Sometimes being an artist can help you not to starve. If your high school student is gifted and accomplished in the arts, those talents may be worth money in college. It turns out, a number of universities offer arts scholarships, to attract talented students to enrich the student body (regardless of financial need). There are many possible institutional reasons for offering these scholarships, such as: an attempt to balance out a student community that may be more commonly known for strengths in science, business or engineering; an attempt to recruit the most talented artists, performers, or writers for a school already reputed in those areas; or the direction of a generous benefactor who is a patron of the arts.
Unlike academic merit scholarships, arts merit awards often require a separate application, examples of one’s work (CD/DVD, live audition, portfolio, writing sample), and recommendations from artistic instructors or directors. Therefore, it is important to learn about these scholarships and prepare for them on a timetable similar to Early Action (November of senior year). If awarded the scholarship, some schools may require the student major or minor in the field, or at least participate in a related program (i.e., ensemble), in order for the scholarship to be annually renewed. If your student is applying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Music degree, which requires an audition or portfolio and artistic recommendations from the outset, that student will automatically be cosidered for an artistic merit scholarship without an additional application. Because BFA or BM candidates who have been accepted to small, competitive, elite programs already need to be exceptionally talented performers, most likely they will earn artistic merit money, at both private and public institutions.
If your teen has artistic talent, here are some schools that should be on his or her radar screen (it’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a robust start….):
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