3 Myths You Should Know About Creative Scholarships

Creative scholarships are a great and often unutilized resource for paying for college. Here are three things you probably assume about them that aren't true.

Private scholarships from companies, organizations, individuals, and foundations are created to honor, acknowledge, and award any criteria they choose. It’s their money—they get to decide what the scholarship will be for and who they’ll award it to. Most scholarships from private sources relate to impact and are awarded based on criteria that aligns with a company or organization’s mission.

Despite the fact that scholarships are awarded for many topics and reasons, students often have tunnel vision when it comes to their scholarship pursuits. I refer to this as pursuing with “scholarship blinders”; examples include when students only search for scholarships related to:

  • GPA or merit;
  • Academic major or career pursuit;
  • Extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs;
  • Community service; and
  • Leadership.

Of course, there are private scholarships for these popular categories, but limiting your search with only this criteria can short-change a student in the number of scholarship opportunities they actually qualify for. This is especially true with creative scholarships. There are three common myths students often believe about these types of awards. Regardless of your future academic pursuit, knowing the truth about creative scholarships can expand your scholarship search and potential award opportunities exponentially.

Myth #1: “I have to major in Art to apply for an art scholarship”

As with all academic majors, there are scholarships related to specific career fields, but unless it’s specified in the eligibility information for the scholarship, it’s open to all academic majors. Therefore, a student pursuing Business can apply also to a scholarship related to art, film, graphic design, or any other creative talent.

Example: The CARiD Scholarship: This scholarship is open to US students aged 16–20 who are currently enrolled in post-secondary education. Applicants must submit a photo inspired by any aspect of the automotive industry. The award is $1,000, and the deadlines are April 30 and October 31. This scholarship doesn’t require the applicant to be pursuing photography. A student who’s studying or interested in any academic field can submit a photo and be considered for the award. 

Related: How to Expand Your Reach and Find Scholarships in Hidden Places 

Myth #2: “I don’t have time to create something for an application”

Creative scholarships are excellent opportunities to use your “ready-to-go materials.” These include any past assignments you completed for previous courses or projects, such as papers, presentations, essays, poems, or artwork you’ve saved and have quick access to. This absolutely includes creative and artistic assignments from art, design, and music classes.

Example: International Documentary Photography Scholarship: This scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate students worldwide regardless of their academic major. It’s intended to encourage personal involvement in social issues and promote socially conscious documentary photography. The award will be mailed to the recipient in the form of a bank check for $1,000, and the deadline is January 1. With this scholarship, a student could submit an original photo they took anytime and have saved on their phone or computer. Applying with ready-to-go materials can be a huge time saver and dramatically increase the number of scholarships a student is able to expedite.  

Myth #3: “Creative scholarships are only for high school seniors and current college students”

Many creative scholarships exist for younger students, because creativity is relatable for all ages. And most scholarships allow underclassmen to win and hold the money for their future education.

Example: We the Future Contest: This is a scholarship from Constituting America. There are various categories of scholarships for students as young as age five up to students over the age of 65. Awards go up to $2,000, and all have deadlines of September 17. Contests with monetary prizes include:

  • Students ages 5–­12 in grades K­­–5 can submit a poem or a holiday card as part of their application for an award of $100.
  • Students ages 11–15 in grades 6–8 must submit an essay, STEM project, song, or PSA for an award of $200.
  • Students ages 14–19 in grades 9–12 must submit an essay, STEM project, song, film, or PSA for a chance at a $1,000 award.
  • Undergraduate students ages 17–24 with 12 or more credit hours can submit a speech, STEM project, song, film, or PSA to try to win an award of $2,000.
  • Students age 18 or older in graduate or law school can submit a short film or speech for an award of $2,000.
  • K–12 teachers can submit a lesson plan that addresses the US Constitution for a chance to win an award of $1,000. 

Related: Ultimate Scholarship Guide: Searching for Scholarships

Students who strive to reduce their college costs with scholarships should make creative scholarships an essential component of their expanded list of categories to pursue. Just because you’re not pursuing an artistic field as your career doesn’t mean your creative pursuits aren’t worth recognizing and utilizing. So get out there and find creative scholarships to help you pay for college!

Start your search for creative scholarships right here on CollegeXpress with our Scholarship Search tool.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:

About Jean O'Toole

Jean O’Toole is an educational consultant and author of the bestselling book Scholarship Strategies: Finding and Winning the Money You Need. Over the past 15 years, she has helped tens of thousands of students in the United States. Individuals collectively have been awarded millions of dollars by applying Jean’s scholarship strategies. In 2008, Jean co-founded Connections101, a company specializing in providing motivational tools for scholarship searching. It is her goal to empower students to design their paths to their future without college debt. Visit Connections101.com for more information, and follow Jean on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Sadie Hartmann

Sadie Hartmann

High School Class of 2021

I'm a senior in high school, and CollegeXpress has helped me in so many ways this year in trying to navigate the process of deciding and committing to a university. The COVID-19 Student Resource Center has helped me many times with the most up-to-date and accurate information, along with financial aid and student life [advice]. During these uncertain times, CollegeXpress has been a great recourse to relieve the stress as a senior. Along with the COVID-19 Student Resource Center, I'm constantly using the extremely helpful tools off the site to aid me during this stressful process. Tools like the lists and rankings of universities have been the most beneficial. I've also used the site to receive expert advice on topics like financial aid. Finally, CollegeXpress has helped me easily apply for several scholarships. I'm thankful to be given the chance to win a scholarship to lessen the burden of my college debt.

Victoria Fuss

Victoria Fuss

March Madness Scholarship Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me dramatically. Moving on to the next level has been a dream of my mine since I was just a young kid, and the support and help CollegeXpress has given me will help me further my education. I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone at CollegeXpress!

Heaven Johnson

Heaven Johnson

Back to School Scholarship Winner, High School Class of 2023

I’d like to thank everyone on the CollegeXpress team for their generosity. Not only have I been awarded this scholarship, but CollegeXpress makes it easier to apply and gives amazing tips for schools and scholarships. I am extremely grateful as this will help with my schooling and allow me to be able to enter into the field I’ve been dreaming of all my life. 

Asia Stockdale

Asia Stockdale

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me overcome a huge hurdle. Because of the small town I live in, I felt like I would never achieve more. I felt like I could never go beyond because of costs. I feared I wouldn’t be able to find scholarships. I had no idea of where to start. With CollegeXpress, I easily found scholarships—they came to me. It was a helper, and I was instantly matched with opportunities to go above and beyond educationally.

Katelyn

Katelyn

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress gave me options of schools with my major and from there I was able to pick what was most important to me in a school. Everything was so organized that I could see all the information I needed.

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Toccoa Falls College

Toccoa Falls, GA

Alfred University

Alfred, NY