support they need to make their biggest visions a reality.

This year, with the help of our sponsors, we’re offering $10,500 in no-strings-attached financial awards to Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students and….High School Students! This year I felt it was important to reach out a little further and try to tap into the incredible well of talent that has yet to enter higher education. And, with the reality of a tough economy and high art school costs looming over everyone, I thought it was more important than ever to support and celebrate students who may not have the option to go on to study at the college level. So I’m thrilled to invite not just graduate and undergraduate students to enter this year, but high school students across the globe as well. Here are this year’s details:

We will be awarding NINE prizes:

Undergraduate Student Awards: 1st Place ($2,500), 2nd Place ($1,500), 3rd Place ($750), and 4th Place ($250)

Graduate Student Awards: 1st Place ($2,500) 2nd Place ($1,500) 3rd Place ($750) 4th Place ($250)

High School Student Award: A $500 award will be given to the most promising High School Applicant.

The scholarship is open to any art & design students (international students are welcome!) that are currently enrolled in a full-time undergraduate or graduate program or a high school program (Proof of enrollment is required). Please note: all payments will be made in US dollars.



A big thank you to our sponsors this year: O’More College of Design (Donating $5,000), West Elm (Donating $3,00), BRIKA (Donating $2,000) and Parsons (Donating our $500 High School Student Award)

Scholarship logo by David Saracino

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  • Sounds amazing! One quick question though…is this only for US based students? I’m a student in Canada but would love to enter. Thanks :)

  • What about the people who are working part-time jobs to fund their design work and want to go to design school? It seems like if you could submit a portfolio and proof of ‘amateur’ status, it might be worth opening the field. It seems to me that America is increasingly closed to people who have finished undergraduate or high school certification but still want to develop. They are not eligible for the majority of scholarships or internships. Design Sponge could be part of this solution. Just a thought. Thanks for supporting the next generation.

  • This is amazing! I have a unique situation. I have been accepted to/enrolled in design school and will begin in January (yay!). This presents two issues on the scholarship application:

    1. I will not have a student ID until December (after the scholarship deadline). Is there a way to still apply for the scholarship with other proof of enrollment?

    2. I already have a bachelor’s degree but I am returning to school for a career change to follow my passion! However, the program I am attending is not technically a graduate program (it is an associates degree). On the application, would you consider this an Undergraduate Freshman (since technically an associates is an undergraduate degree) or a Graduate Student?

    Thank you so much for your help! :)

    • Barbara

      Some sort of website is required- it’s much faster for us to review work that way. You can easily set up a free blog, tumblr or Flickr account to serve that purpose.


  • What if you’ve applied to an art school and you’ll have a response back on acceptance by December 1st. Can you still enter this contest?

  • I’ll graduate in december 2012. which one i should apply? as an undergraduate student? or undergraduate freshmen? thank you :)

    • margareth

      if you’re graduating from college in december you should apply as an undergraduate senior. if you’re graduating from high school in december you should apply as a high school student.


  • Hi Grace,
    I just want to clarify that I must be enrolled as a full-time student in order to be eligible ? If I remember correctly, 12 credits or more = full-time?
    Just checking, Thanks!

  • My daughter attempted to apply for this scholarship, but because she did not have a website where her art could be viewed the system would not take her application. I think that it is a shame that there is not a way to upload pictures of the artwork for review into the application.

    • monica

      there is a very clear explanation on the application form that you can set up a free flickr, blogger or tumblr page to use for this purpose. i announced this (and this detail) weeks ago, so i’m afraid your daughter had plenty of time to do this.

      images can be uploaded to either of those free sites in less than 20 minutes from start to finish, so it’s not a huge task to ask students. this process takes me over a week to read through and edit and having images online (rather than downloading images hundreds of individual entries) not only saves time, but prevents download errors or corrupted files, which wouldn’t be discovered until the review process, after which it’s too late to ask for additional information. after 5 years of running this scholarship i’ve found this is the most efficient and effective way to accept applications and it’s prevented the many errors in uploading/downloading we had in previous years.


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