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A “talent” merit scholarship is a scholarship provided directly by a college that is related to a talent possessed by the student/prospective student. The most common talents for which scholarships are awarded by colleges include:

  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Dance
  • Art

Other areas that sometimes award talent scholarships include journalism, creative writing, forensics, debate and speech.

Talent scholarships awarded by colleges vary in amounts from a couple hundred dollars to a few that are full tuition or full rides. only includes talent scholarships offered in amounts of $2,000 or more or those where there is no set amount awarded, the amount varies case by case.

The majority of talent scholarships require the student to be majoring in the area of his or her talent. However, there are some talent scholarships awarded to students who have an interest in continuing their talent in college, but not majoring in it. A good example of this would be marching band. Many marching band scholarships do not require the student to be a music major, but he or she does need to participate in marching band in college to receive the scholarship.

Most talent scholarships require either an audition or submission of a portfolio. For music, theatre and dance, an audition is usually required. For art scholarships, details are usually provided on how big of a portfolio needs to be submitted and what type of works need to be included.

The easiest way to find out what talent scholarships are out there is to search on Choose a search by “Talent” scholarship type and select states you are interested in searching. When search results show up, you can usually narrow these down somewhat by looking at the scholarship name as more often than not, it will indicate what talent it is intended for.

Often, a student is able to receive both talent-based merit scholarships and other merit-based scholarships, such as those awarded based on GPA and ACT/SAT scores. This can bring the family’s out-of-pocket college cost even lower.

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