FAQs: Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award

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 Admissions and Scholarship Department at (617) 437-0707 or email scholarship@fromthetop.org.

Current application deadlines can be found here​.

1. The Basics

1a. What is the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award?

The Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award is a one-time, non-renewable scholarship of up to $10,000 given in conjunction with an appearance on From the Top. The award is given to talented pre-collegiate musicians with financial need to help offset the often prohibitively expensive costs of studying classical music at a high level. Each year, From the Top chooses approximately 20 exceptional pre-collegiate musicians ages 8-18 to receive the Award.

1b. How many Young Artist Award recipients are selected?

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.

1c. When and how are the Young Artist Award recipients announced?

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, or even a year, for applicants to be selected and booked on one of our live radio shows. 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.

1d. Is the scholarship award renewable?

No. The Young Artist Award is a one-time scholarship.

1e. Can the scholarship be used to pay for college tuition?

The scholarship cannot be used to pay for college tuition. It can be applied to a wide variety of pre-collegiate music expenses (see question 4a).

2. Eligibility

2a. Who is eligible to apply?

We’re looking for classical instrumentalists, vocalists, and composers who have not yet entered college and have an interest in performing on From the Top. 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 first scholarship deadline in the fall.

2b. Must I be a U.S. citizen to apply?

No. You must, however, currently reside and/or study in the United States full-time.

2c. Are home-schooled students eligible to apply?

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.

2d. What are the selection criteria?

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.

2e. How do I know if I am financially eligible?

Applicants must provide evidence of a family income insufficient to meet the costs of his/her musical pursuits (new instruments, music lessons, summer festival tuition, and travel, etc.). 90% of our past recipients come from families with an annual household Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of under $60,000. If your family’s AGI is over $90,000, you are likely not eligible for the Award. We do, however, take into account high cost of living in some areas, extraordinary medical expenses, and other extenuating circumstances. Please contact the Scholarship Department at (617) 437-0707 x121 or scholarship@fromthetop.org if you have questions.

3. How to apply

3a. What are the key dates in the Young Artist Award application process?

Applications are now being accepted on a rolling basis with the following three submission deadlines for 2020-2021 season:

    • HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS DEADLINE: December 4, 2020
    • DEADLINE 2: January 4, 2021
    • DEADLINE 3: March 15, 2021

3b. When should I apply? Is there an advantage to applying earlier in the season?

If you are a high school senior, you must apply by December 4, 2020. If you are not a senior, there is no advantage to applying for any particular deadline. All applications are given equal consideration regardless of deadline – the most important thing is that you apply when you feel you are prepared and playing your best.

3c. What do I need to apply?

When you are ready to apply, navigate to our applicant home page and create an account on our platform, SurveyMonkey Apply. Once you’ve done so, you’ll notice there are several different application forms to choose from. You should select and complete the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award Application — it contains both the standard application for the show and the accompanying financial application to determine scholarship eligibility.

At the end of the application, you will enter the contact information for two recommenders –one from a music teacher and one from an academic teacher. Recommenders will be sent a link through the online application platform, requesting them to fill out a designated form.
In addition to the online portion of the application, you must send us a copy of your parent’s most recent tax forms, your academic transcript, and your standardized test scores (if applicable). We maintain a special secure-encrypted platform to receive these documents electronically (please do not send the documents by post) — you’ll find more information on how to access that system in the JKCYA application form itself.

3d. May my parent/guardian complete any section of the application on my behalf?

Parents and/or guardians may complete the financial portion of the application. However, the student applicant must complete all other sections of the application.

3e. What are the audition recording requirements?

Please visit the radio program’s Frequently Asked Questions for information on audition recording requirements.

3f. Can I apply to appear on the show with my small ensemble (2–8 performers) and still apply for the Young Artist Award?

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.

Any member of a small ensemble must complete both their portion of their group’s Small Ensemble Application and their own, individual Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award application.

If more than one applicant in a small ensemble wishes to apply for the scholarship, please contact scholarship@fromthetop.org for instructions. Only those students who are financially eligible (see Application Information) should apply for the Award.

3g. If I do not receive a Young Artist Award, can I still be considered for an appearance on From the Top?

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.

3h. If I am not selected for the Award this year, may I apply again?

Yes! In fact, most of our Award recipients have applied more than once. 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 after about a year. Usually, there is no need to complete a new application in its entirety. Please contact scholarship@fromthetop.org for more information about reapplying.

4. Receiving the Award

4a. How can I use the scholarship money?

Each Award recipient will receive a scholarship of up to $10,000 which may be used for the following:
• Summer Music Festival Attendance
• Private music instruction, masterclasses and/or workshops
• Tuition for music school/extra-curricular music program
• Instrument/instrument accessories
• Air travel and lodging for summer music festivals, special workshops, consultation lessons, competitions, and college auditions
• Sheet music and scores
• *Concert attire
• *Recording equipment, music technology software and subscriptions

*Items that include a spending limit

4b. Can I use the scholarship to pay for college tuition?

The scholarship cannot be used to pay for college tuition. This is a set regulation for which there are no exceptions. The scholarship also cannot be used for college textbooks, non-music-related pursuits and travels, or non-musical items—phones, earbuds, etc.)

It can be applied to a wide variety of pre-collegiate music expenses (see above).

If you have any questions about this, please contact the Scholarship Department at (617) 437-0707 or email:

4c. Is the scholarship award renewable?

No. The Young Artist Award is a one-time scholarship.

4d. What services and support do Jack Kent Cooke Young Artists receive?

Young Artists 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. Please note that the award must be given in conjunction with a performance on a show, which includes the Arts Leadership Program activities. The award cannot be given on its own.

5. Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Program Information

5a. What is the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Young Scholars Program?

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.

5b. What is the difference between the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award and the Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Program?

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.

5c. If I am selected to the Young Scholars Program, will I still be eligible for the Young Artist Award?

No – if you are selected for the Young Scholars Program, you are no longer eligible for the Young Artist Award.