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Top 50 Students to Watch? Really?

stw16-nicole-meyer stw16-myles-thompson stw16-christiana-theophanopoulos

It’s always felt a bit unfair to be an art student at a public university. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, students who attend private art schools and pay boat loads of money seem to receive infinitely more exposure to the art world and encounter better overall opportunities. While going to school just outside of DC does present me with a lot of opportunity versus other parts of the country, GD USAs annual Students to Watch editorial in conjunction with The Creative Group seems to prove my point without a doubt.

This large editorial spread features 50 students from around the country who The Creative Group has discovered and considers them to be at the top of the game currently. I was given the issue of the magazine by my boss and was told to read through the up and coming students. Most importantly, to see where they are coming from, where they are going, and what inspires them. That sounded like fun, but pretty quickly into reading through them, I began to notice a pattern that was rather unsettling. As I continued reading, it got worse, and by the end, every single student that had been chosen had come from a private university.

These students may legitimately be the best of the best, and 50 students is a pretty small pool to pull from in the grand scheme of things, but I find the entire situation to be unrealistic and biased. It seems highly unlikely that there is not a random designer at a public university who is at the same caliber as these private art students. Perhaps I’m bitter because I almost had the opportunity to attend a private university, but unfortunately the scholarship was not enough for it to make sense. However, it looks like if I had forked over that money, maybe I would’ve at least had a chance to be in this top 50 list.

I understand that there tends to be smaller populations at private art schools, and the caliber of students there does tend to be at a slightly higher level. So, it would make sense that when composing a list like this, The Creative Group is going to reach out to a generally smaller pool of more talented individuals to make their life easier. But when they do that, in my personal opinion, they aren’t truly creative an accurate list. And they definitely are not highlighting the actual best of the best.

Am I misguided in my disappointment surrounding this, or do you believe the list is accurate and that I should stop being so full of myself even though I don’t believe I belong on this list? I just believe there are incredibly talented students out there somewhere that are being unfairly overlooked because they couldn’t afford to attend a private college.

If you’d like to see the list for yourself, I recommend seeking out the January/February 2016 issue of GD USA. They have a list of top professionals to watch as well which is highly enlightening. You can also view these lists online right here:

Students to Watch:

People to Watch: