Music education can be expensive, but that shouldn’t prevent you from pursuing a higher education (and career!) in music. Although student loans will help you cover most of the expenses associated with higher learning, scholarships are one of the best ways to fund your music education–you don’t have to pay them back, and you won’t have to worry about interest rates and surprise fees. Unfortunately, these perks make getting a scholarship quite competitive. From applying to as many scholarships as possible to having someone review your scholarship application for mistakes, here’s some advice that’ll help keep you sane throughout the scholarship application process.
Apply for as Many as Possible
Just as you probably applied to a handful of safety schools “just to be sure” you’d get into one, the same logic works here: the more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you are to receive one. Whatever you do, don’t regulate your scholarship search to the school or state of your choice! There are tons of opportunities for students that aren’t dependent on your musical ability. For example, if you suffer from certain medical conditions, have a father or mother who is part of the Armed Forces, or are the first person in your family to go to college, you may be eligible for general scholarships that can be applied to the school of your choice. By thinking outside the box and being open to a variety of opportunities, you’ll increase your chances of being awarded a scholarship.
Check Qualifications & Other Requirements
The last thing you want to do is waste your time applying for a scholarship you don’t even qualify for. Avoid wasting your time by reading through the qualification guidelines and other requirements, and evaluating whether or not you’re a prime candidate. If the scholarship is open to students who want to major in music theory, but you want to study performance, it probably isn’t worth the effort. When considering music or other school scholarships, make sure you understand what the individual, board, or organization is asking for and tailor your application toward it. One of the most important aspects of completing a scholarship application is how easily you can follow directions. If you omit a certain item or add in irrelevant information, your entire application could be flat out rejected.
Just as you wouldn’t start your final paper an hour before it’s due, you shouldn’t rush through the scholarship application process, either. Essentially, rushing through the application is a guaranteed way to make mistakes and get disqualified. Students who have found success with scholarships get started on the application as soon as possible. When creating a timetable to work from, aim to have everything completed about two to three weeks in advance of the deadline. This way if someone forgets to write a letter of recommendation or you misplaced some paperwork along the way, you’ll have time to get everything in place. The more time you give yourself to complete the application, the more confident you’ll feel about receiving a scholarship, which can cut out a lot of unnecessary stress from your life.
Have Someone Else Review It
Did you know every news story you read online goes through at least 1-2 rounds of editing? It never hurts to have a second pair of eyes review your work for errors, and the same goes for your scholarship application. Ask a friend or family member to review the application for misspellings and grammar mistakes. You should be meticulous, and make sure every question is answered in detail and that every facet of the application is completed in full. Remember, neatness counts. Make several copies of the application so you have a working draft, and pass these around to your friends and family members–don’t give them the copy you intend to mail, unless you intend to mail a packet that’s covered with fingerprints and coffee stains.
Pay Attention to the Video
If you’re applying for a music scholarship specifically, some will require a performance video to be submitted along with the written essays and other paperwork. Since this is a music-based scholarship, this part of your submission is very important. Read through the requirements, and make sure you’re selecting a piece of music that meets their criteria. Practice every song you need to record, and perform them all in one sitting. On the day of recording, make sure you arrange enough time to allow yourself to take breaks between each recording, and leave some time to re-do some, if necessary. If you’re renting a studio, rent more time than you think you’ll need–the last thing you want is to rush through your recording because you’re worried about time. Last but not least, dress appropriately. This is your chance to make an impression with the “judges”, so dress to impress!
Does your scholarship application require a live audition? Check out our Tips for Giving the Perfect Vocal Audition.