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Design Connections Application & Policies

Thinking about applying to Design Connections? Here’s an outline of our application process, with important policies, deadlines and information to be aware of.

How to Apply:

Design Connections application opens at 9:00 a.m. on January 31, 2023.

A link to our application portal will be posted HERE on our website.

1. Check qualifications to apply.

Design Connections Residential Experience is for Rising 10th – 12th Grade students meeting the following qualifications:

  • A North Carolina student from a cultural or ethnic background underrepresented in the design profession
  • And one or more of the following:
    • A student attending a public school which receives Title I Funding, and/or
    • A student who is eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals, and/or

Additionally, those planning to apply are required to submit these items:

  • A statement from the parent/guardian, attesting that their student meets the qualifications of acceptance (to be submitted in the online application, on the Parent/Guardian Form)
  • A statement of interest from the student, demonstrating their motivations for attending this experience, and what they hope to gain from the experience (to be submitted in the online application, on the Student Information form)
  • A letter of recommendation from a teacher, guidance counselor, community member, or mentor (non-family members) attesting to the applicant’s creative potential and academic achievement and integrity (to be emailed from the recommender’s school or work email address to designlab_k12@ncsu.edu with the subject line reading “Design Connections Recommendation for [Student’s First and Last Name]”).

2. Create an application account and begin your application.

Design Connections application opens at 9:00 a.m. on January 31, 2023.

A link to our application portal will be posted HERE on our website.

Household account: Our online application system requires families to create a household profile from which to submit their application. If you have registered for our other programs through our online portal in the past, you will use the same email and password you used in the past to login and apply through your existing household account. The email address used to set up your account should be that of the parent/guardian who will be the main point of contact for all Design Connections communications. Parents and guardians, PLEASE keep track of your login information, as you will need to revisit your account throughout the application process, and during your student’s week of this experience.

We encourage everyone to allow adequate time to review and carefully complete the application process. You may save your work and complete your application in more than one sitting if need be.

Communications: Keep an eye out for communications about Design Connections, and check any email settings that may filter automatic replies from your inbox. 

Early application is HIGHLY encouraged. Application system will close on April 10, 2023. If Design Connections fills up, students will be able to join a waitlist.

It is the policy of NC State to provide equality of opportunity in all education programs and activities.

3. Follow the steps through the online application system.

The Design Connections application system will walk you through various steps to submit your application. If you need assistance or have questions during this process, please contact our office at designlab_k12@ncsu.edu. We are happy to help!

4. Submit your letter of recommendation.

The letter of recommendation should come from a teacher, guidance counselor, community member, or mentor (non-family members) and should attest to the applicant’s creative potential and academic achievement and integrity. Recommendation letters should be emailed from the recommender’s school or work email address to designlab_k12@ncsu.edu with the subject line reading “Design Connections Recommendation for [Student’s First and Last Name]”). Recommendation letters MUST be received no later than April 10, 2023.

If our office has NOT received an applicant’s letter of recommendation by April 3, 2023, our staff will contact those applicants individually so that they can reach out to their recommender to remind them to submit the letter by the deadline. 

If our office has NOT received an applicant’s letter of recommendation by the April 10, 2023 deadline, we will no longer consider this applicant for a spot in the Design Connections Experience and we will reach out to waitlisted applicants. 

5. Once you have submitted your application online and we have received your letter of recommendation, you’re done!

Starting the week of April 17, 2023 applicants will begin receiving placement emails from our registration system. Applicants will have until Friday, April 28, 2023 to accept and confirm their spot in this experience. If an applicant’s confirmation is not received by Friday, April 28, students from the waitlist will be contacted. 

In early-May 2023, we will email out a digital packet with further details and information on preparing for the Design Connections Experience. The packet will include important information for you to keep and use in preparing for your residential week on campus. PARENTS AND STUDENTS, PLEASE REVIEW THE PACKET VERY CAREFULLY TOGETHER.

Waitlist Policy

If all available spaces in the Design Connections Experience fill, a waitlist will be established in our online application. You can still submit an application once a camp is in waitlist status. A letter of recommendation is STILL required, and MUST be submitted by April 10, 2023, for waitlisted applicants. 

  • Application window closes on April 10, 2023, after which, those on the waitlist will be notified as spots become available. 

Those remaining on the waitlist as of April 21, 2023 will have the option to stay on the waitlist or withdraw their application. Our staff will contact remaining waitlisted applicants on April 21, 2023, with further information and details. 

Communications Policy

Please note that we handle all program applications and other important communications through our online application system and email (designlab_k12@ncsu.edu) as a means of keeping organized communication records. The parent/guardian who creates the application account will be the main point of contact for their student’s application. The email address used when logging into your account will be used for all pre-Design Connections contact. PLEASE KEEP TRACK OF YOUR LOGIN INFORMATION. Students should not be the main point of contact for the application account. We will need phone numbers for parents/guardians as well as students for use during the residential week, in the event of an emergency. When creating your household account and completing your application, PLEASE ensure that all information provided is thorough and accurate.

If you need to reach the Design Lab staff, email is the preferred and quickest way to reach us. If you have a question, concern or request regarding the application, forms, placement, or student needs, we ask that you email us. If you would prefer to discuss an issue over the phone, please email us with the nature of your request, and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Please check your spam filter and any firewalls to make sure you can receive emails from these addresses. Adding us to your address book will also ensure all of our communications reach you. We ask that you please read emails that you receive from us promptly, and respond as needed in a timely manner. This will allow us to better serve you. Because applications must be processed carefully and individually by our staff, we appreciate your attention to communications from our team, and your patience with the process.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your application, please contact our staff at designlab_k12@ncsu.edu.

Equal Opportunity Policy

If you are a person with a disability or special concern and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in Design Connections, please contact us at designlab_k12@ncsu.edu to discuss accommodations prior to submitting your application. It is the policy of NC State to provide equality of opportunity in all education programs and activities. NC State engages in equal opportunity and affirmative action efforts and prohibits discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. For more information on NC State’s Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy, please visit policies.ncsu.edu.