FAQs: Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award

Please thoroughly review this section. If you have a question about the Award that is not addressed here, you may also call From the Top’s Scholarship Department at (617) 437-0707 x121 or email scholarship@fromthetop.org.


Q: What are the key dates in the Young Artist Award application process?
A: Applications are now being accepted on a rolling basis with the following three submission deadlines:

Deadline I:  October 3, 2016 October 17, 2016*
Deadline II: January 9, 2017
Deadline III: March 1, 2017

*Please note that high school seniors must apply by the October 17 deadline to be considered.


Q: What services and support do Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award recipients receive?
A: Young Artist Award Recipients receive up to $10,000 in financial support, national exposure through a performance on one of From the Top’s radio broadcasts, and participation in our Arts Leadership Program.

Q: How can I use the scholarship money?
A: Each Award recipient will receive a scholarship of $10,000 to purchase a new instrument, music equipment, pay for music lessons, and/or attend a summer music program.

Q: Can I use the scholarship to pay for college tuition?

A: The scholarship cannot be used to pay for college tuition. It can be applied to a wide variety of pre-collegiate music expenses (see above).

Q:  What is the Arts Leadership Orientation?
A:  The Arts Leadership Orientation takes place the morning after the radio taping. Performers gather to reflect on their experience being on the show and learn more about From the Top’s mission and Arts Leadership Program. During this 3-hour session, performers explore the power of music to inspire and create change, and are introduced to:

  • Inspiring examples of arts leadership by From the Top alumni
  • Their unique pathways and potential as arts leaders
  • A range of opportunities that they might consider in their home communities
  • A From the Top network of support and materials is available to all performers to help them develop their own interests and projects once they return home.

Q: What is the Arts Leadership Project?
A: Young Artist Award recipients are all expected to complete a self-designed arts leadership activity in their communities, reflecting the recipients’ passions, strengths, and unique perspectives. Examples of past activities include interactive performances in schools, libraries, and community centers; letter writing campaigns to local politicians; and advocacy for the arts. With support from From the Top program staff, Young Artist Award recipients design and implement their activities and are encouraged to share them with a wider audience.

Q:  Is the scholarship award renewable?
A:  No. The Young Artist Award is a one-time scholarship.

Q:  If I am not selected for the Award this year, may I apply again?
A: Yes. If you are not selected for the Award, you may reapply in successive years. We will keep your application on file until you graduate from high school, so you may also send in additional recordings as your progress continues. Usually, there is no need to complete a new application in its entirety. Please contact scholarship@fromthetop.org for more information about reapplying.


Q:  What are the age requirements?
A:  You must be between the ages of 8–18 and a full-time elementary, middle, or high school student to apply. College students and those who have already graduated from high school may not apply. High school seniors may only apply for the October deadline.

Q:  Must I be a U.S. citizen to apply?
A:  No. You must, however, currently reside and/or study in the United States full-time.

Q:  Are home-schooled students eligible to apply?
A:  Yes. Home-schooled students must submit grade reports or grade summaries and standardized test scores, if available, such as the PSAT, SAT, ACT, or state standardized tests. Please note that our strong preference is that someone other than the home-schooling parent completes the Academic Recommendation form. This can be a teacher from the past if the student used to attend a standard school, or from another instructor, tutor, or mentor (for example, if the student receives instruction in certain subjects from someone other than his/her parent, as in a co-op situation.)

Q:  May my Parent/Guardian complete any section of the application on my behalf?
A:  Parents and/or guardians may complete the financial portion of the application. However, the student applicant must complete all other sections of the application.

Q:  What are the audition recording requirements?
A:  Please visit From the Top Auditions Frequently Asked Questions for information on audition recording requirements.


Q:  How many Young Artist Award recipients are selected?
A:  Approximately twenty Young Artist Award recipients are selected each year from across the country. Learn more about past Young Artist Award recipients by clicking HERE.

Q:  What are the selection criteria?
A:  Students are evaluated and chosen for the Award based on the following criteria (in order of importance): exceptional musical achievement, unmet financial need, academic achievement, and strength of character. Please click HERE for more information on selection criteria.

Q:  Can I apply to appear on the show with my small ensemble (2–8 performers) and still apply for the Young Artist Award?
A:  Yes. Students who are applying to appear on the show with a small ensemble may also apply individually for the Young Artist Award through our online application system. An individual Young Artist Award application for each student in the small ensemble who wishes to apply is needed in this case. Only those students who are financially eligible (see Application Information) should apply for the Award.

Q:  Can I apply for the Young Artist Award if I’ve already appeared on a past From the Top show?
A:  Yes, you may apply for the Young Artist Award if you’re an alumnus/alumna of From the Top. You must, however, submit a new audition recording. From the Top alumni should apply in a format that is different from the one in which they appeared on our show. For example, students who appeared in small ensembles are encouraged to re-apply as soloists.

Q:  When and how are the Young Artist Award recipients announced?
A:  Since all Award recipients perform on From the Top and are chosen on a rolling basis throughout the season, it can sometimes take several months and even a year or more for applicants to be selected and booked on one of our live radio or television show tapings. However, we try to get back to each applicant with the status of his/her application within 90 days of submission. We appreciate your patience when this is not the case.

Q:  If I do not receive a Young Artist Award, can I still be considered for an appearance on From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley?
A:  Yes – if you are not selected for a Young Artist Award, you may still be offered an opportunity to perform on our radio show. Similarly, if you are selected to perform on From the Top, you are not guaranteed to receive the Young Artist Award. By applying for the Young Artist Award, you will automatically also be considered for the radio show.


Q:  What is the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Young Scholars Program?
A:  Each year, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation identifies high-achieving, low-income 7th-grade students for its Young Scholars Program. The Young Scholars Program provides selected students with individualized educational advising combined with comprehensive financial support from the 8th grade through high school. Along with other organizations that serve high-achieving young people who have financial need, From the Top assists the Foundation in identifying these students. To learn more about the Jack Kent Cook Foundation’s Young Scholars Program and how to apply for this opportunity, visit their site HERE.

Q:  What is the difference between the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award and the Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Program?
A:  From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award is for high-achieving, low-income musicians, ages 8–18, who are interested in appearing on our radio program and also need financial support for expenses related to their pre-collegiate music education. Applicants for the Young Artist Award apply directly to From the Top through our online scholarship application.

The Foundation’s Young Scholars Program seeks to identify high-achieving, low-income 7th-grade students with outstanding academic achievement. Applicants for the Young Scholars Program apply through the Foundation’s website – From the Top is not involved in the review for the Young Scholars Program, although we do encourage academically outstanding seventh graders to apply.

Q:  If I am selected to the Young Scholars Program, will I still be eligible for the Young Artist Award?
A: No – if you are selected for the Young Scholars Program, you are no longer eligible for the Young Artist Award.

If you have a question about the Award that is not addressed here, you may also call From the Top’s Scholarship Department at (617) 437-0707 x121 or email scholarship@fromthetop.org.