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How to get a scholarship? The DON'Ts

How to get a scholarship or various other funds which will make your life as a student much easier.

( Part 1 - The Don'ts )

Being good at what you do unfortunately is not enough. I will focus especially on the scholarships and funds which are connected with music colleges but most of the advice can be applied to which ever course you chose.

First things first, have a budget. In general life having and owning your budget is a life saver. Literally. When you write down (or type down) your income (work, parents, extended family members etc.) and your expenses (rent, food, tuition fees etc.) you will probably realised one is bigger then the other. And if you are not one of the lucky few, probably the expenses will be far ahead of your income especially when it comes to tuition fees.

So what is the secret? We all hear about this amazing people getting full scholarships and if you are, well normal you feel like you don't stand a chance.

Let's focus on the main DO NOT or mistakes that in my experience keep a lot of students away from extra funding.

Mistake no 1

'I don't think I have a chance at this one, it looks very competitive.'

Maybe you don't. But luckily it's not you who decides. I noticed that it became very popular in our generation to not try the things for which we think we have a slim chance of getting. Because if you don't try you can't fail. But unfortunately you can't succeed either. So apply for EVERYTHING. And I mean it. You need to write one CV and one Cover letter, maybe motivational letter but that's it. You can send those documents in different form to hundreds of different organisations. Which brings me to :

Mistake no 2

'I will just apply to the funds that are offered by my choosen college or advertised by BBC'

Of course you need to apply to those as well. That's for sure. But that is just the beginning. The next step is : Google. Google every single possible combination which has a word scholarship or funding in it and look through them all. You will find small organisations and foundations which are all offering help but they are not as advertised (which also means less people applies) Save the ones you are eligible for and (if possible) organise them in the order of their closing dates (The sooner the closing dates, the sooner the application needs to go in). It will take some time and you will read a lot of unnecessary material but you will find at least 10 possibilities that you could apply for. Do not get discouraged when the funds are not similar to jackpot amounts.

Because this is where Mistake no 3 happens

'I will not apply, the amount of money they are offering is very small anyway'

Well I would say that if it is above 100£ it is worth it. There is no limitations on how many applications you will send to different organisations so extra 100£ is still an extra 100£. Also the smaller foundations are very frequently offering somewhere between 250£ - 1000£ and if you find 5-10 of are on a good way to equalise your expenses with your income. Smaller organisations maybe offer less money but because they are smaller there is smaller amount of people applying. Which gives YOU a better chance of getting some extra money.

Mistake number 4

'I am Jane Doyle and I am a student. I would like to apply for your funding. Please.'

Badly written CV's and motivational letters. Or let me correct myself, badly written documents with a pinch of begging. There is a very thin line between asking for help and begging especially when it comes to money. Make sure that you write about your previous academic achievements but also be very clear what your plans for the future are. At the end of the day foundations are always interested in what kind of potential are they investing their money in.

There is also two ways of speaking about your achievements:

Example 1 After finishing her grade 8 with distinction, Jane Doyle decided to continue her music education. She attended a few competitions and masterclasses. She passed the auditions to music college and now wishes to continue her studies.

Example 2 As one of the youngest students in class, Jane Doyle had successfully finished her grade 8 exam with distinction and , decided to follow her passion for music and do her best to exploit her full potential. She attended several international and national competitions and played in various masterclasses in the UK. At the auditions in 2016 she was one of the few selected instrumentalists/singers to get a guaranteed place at her chosen college.

If you are not one of the lucky few people who never doubt in themselves it is difficult to write about yourself like Example 2 so ask friends or/and family to help you but it is important that you present yourself in the best light possible and sometimes just a simple word game will do. It is a bit of work to put everything together but it is worth it and at the end of the day if you don't have a money growing tree somewhere (If you do please email us on to become the honorous member) you don't really have a lot of options.

Which leads to last and final but probably very frequent :

Mistake No 5

'I will just wait and hope that someone offers me money,'


Life does not work like that. Even if your parents are very generous or you are planning to inherit some huge amount of money, earning the money with your own work and achievements is the most reliable set of income you will have. Life is not fair anyway and the ratio between work input and money earned will never be in a complete balance but being able to be financially independent and working hard to achieve this independence or at least help with the costs will give you extra confidence as a young adult to follow your dreams. Which would be good that you have planned out a bit but let's leave that for the next blog.

The Part 2 of this blog. which will include advice for a good CV and motivational letters and links to the less known funding options for music students, will be published soon!

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*Any specified questions or if anyone is in need of a more detailed advice of how to survive as a student on a low budget, send your questions to ALL questions will be answered (in a reasonable time).

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