Homeschoolers should look into a departmental scholarship for college because departments award scholarships based on talent, work, auditions, and portfolios more than academic achievement.
Does your homeschooler have a special talent or focus?
Departmental scholarships are great areas to look into, especially for homeschoolers. If your child has a particular area of interest and/or talent these might be for you! Most need some sort of resume’ telling about what they have done in that area over the past 4 years or so. Their chances of getting a departmental scholarships, in most departments, are not based on academics and accreditation, but rather on talent and achievement. However, they do tend to be competitive; some schools, more than others.
Scholarship To Do’s:
Make a list of all of the colleges and Universities your child is interested in attending. Look up each school and make a list or a spread sheet so you can keep track of your research. Don’t put the application off until last minute! There may be more things in the application that you need to gather information for or prepare in advance. If you wait to find out what is on the application you may miss important requirements that you could have been doing in order to qualify. Also, in some instances they modify requirements for homeschoolers.
Some categories for your spread sheet:
Dates things are due Dates of auditions School Department contact persons name contact person e-mail
contact person phone # Requirements notes
Make an appointment to visit each school and have a campus tour.
Request visiting the department you are hoping for a scholarship from. Call or e-mail the department scholarship person and (if different) also the department head and let them know of your visit and ask if you can meet with them on the day of your tour. This way you and your child can visit the facility, see what they have available, ask questions about their program and class requirements for that major. My daughter, being a piano major, wanted to make sure she would be able to work well with the professor. Ask if there are scholarships for the next year/s. Some schools/departments only offer departmental scholarships for incoming Freshman.
Some professors and heads of departments will be able to meet with you and others won’t, but it is still good to visit the facility and see the department where they are likely to spend a lot of their time. This also helps in figuring out housing, on or off campus and if it is a large campus, are you able to find housing close to the area they will be spending the most time?
Follow all requirements! It takes preparation to be ready for these scholarships.
When to start doing all of this?
As soon as they think they might want to pursue a particular talent or field. At the very latest, 1 year before deadlines. You need time to pursue building resume’s, portfolios and meeting requirements. Talk to people working or going to school in the field they are considering and find out their experience and get first had advice.
Here are my experiences:
My oldest is an artist.
So, the biggest thing for her was to gather and put together her portfolio in the way the professors want to see it. Some required it all to be put on a CD and mailed to them by a certain date. It took time to gather everything together. In our area, there is an art scholarship day we needed to prepare for, that was held at a local museum. In talking to some of the colleges we were told that while they like and enjoy seeing the portfolio they also really wanted to see her sketch books. In fact, one told us that the sketch books told them more about her than the portfolio work. She got a lot of comments about how glad they were that she didn’t have a lot of Anime drawings. They also said that she showed a lot of maturity in her work because of the things she chose to draw when she just drawing for fun. She got a nice art scholarship for her first year, but where she went they didn’t give scholarships to students for the second year.
My second daughter
did mostly high school classes at the public high school. She was a talented gymnast and went from gymnastics into dance and was on one of the schools dance teams. The “secondary” dance team that she was on had far better dancers than the “official” dance team. A big part of the reason for this is that the girls on the dance team made the decisions about who made the team. It really wasn’t about talent, it was a popularity contest mixed with shutting out girls they saw as a threat to them. Unfortunately, the college where she wanted to go had the same dynamics. The girls on the team made the decisions about who made the team and not the teachers! It was really frustrating when she didn’t make the team, but every dance class she took, the teachers would tell her she should be on the team and she should try out. Huge disappointment when she tried again and was again shut out! Beware of programs like this! This is a question I wish we would have asked before auditions! Who is involved in making the decisions about who makes it onto the team? I would have preferred her auditioning at a school where the teachers made that decision and left the girls out of it.
While that didn’t work out, she was able to get a merit scholarship for her grades because of the classes she took in high school. She had a 3.98 grade point average.
My third daughter
has been focused on the piano since before she could walk! We knew that this was the path we were on and tried to keep the best piano teachers we could afford. When she was 16 she changed to a new teacher who is a professor at BYU. All of her lessons were on campus. However, she didn’t feel like BYU was the place she wanted to go to college even though she loved her piano teacher who was the head of the department. As we talked to her teacher about schools and the teachers at those schools and their programs she felt she needed to be at one school in particularly. She also prayed about it and worked hard to meet the requirements.
*The counselor said she was amazed that some kids don’t realize that they need to be serious with studying the piano. It does take more than learning to play from the neighborhood pianist. So, if music is your child’s passion pursue good teachers to help them on their path. Piano majors practice 18 hours a week, sight read, count, need even runs and to be able to do really good trills.
She did auditions at a couple of schools to give her more options, just in case. She met with the professor at the school she was leaning towards and visited the campus a couple of times. Her audition was fabulous. She had worked on it for about 9 months leading up to the audition. It can be rough when different schools have different pieces and things they want to see from their students and they all need to be memorized and well polished. She received her piano scholarship of the first year and is waiting to see if they will be giving her a scholarship for next year. Their grade for last semester and how their final goes, plays into their scholarship opportunities.
- Make a list of colleges
- Create a spread sheet to keep track of the information you gather and important deadlines
- Check school websites for information on departmental scholarships. If you need to, call the school and ask where to find the information.
- Review the applications in advance to see what other information they will be looking for
- Make campus tour appointments- possibly meet with departments you are interested in
- Make sure you meet all deadlines
- Follow all requirements
- Be on time to meetings and auditions