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Student Experience

Raney Wilson: Why Scholarships Matter

Raney Wilson headshot

Raney Wilson is a sophomore graphic design student in the College of Design from Saxapahaw, NC and a recipient of the Raleigh Hunter Scholarship in Visual Design. Hear how scholarships have impacted her experience at the college. You can also see more of her personal work at

When I got my early acceptance letter from the College of Design in mid-December, I screamed so loud out of excitement that my dad thought I’d seen a spider. It was, and still is to this day, one of the proudest moments in my life. 

I knew from the moment I toured NC State that it was where I wanted to be. It was so inspiring to walk through the hallways of Leazar and see other student’s work pinned up. You could really sense the passion and hard work that went into their projects. I had toured other art schools before, but nothing compared to what I saw lining the walls at the College of Design. Being a person with a strong analytical side, I craved an artistic college experience that would let me use my creativity in practical ways. I knew I had a talent for the arts, but I wanted to use it in ways beyond making something pretty. 

However, like many other students, the cost of tuition has been a huge burden on me and my family. While I was in high school, my parents were forced to deplete my college savings due to exorbitant medical bills after a family emergency. Because of this, I had to take out student loans to finance the entirety of my education. Over four years, this really, really adds up to an overwhelming amount of debt. I’ve applied to countless scholarships and grants, turning up empty-handed almost every time.

But where I saw my future self wouldn’t be possible without an education, especially one from the College of Design. I would like to one day be a music branding designer, helping artists turn their songs and albums into compelling, meaningful visuals. There is something so powerful in the relationship between music and design, and I want to be a part of it. Without the program here at NC State, I would’ve never realized this vision.

Examples of Raney’s Work:

See more of Raney’s work at

I’ve always loved school. I’m very fortunate to have grown up in a family that encouraged me to pursue whatever I wanted and pushed me to aim high, despite circumstances that were out of my control. I was set on going to college, even though the road to finance it was going to be tough. Even amidst the anxiety surrounding my future, choosing to attend the College of Design was truly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. From making a giant paper garment to learning how to code a 3D website, I’ve already learned more than I ever thought I would. I know that this training is incomparable, and will serve me greatly in the future, both in my long-term professional career and in my day-to-day life.

Every little bit of help counts. I was ecstatic when I received the Raleigh Hunter Scholarship. It felt like all the hard work I’d done was being seen, and I could finally breathe again. It gave me hope and motivation to keep going. It gave me the knowledge that good things will come with enough persistence and patience. There are so many other students who find themselves in similar situations; People who have big dreams and goals, but just need the opportunity to make it work. Education is so important, and cost shouldn’t have to be a barrier.