There are quite a few art and design scholarships out there for you to discover, you just need to know what to look for and how to present yourself in the best light to your future school.
WHERE TO LOOK FOR ART SCHOLARSHIPS
There are many groups and civic organizations that have monies available for scholarships. While most are not complete tuition, if you combine a few, it will certainly help. Where to look?
- Community and Civic Groups (Talk to your parents or your family members to see what their Elk, Eagles, Moose, or other groups may be up to.)
- Professional Organizations (Rotary, Exchange Club, etc.)
- Your Employer, Local Businesses and National Chains (You’d be surprised at who is giving out money!) Contact your HR department and see if they have monies available for scholarships. You may have to take specific classes related to your job, but every little bit helps.
- Charitable Foundations (It doesn’t hurt to volunteer prior to asking either. This not only is a win-win situation, but it puts a face on your application.)
- Arts Festivals and Competitions (you may have to enter work and pay a registration fee, but the end monetary results might be great!)
- Art Schools — This may seem obvious, but students often overlook scholarships offered by the very schools to which they’re applying. It never hurts to ask. Many schools have work/study programs where you work in your field and go to school at the same time.
- Look local, too. Look around your neighborhood and your place of worship. Look at the people in your neighborhood. It never hurts to ask.
- Scholarship directories like FastWeb.com also offer scholarships.
Once you’ve found all the available awards, get organized. Start as list of what is out there, with the most important part of the list being the DEADLINE!
WINNING ART SCHOLARSHIPS
Give Yourself Time
Read through all of the application and make sure you are a good match. If there are requirements that you may not have met or excelled in, now you have a year to do it and really impress the reviewers. If you start late, then it’s less likely that you’ll have done exactly what the reviewers are looking for, and you may have to stretch things to make it appear that you did. Bad idea
If possible (and it’s not always possible), do what you can to talk to some of the people granting the scholarships and find out specifically what they’re looking for. Often, organizations will have summaries of winning applications for you to review – definitely inquire about that
Most people turn their stuff in at the last minute, so don’t you dare be in with that crowd! When the application deadline approaches, you must get your stuff in early to stand out from the crowd.
First impressions last! If your application is strong, and you get it in the hands of the judges early, then there’s a much better chance that they will remember you. You need to show that you’re different from the rest, more deserving than the rest. An important way to do that it to get it done before the rest – one to two weeks in advance should be plenty.
Start early, think ahead. Your chances will be much better.
Ask for a critique. Contact your art teacher from high school, or contact a local artist to look at your portfolio with an objective eye. It never hurts to have another person check out your portfolio for spelling errors or artwork that just doesn’t work with your collection. Be sure to thank this person for their time and advice
Reality Check #1: Be wary of folks on the web, in the mail or on the phone who say you must pay them in order to get a scholarship. The offers may sound enticing, but it also may be a marketing trick. When in doubt, ask.
Reality Check #2: You won’t find too many Art Scholarships that will provide a free ride the entire way through the college experience. Yes, there are some. But the competition is fierce, with thousands of students applying, and you’d better not bet your house that you’ll get one — no matter how good you are. And, if you are that good, you better be prepared to back that up with work that is exceptional and stands out from the crowd.
The most abundant scholarships are in the $250 to $2,000 range. Before you scoff, remember that every little bit helps, and even the smallest scholarship will buy some pretty expensive books or art supplies (which are pretty expensive!) for a semester or two.