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College Scholarship: Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award
In 2018-2019, the average cost of tuition, room, board, and fees at private, nonprofit, four-year colleges climbed to $48,510 according to the College Board. With the costs of college soaring, it’s no wonder that many students are searching for ways to help lower the expense of higher education. While a scholarship such as the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award cannot be used for to pay for college tuition, it can be used to reduce the enormous cost of pursuing a musical education at the highest levels, including subsidizing expensive instruments and pricey private lessons.
About the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award
Sponsored by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation—a private foundation focused on assisting excellent students with financial need—and the National Public Radio (NPR) program From the Top, the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award is given to exceptional young musicians with financial need to help minimize the often costly study of classical music at a high level.
The Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award is given to applicants between the ages of 8 and 18 who excel in classical instruments, vocals, and composing. Winners of the award receive $10,000 that can be applied to instrument purchases, summer music camp expenses, private lessons, and other expenses associated with the pursuit of music. In addition to receiving a $10,000 scholarship, winners are invited to perform on NPR’s nationwide show From the Top, which is broadcast on more than 220 stations and has an audience of more than a 500,000 listeners.
Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award Applicant Requirements
First and foremost, applicants applying for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award need to demonstrate outstanding musical talent and be willing to share their gift on the NPR program From the Top. Applicants are also expected to excel academically, achieving a high grade point average (GPA), strong test scores, and academic awards where applicable.
The Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award is a need-based scholarship designed to support talented, driven, ambitious, mature, future leaders who demonstrate an unmet financial need. Historically, 90% of award winners have come from families with an annual household income of less than $60,000.
How to Apply
Applicants are required to submit two unedited and un-enhanced video or audio music samples. Additionally, applicants must submit two recommendations to be considered for a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. One recommendation should come from a music teacher and the other from an academic teacher.
Because the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award is a need-based scholarship, applicants are required to submit financial information via a copy of your most recent tax forms. An up-to-date academic transcript and standardized test scores are needed to demonstrate academic achievement.
Tips for Winning Scholarships
Deadline Diligence: Don’t wait until the last minute. Know the deadline for a scholarship application and all supplemental material like letters of recommendation and an essay. Have everything collected and submitted well in advance of the due date.
Careful Consideration: It would be a shame for an applicant to miss their chance of winning a distinguished award due to a silly mistake. Read the application instructions carefully and make sure every section is filled out. Also, take care to adhere to any word limits and formatting requirements.
Create a Resume: Creating a resume, or profile, of an applicant’s achievements—for example, grades, test scores, awards, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work—is an excellent way to ensure they highlight their most notable accomplishments. It also helps to create a unifying theme on scholarship applications.
Enhanced Image: In today’s digital age, applicants are easily researched. Applicants should do a sweep of their social media accounts and remove any potentially damaging content, keeping in mind that they should present a professional image. Similarly, applicants should use a simple, professional-looking email address.
Know Your Audience. Research the scholarship you’re applying for and tailor your application to highlight the qualities they value. For example, the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award is especially interested in people who can demonstrate their character through their desire to give back to their communities—this would be a great place to talk about providing music lessons to young students or performing free concerts at a retirement home.
Research Past Winners: An excellent way to see the type of candidate that scholarships are seeking out is by looking at past winners. Here are 2019’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award winners. If an applicant feels comfortable, reaching out and asking past winners for advice is a good practice.
Ask for Help: While an applicant’s submission should be a reflection of them, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Have a trusted (and grammatically sound) teacher, advisor, or parent proofread all submitted materials. Similarly, have a music teacher give you their thoughts on your music samples before turning them in.
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