Why I Chose JWU for My Graphic Design Degree

Julia Shiels '24 is a sophomore at Johnson & Wales University. Here, she shares her college search process and why she decided JWU was the best fit for her.

Choosing what college I wanted to go to or even what I wanted to major in wasn’t a decision I came to easily. Being a first-generation college student, the whole process was very new and very scary to me. I had no idea how to start any sort of financial aid or what to look for in a good school.

I applied to 10 universities across New England, including Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., and, after I received all my acceptances, I had to choose between nine different schools. When I came to my decision, I chose Johnson & Wales because of the graphic design program. No other school I looked at even came close to the amount of sophistication, involvement and technology that JWU has. Here’s a little more about why it stood out so much for me.

Student Julia Shiels and family in graphic design building

Why I Fell in Love with JWU’s Graphic Design Program

I decided I wanted to major in graphic design late in my senior year of high school, so I had to go back and look at schools again for their graphic design program. To get a better picture of what studying this major at JWU would be like, I came to the graphic design Experience Day at JWU in February of my senior year, and when I left, I was ready to commit that day despite still having schools to tour.

"No other school I looked at even came close to the amount of sophistication, involvement and technology that JWU has."

View of downtown Providence from dorm

An experience day is a day where prospective students are able to visit the school, tour their intended major’s classes, and meet the professors they could one day have.

On my experience day, they told us what we would be learning and had graphic design students there to answer any questions we had. I was given a tour of all the classrooms, labs, and galleries. We were able to design our own magnets to take home using the Innovation Lab’s laser printer. Since I have loved art since I was younger, I designed a paintbrush icon that was etched into a circular magnet that said “Future JWU design student” on it. When I went home, I put it on my fridge where it still sits today. Creating this magnet, although it was a small mini-project, really made me feel as though I was already a member of the JWU community. I was amazed by the technology I would have access to and the talent of the students! I left that day knowing that if I chose JWU, I would be given the tools and knowledge to become a successful designer.

Read More >>> The JWU Advantage: Graphic Design

My JWU Journey So Far

Although the process of choosing a school was stressful, I couldn’t be happier with where I ended up! During my year and a half here, I have already started creating a portfolio, found an internship as a marketer for an urgent care facility, met amazing friends, worked on countless projects, joined JWU Providences Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) equestrian team and learned skills that I will keep with me throughout my career. I am extremely grateful to be a part of the JWU community, and I am excited to see what the next couple of years have in store for me.

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