Student Stories: Philip Rau

Philip Rau

Major: Graphic Design

When Philip Rau was 8, his parents bought him Photoshop rather than a gaming system.

"Instead of wasting long hours on videogames, I tooled around on the computer exploring the software," he said. "I created silly .gif animations, photo manipulations and even imitated designs I saw in National Geographic Kids magazine."

He decided to turn his fascination into a career in graphic design. Although he originally wanted to attend Columbia College in Chicago, Rau selected College of DuPage because of its affordability and ability to get financial aid.

What he discovered at COD was a program that rivaled, if not surpassed, those at four-year institutions.

“COD has been a real blessing to me in more ways than I can count,” he said. “It was phenomenal and I learned so much. Along the way, I found many great career and resumé-building opportunities. Thanks to a part-time teacher, I got a tip that led to my first design internship. I was approached to be the Adobe Partners By Design student rep for COD, promoting Adobe software and the Design Achievement Awards. I became the president of AIGA at COD, leading the group with others in creating self portraits, posters and illustrating a children's book for a gallery show.”

Rau also earned several honors: honorable mention for a travel brochure at COD’s annual Portfolio Night; honorable mention for his entry into the Ravinia poster design competition, where he placed in the top five of 150 entries; and winner of the Best New Ad competition, designing the print advertisement for DonateLife Illinois.

Rau earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in Graphic Design and the Graphic Design Level II certificate. He then has received a presidential scholarship to the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, followed by the single presidential scholarship to the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, which provides $10,000 per term.

“It was really exciting for me because I have always felt drawn to mountains,” he said. “I’ve lived in flat, relatively dull Midwest states like Nebraska and Iowa my entire life, and going to Denver was really thrilling.”

Rau landed a paid internship for Markit Digital (formerly Markit on Demand) in Boulder. After graduating Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in Graphic Design, Rau stayed at Markit Digital and currently is a senior designer. He continues to work on web, mobile, and desktop application UI & UX design for financial clients around the world.

He thanks College of DuPage for providing him with the best start possible.

“You will not find a better bang for your buck than COD’s Graphic Design program,” he said. “The instructors here know what they're talking about and they really push you to succeed. Graduates leave here in two years with better work than some four-year private colleges. I would highly recommend it!”

More about the Graphic Design program