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By: Scott Cline on September 17th, 2018

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10 tips for finding scholarships for art schools


Making the decision to enter art school is only the beginning of a prospective student's journey. Deciding how you will pay for school is a critical next step, and securing art school scholarships can help offset some or all of the cost of pursuing an art degree.

Here are 10 tips that will help you find scholarships for art school:

1. Commit to the time required to find art school scholarships

The first step to success finding an art scholarship is understanding that it will take some effort. Applying for a scholarship in art requires time and careful thought to search for opportunities, craft your portfolio, and track your submissions. Dedicating yourself to the process is the first step to successfully finding an art school scholarship.

2. Ask your school for help

The easiest place to get help finding a scholarship for art school is your current school. Talk to your guidance counselor, administrators, and faculty in the art department for information about applying for art school scholarships. Check your art department’s web site for online resources and scholarship listings. If you don’t have an art department in your current school, connect with faculty at nearby schools with art departments and solicit their help.

3. Check local publications

Photo by Keenan Constance

There are probably print resources in your area that advertise upcoming scholarship opportunities. These publications can be helpful to your pursuit of scholarships, especially ones that specialize in your chosen field of art. For example, creative writing magazines will often advertise writing scholarships offered by local universities or community organizations.

4. Talk to your top college choices

If you've already decided to attend art school, there's a good chance that you've identified a few colleges you would love to attend. Get in touch with their admissions department and professors at the art school to see what advice they can offer about scholarships.

5. Get a second opinion on your submissions

Any art school scholarship application will require a full portfolio or at least a sample of your previous work. Even if you feel your submission is top-notch, it is helpful to get a second opinion from someone who has specific experience with art school. former student, professor, or admissions counselor can help you make sure your application presents you in your best light.  

6. Use the internet to expand your search

Thanks to technology, you can look for art school scholarships all over the world. Sites like Cappex and allow you to search for scholarships based on keywords and geographic locations.

7. Maximize your chances of getting financial aid

Just because a scholarship is awarded based on a type of art outside your area of expertise doesn't mean it should be taken off your list. Maybe your passion is fine art photography, but you're also a pretty capable digital illustrator. Your best bet is to be open minded and apply for scholarships for both fields.

8. Reach out to civic organizations

If you or your family is a part of a church, community center, PTA, or other type of community association, seek out special opportunities for scholarships, or connections to people who do. Take a few minutes to send a quick email or call the organization's leadership or administrative staff – you may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

9. Reorganize your portfolio for each submission

You don't have to completely re-work your portfolio for each scholarship application you submit, but it's important to arrange its contents in a logical order based on the application requirements. If you are applying for a scholarship in sculpture, make sure your portfolio highlights these samples and places less emphasis on or excludes other kinds of work.

10. Work on your presentation skills

Some art scholarships will require you to explain your portfolio to a panel of judges, either in-person or in a written essay. Make sure you have a strong understanding of the importance of each piece in your portfolio, and the ability to explain it both verbally and in writing.


Getting a scholarship takes work, but if you are creative about your search and willing to put in the time to craft a quality submission, you can study a field you are passionate about at a free or heavily discounted tuition cost. You'll also want to make sure you spend time researching the right schools to apply to, so you can find the best college to satisfy your unique needs. 

For more tips on finding the art school of your dreams, check out our full guide:

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About Scott Cline

Dr. Scott Cline is vice president of enrollment at California College of the Arts, where he leads the financial aid and undergraduate admissions offices. He has worked at CCA for over six years, previously as director and associate director of financial aid.


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