November 07, 2011
Art degree programs in the country’s colleges and universities are as diverse as the students who pursue them, from art therapy to American folk art and history. However, even as an incredibly diverse group, there’s one thing that most art students have in common: the challenge of finding money for tuition and the aim of graduating with a limited amount of student debt. If you’re an aspiring or current art student, get creative both in and outside of the classroom and explore these tips for funding your degree path:
Gathering Your Tools
If you’ve already chosen the school you’d like to attend, one of the first places you should look for scholarships is the school’s art department. Many larger schools often offer scholarship prizes to women, first year students, minority students, and students with high grade point averages. You can also check with local arts organizations and local civic and charity groups for scholarship and grant opportunities. Finally, don’t forget to check traditional web-based scholarship databases like Fastweb and Scholarships.com on a regular basis.
Mixing Your Palette
Once you have a list of scholarship opportunities, it’s important to read through application instructions thoroughly to ensure that you’re following directions—missing even the tiniest detail can cost you. Apply to every legitimate scholarship opportunity you can find, and apply early—there’s going to be fierce competition, and the earlier your application is in, the better.
Applying early is a good way to increase your chances of landing a scholarship, but giving yourself enough time to prepare is also important. Many scholarships are offered annually or once a semester—so once you have a list of scholarships you’d like to apply for, consider preparing your applications for the following semester or school year. Getting an early start will give you more time to prepare a knockout application.
Presenting Your Handiwork
Unlike other students, art students often have to present their artwork instead of writing—so be sure that you have a portfolio of your best work ready to present for scholarship applications. You might even consider . An online portfolio can give you a repository for your work throughout your college career, but it can also be a place for potential scholarship providers—even potential employers—to see your art, as well as your progression as an artist.
Finding funding for school can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be: find lots of opportunities and apply to as many as you can, apply early, and have a body of your best work ready to present to potential scholarship providers. Once you’ve done the tough work of applying for scholarships, you’ll be able to concentrate on the important work: earning your degree.
Chi Norris is a writer and visual artist who likes painting, poetry, and reading memoirs. She graduated with a B.A. in English and writes on behalf of American InterContinental University's online MBA program. She also blogs for artroommelody.com.
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