Music education can be expensive. If you’ve chosen to pursue a career in music you know that college isn’t cheap. And although student loans will most likely give you the ability to pay for higher learning, scholarships offer the best means of paying for your education. However, the competition can be very high for this type of “gift” funding. These tips can help you apply for a music school scholarship by outlining some keys to success that will give you a competitive advantage.
Apply for as Many Awards as Possible
Don’t just regulate your scholarship search to the school of your choice. There are tons of opportunities for students that aren’t limited to your musical ability. For example, you can find funds for your unique demographic, if you are the first person in your family to attend college, if you have family members who served in the Vietnam War, or if you have certain medical conditions. By looking at a variety of opportunities, you’ll increase your odds of being accepted by one or more of the awards.
Make Sure You Qualify
Nothing is worse than making the preparations for a specific award and then discovering half-way through the process that it only applies to certain individuals, of which, you’re not. Avoid wasting your time by reading all of the qualifications beforehand and verifying your eligibility.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Rushing through the application process is the fastest way to ensure that you’ll make mistakes and get disqualified. Successful scholarship recipients start working on the process as soon as possible. You should also give yourself a target time to have everything completed about two weeks before the submission deadline. This includes letters of recommendation, your (uncut) performance video, and all of the written work. Giving yourself plenty of time to complete the application will help you avoid errors.
Identify and Understand the Criteria
When considering music or other school scholarships, make certain that you understand what the individual, acceptance board, or organization is asking for, and tailor your application towards it. It won’t do any good to add irrelevant information. In fact, it could actually hurt. One of the most important (yet, understated) aspects of completing a scholarship application is how it demonstrates your ability to follow directions. If you omit a certain item or neglect to add some small part, your entire application could be rejected.
Attention to Detail
This is another area where you can gain an advantage. It’s vital that all of your information is arranged as it should be, and that there are absolutely no misspellings. Proofread all of the written parts of the application and go ahead and have a few other people read it as well. You should be meticulous and ensure that you’ve completed the requirements correctly and accurately.
Remember, neatness counts. Make several copies of the application so that you can have a working draft, and then finalize the one you’re going to submit using type, not handwriting.
Many music scholarships will often require a performance video along with the written essays and other paperwork. This portion of your submission is very important. If you’re applying for several different scholarships, make a list of each one’s requirements before you arrange for studio or auditorium time. For example, application “A” calls for song “X and Y” along with your own choice, while application “B” asks for song “Z.” Practice every song you need to record and perform them all in one sitting.
Make sure that you arrange for enough time to allow you to take breaks between each recording, and re-do some, if necessary. Dress appropriately and ask your friends or family for help. Another opinion is always good to have on hand.
When completing the resume or personal essay portion of the application, it’s a good idea to make a rough draft of your accomplishments. List everything that you think might be relevant, and then talk to your family, friends, and teachers about their thoughts before compiling your work. You may have forgotten something, or those people might have different views on the same accomplishments that will help you formulate a comprehensive look at your abilities.
Know Your Audience
When filling out everything in your music scholarships, remember to develop the application with your audience in mind. It won’t hurt to look at the sponsor information and use it to guide your submission. For example, if one of the board members loves a certain type of music, you may want to use that style for your “personal” performance choice. Obviously, your application should reflect your interests and talents, but it doesn’t hurt to do a little research.
Earning music school scholarships is an excellent way to fund your education. Find your opportunities at your school and here.