Tis the season for music scholarship scams and services who want to lure you into paying for access to “thousands of scholarships, internships, and jobs” for a “small fee.” Don’t believe it and, most of all, don’t buy it. Any scholarship or internship that’s worth applying for is one where you don’t have to “pay to play.” But you have to do your homework to find them.
For now, let’s focus on scholarships. Conservatories, music colleges, music schools and music departments all offer scholarships. In addition, there are scholarships through foundations; community groups; banks and credit unions; parents’ workplaces; religious-based organizations; and chambers of commerce. Free scholarship services such as FastWeb are worth signing up for but remember to check the websites of any leads you find to verify deadlines and other requirements.
How do you find these scholarships? Here are a few things you can do to simplify your search:
- Create a plan for how you are going to go about looking for scholarships. Be ready to adapt the plan as you learn more.
- Take the time to see what’s out there — before you’re swamped with applications, audtions, senior year requirements, performances, etc.
- Make a chart of all the deadlines you come across — these are hard and fast.
- Check out Paying for Music School: Ideas for Cutting Costs for links to a wide range of scholarships for music majors, as well to FAFSA.
- Consider putting together a generic scholarship application you can save on your computer and then edit and tweak when the time comes to really sending it.
Finding scholarships takes time and effort but in the end, can save you thousands of dollars as well as help get you to where you want to be going. Remember that looking for scholarships is an ongoing process — In the course of your search, you may also come across opportunities you can apply for once you start college.