For the free-spirited artistic individual, applying for art school scholarships may the most difficult part of attending art school. It requires careful attention to scheduling and meticulous planning. You may even have to do an Excel spread sheet to stay on track, because a free-spirit haphazard approach will leave you without a golden ticket.
Applying for a scholarship is, in many ways, more difficult than applying for a student loan. A scholarship application has an element of the sort of subjectivity that you find on American Idol or in a beauty pageant; whereas, applying for a student loan is primarily objective. To get a loan, you basically only need to show that you do not really need the money and you do the ability to pay it back. It boils down to figures on paper – pretty cut and dried as long as you do not tick off the loan officer.
However, an art school scholarship, like any other scholarship, is a contest to see which application will stand out from the rest as the most describing of the award. There are no loan officers with intractable objective criteria for making a final decision. There are sentences – subjectively indefinable sentences with nebulous parameters that can change without notice.
The fiercest competition will be for full ride scholarships and there are precious few of those. Not that you should not try for one, but do not count on it to be the sole source for financing your art education. The most common art school scholarships range from $ 250 – $ 2000. That may seem petty, but even $ 250 will buy some of the over-priced books you'll be required to purchase.
The key to winning a scholarship is time and planning. Take the time to position yourself well – to get the experience or fulfill requirements that judges are looking for. (You'll generally find that information on the application or instructions for the application.) If you can, track down past winners and find out what they did.
Once you've run that gauntlet, make sure you get your application in early. Waiting till the last minute will bury your paperwork in the pile of other last minute applications. That's no way to stand out. A couple weeks before the deadline should be sufficient in most cases.
Do not forget to check with actual institution you wish to attend as a source of an art school scholarship. Apply for more than one at a time to those organizations that do not restrict multiple applications. Inquire at art departments, community and civic groups, professional organizations, art festivals and competitions, and your current employer.
Beware of scholarship scams. Never pay for a scholarship. If you have to pay, what's the point of the scholarship?
The saying about making a lasting first impression definitely applies. Art school schools, like any other scholarship, are the American Idol of academia. You've got to get through the elimination process to get the award. So bring your A-game at every step along the way, and good luck. You're going to need it.