The Wide World of Graphic Arts Scholarships What Is Available & How to Get Them
Finding graphic arts scholarships can be a difficult and time consuming process. However, the reward is almost certainly worth the time and effort. Obtaining scholarships is exactly like finding free money, which is something that everyone is interested in.
Many students interested in pursuing a graphic arts education may be concerned about how to find such scholarships. Many are fearful about their prospects of qualifying for such financial help. After all, not everyone has a 4.0 GPA.
Rest assured that your grades, while certainly helpful in the process of obtaining graphic arts scholarships, are not the only factor involved. Many people with less than stellar academic performance qualify for and obtain excellent scholarships every year.
There are scholarships which look at what we call ‘non-academic’ areas. This could be anything from sports you are interested in playing (even if you have not played before, in some cases) to clubs you participate in. Awards and honors you have received may also qualify you for certain scholarships.
Some scholarships are awarded based on writing or other abilities. Essay-writing scholarships typically only require a well written essay or application. The same goes for talent based awards. If you can sing or draw, you may have a chance.
Other awards are granted based on demographics or employment.
Women and minorities are popular categories for scholarships. Maybe there are awards given to students who live in certain areas or regions of the country. Children of employees from some corporations may qualify. There are even awards given out on the basis of ethnicity or national heritage/origin.
One thing to understand even before getting started is to not fall for any type of scholarship scam. Please pay attention to these tips:
- Do not pay anyone to “help” you get a scholarship or award
- Do not consider any source which charges an application fee
- Watch out for offers claiming that you are a finalist in some scholarship contest
- Do not fall for anything that claims to be ‘guaranteed or your money back’
- Anyone that claims you cannot get this information anywhere else should be avoided
- Any service or company that claims they will do all the work for you (the “work” will probably just involve running off with your fee)
Just be careful, use your good judgment and do not pay anyone to help you find a scholarship.
There are many different sources available to help you find scholarships. Some of the best are close to home. Start by checking with your high school guidance department. You may also want to look at individual college or university art and design departments. Some other possible sources include:
- Professional organizations
- Charitable foundations
- Community and civic groups
- Employers (yours, parents or even other local or national businesses)
- Local businesses, especially those you know well and frequently deal with
- Art festivals and competitions
- Online and offline scholarship directories
There are a ton of great resources available on the internet. However, before you really start searching these resources, make sure that you fully complete the applications or requested information. You are essentially doing a database search, and it is important to use as many ‘key’ words as possible. Make sure to include all of your extra curricular activities including clubs, honors, awards, sports and even activities you are simply interested in. With all this in mind, here are some great online resources you might want to consider.
|Fast Web||Arguably the best. The database is updated most frequently, has the best match criteria and allows you to apply to many different awards. More than 35 million registered users.|
|College Board Fund Finder||An annually updated database listing programs from over 3,300 national, state, public and private sources.|
|Scholarships.com||Good coverage of awards and has a fairly precise match.|
|Peterson’s Award Database||Lists awards from approximately 2000 sources. A highly trusted site.|
|Next Student||A free search which results in a large number of matches from a wide variety of sources.|
|Broke Scholar||Feels like they have either a small database or an overly tight matching process. May be a subset of the Peterson database.|
|Scholarship Experts||Award listings include detailed information and even display a list of expired awards for comparison purposes.|
|College Data||The scholarship match is not as precise as the database would indicate. Seems to be a licensed subset of the Peterson site.|
|Art Deadlines List||Lists numerous scholarships, awards, fellowships, grants, jobs and internships in the arts. National and international contests are also listed for students between K-12 grade levels.|
Once you have found some possible awards and scholarships, it is important to keep everything organized. Create a chart, table or even a spreadsheet with all of the important details. This includes the sponsor, name of award, contact person, amount of award, requirements and the deadline.
Look at the specific requirements of each award you are interested in. Decide upon a strategy to best position yourself to meet all of the qualifications. It is very helpful if you start this process early. Maybe you can even track down former winners or those who run the process. Ask for advice about what you need to do to win these awards. Many of these scholarships will have files that include summaries of the winning applications. Endeavor to obtain and review these.
All of this should give you enough information to tailor your specific application to give you an excellent chance. Another important suggestion is to try and impress the judges. One of the best ways to do this is by turning in your application at least one to two weeks early. If possible, deliver it in person.
When you are attempting to find graphic arts scholarships, it really helps to start early and to realize that this is a long process. You must remain patient and persistent. Use the resources listed above and then plan out an organized strategy. This is especially true if you need to do some work to better position yourself for meeting qualifications and requirements. Doing all of this will ensure that you have the best possible chance of finding quality graphic arts scholarships to help pay for your education.