How to Qualify for a Color Guard Scholarship

Can you get a full-ride scholarship for being in the marching band? You could, if you are lucky, great at what you do and meet the eligibility criteria. But it also depends on where you are and whether the institutions in your locale offer financial support.

So, if you would like to become a member of an institution’s color guard and perform choreographed dance routines to the tune of a marching band, do consider applying for color guard scholarships.

Granted, it is a practice deeply rooted in military tradition, but some higher learning institutions have embraced it and made it their own. Therefore, qualifying for a color guard scholarship would enable you to enjoy what you love doing and get to study at a subsidized rate in preparation for the future.

Getting Color Guard Scholarships

Different institutions of higher learning and color guard organizations may offer color guard scholarships in your locale. It would be wise to explore your options and take advantage of the scholarship opportunities available to you.

Below are some of the scholarship opportunities you can consider.

1. College-Based Color Guard Scholarships

Hundreds of colleges within the U.S. offer scholarships for members of their color guard. You could receive several thousand dollars annually in financial support. And if you bag a leadership role, you may access an additional ​$3,375​ per year.

For example, if you enroll at Trine University, Angola, IN, and join its color guard, you could qualify for a $2,000 ​scholarship. And if you join the University of Texas at Austin, and become a member of their Longhorn Band, you could qualify for scholarships ranging from ​$1,200 to $3,500​, which would be helpful in paying for your tuition.

On the other hand, if you join the University of South Alabama’s Jaguar Color Band, you are eligible for a renewable annual scholarship worth ​$2,100.​ And for each year you are a member, your scholarship amount increases by ​$200​.

The average American student in a higher learning institution pays academic tuition of​ $10,740 while studying in-state or ​$27,560​ when studying out of state. So, a scholarship of several thousand dollars goes a long way. And it could mean the difference between you completing your course on time or delaying your graduation for lack of fees.

Also, the good news is that in many of these institutions, you don’t need to write essays or get selected. If you enroll in the college and join the color guard, you are likely to get the scholarship.

2. Regional-Wide Color Guard Scholarships

You can also apply for scholarships sponsored by regional organizations associated with color guard activities. Various regions have different organizations.

For example, if you study within the Louisiana-Mississippi area, consider asking to be nominated for the Louisiana-Mississippi Color Guard and Percussion Circuit scholarships if you are an active member of a marching band. You will then receive financial support for a year via a check to your institution, which is meant to pay for your tuition, books, room and board. And you could always reapply for more support.

New England Scholastic Band Association (NESBA) scholarships are another example of regional-wide scholarships available for secondary school and organization members of color bands. It is available to people living within the New England area.

NESBA’s scholarships are awarded each year to secondary students planning to attend accredited post-secondary institutions to major in music. It is worth about $500​ or so.

3. National Color Guard Scholarships

Winter Guard International (WGI) Sports of the Arts is the American-based global leader in the organization of indoor percussion, winds and color guard competitions. And they usually organize the Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championships each year for active members of marching bands.

Every group that takes part in the championships can nominate one member. And that nominee must provide relevant documentation such as letters of recommendations, high school or college transcripts and a headshot photo, among other things.

So far, the organization has provided over ​$800,000​ worth of scholarships. And if you are nominated and end up being the outstanding color guard performer in the competition, you will likely receive some financial support, which usually varies. In 2019, one winner got ​$1,000​.

While you are unlikely to always get a full scholarship as a member of a color guard, what you get will be helpful in offsetting your student loans. So, consider applying for as many scholarships as possible that are available in your locale. And since each institution has unique criteria, be prepared to send customized applications to each.