First Wave Scholarship Program

Administered by the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives, the First Wave Hip Hop & Urban Arts Learning Community is the first university program in the country centered on urban arts, spoken word and hip-hop culture. It is a four-year, full-tuition scholarship program for hip-hop artists, activists, and scholars.

With the support of affiliated faculty, staff, and artists, First Wave students:

  • develop their craft as part of a high-level artistic community alongside faculty, staff, and nationally renowned spoken word and hip hop artists
  • pursue their academic and career goals by studying fields that merge their artistic interests with professional development
  • engage the community in creative service-learning projects that combine multicultural arts and activism

Four Year, Full-Tuition Scholarship
First Wave Hip Hop & Urban Arts Learning Community
Supplemental Questions
  1. I understand that to be considered for EARLY CONSIDERATION for the First Wave Scholarship Program, I must submit this application by January 22, 2024. I understand that if I make any changes to this application after January 22, it will be considered under REGULAR CONSIDERATION (deadline February 5, 2024).
  2. What is your Date of Birth?
  3. What are your pronouns?
  4. How would you best describe your gender identity?
  5. How did you find out about the First Wave Scholarship Program?
  6. If 'Current/Alum First Waver,' please enter their name. If 'Other,' please explain.
  7. The First Wave Hip Hop & Urban Arts Learning Community is founded on three pillars — Academics, Arts, and Activism. In your essay, describe how you can contribute to the First Wave community and uphold its pillars as a student at UW-Madison. Please provide examples or share an experience that highlights how your interests align with all three program pillars.
  8. Describe the evolution in your artistry. What art form(s) are you interested in, how did you get involved in these craft(s), and what are your goals with your art? If possible, highlight UW-Madison resources (courses, faculty, certificate programs and/or majors, etc) you think may be helpful to your evolution as an artist.
  9. Please define activism and what it means to you. In your essay, address how you have worked collaboratively with others to contribute to the greater good of a community. You may also highlight any of your experience in civic engagement (in your school community, after-school communities, volunteer or mentorship work, etc).
  10. The First Wave scholarship program is grounded in a particular form of divisive hip hop theater, as developed by founding OMAI/FW Artistic Director, Chris Walker, and coined as the “First Wave Pedagogy.” The first year of the program in particular focuses on collaborating across disciplines to create a multimedia production, often blending the various art forms practiced among all of the FW scholars represented in the first-year cohort (visual arts, movement, music, performance poetry, etc). Explain why you want to be a part of the First Wave Hip Hop & Urban Arts Learning Community, and highlight why exploration through hip hop/urban arts and collaborative art-making may be beneficial to your trajectory as a scholar, artist, and activist/community leader.
  11. Is there anything else we need to consider when reviewing your First Wave application?
  12. Here you will be asked to submit THREE artistic samples.

    If you would like to submit a video sample(s), please upload the video to YouTube, Vimeo, or Google Drive and share the link with us in the space provided. Please ensure that the privacy settings on the video are set to allow anyone with the link to view.

    For all other file types, please upload the sample(s) using the "Add a New File" options provided below.

    Please note that only three samples will be considered as a part of your First Wave application. If you submit more than three samples, only the first three will be reviewed.
    • Sample 1:
    • Sample 2:
    • Sample 3:
    • Video link 1:
    • Video link 2:
    • Video link 3:
  13. Please list two references below.
    • Reference #1
    • Reference #2
  14. Completion Checklist
    I understand that I must have completed and submitted all of the following required items by the REGULAR application deadline of February 5. Incomplete applications will not be considered for the First Wave Scholarship Program.
    1. Completed and submitted the Freshman or Transfer Admissions Online Application by January 16
    2. Submitted all mandatory materials to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment by January 22
    3. Completed the FIVE First Wave Essay Questions
    4. Uploaded THREE artistic samples
    5. Confirmed that my TWO recommenders have submitted recommendations on my behalf
    6. Submitted my First Wave Scholarship application

    The UW-Madison Admissions Application is due on January 16 and all required materials for that application are due by January 22. The First Wave application and all required materials for that application are due by February 5. Allow yourself enough time to complete both applications and the required materials.
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