Scholarships can be a very helpful solution in solving financial aid challenges for incoming college students. They also require a significant amount of time devoted to research and completing applications. However, scholarships can provide a large payoff in the end if you prepare correctly. Read on for more tips about scholarships.
Searching for Scholarships
- Don’t wait until your senior year to start searching for scholarships. There are many different types of scholarships – there are even scholarships for elementary school students! If you wait until your senior year to start your research, you’ve waited much too long.
- Make a list of your academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, jobs you may have held, career plans and unique attributes about you. Also include what your parents do and who they work for. This list will help you determine what scholarships you will be eligible for.
- When using scholarship search engines (such as FastWeb or Scholarships.com), make sure you answer every single available question to ensure the most matches for potential scholarships.
- Make sure you look for scholarships that might be offered in your area.
- Leave no stone unturned in your scholarship search! Check your State Department of Education as well as colleges on your list. Scholarships are everywhere – you can find them if you’re willing to look!
Applying for Scholarships
- Once you have decided to apply for a scholarship, start working on your application early and don’t wait until the last minute. Starting early will help ensure less mistakes on your application.
- If your scholarship requires an essay, make sure you personalize your essay. Scholarship committees are looking to get to know you and the essay portion of a scholarship application presents the perfect opportunity to highlight positive qualities about yourself.
- Type your scholarship applications, if possible. Typing your application ensures that your application will be legible.
- Make sure you PRINT out a copy of your scholarship application to proofread before sending off your application. Printing for editing purposes helps tremendously in catching more errors. Also – be sure to have others – such as teachers, parents, other family members – proofread your essay.
- Be sure to make a photocopy of your entire scholarship application packet before mailing it. Send the application packet by certified mail so you can track it.