A12: Let me repeat myself:

You do not need anyone’s permission to be a designer. Design can be a philosophy, a viewpoint, or a unique way of framing and tackling a problem. The best candidates cannot help themselves; they are always trying to improve and change the world around them. If you want to change something, you have to design. Show us what you care about through what you work on. One of our favorite professors used to say, “Use design to design.” We still agree.

However, if you are the kind of person who learns best in a structured environment, feel free to take any courses that will help you develop your design, ethnography, and visualization skills. You might look for classes that fall into the following rough categories:

1. Classes in leadership or entrepreneurship. These might include courses covering business plan writing and strategic thinking–or classes that involve you in team-based project work where you can hone your leadership skills and come away with evidence of success.

2. Classes in anthropology, ethnography, user-research or marketing.

3. Sketching/drawing/animation/filmmaking. As we design, we primarily use sketching and storytelling as a way to communicate our ideas to ourselves, to other designers, and to people we’re designing for. Any class that helps you get confident in your ability to get your ideas down on paper is great. Look for classes that cover things like quick sketching, storyboarding, animation, or filmmaking.

4. Other classes to develop a toolkit of skills that you can bring to the program.