Scholarship money comes from a variety of sources, including businesses, nonprofits, individuals, and colleges themselves. Because scholarship money does not have to be repaid (like student loans), it is highly sought after by students looking to finance their education.
But with so many scholarships out there, how do you find the best one? And more importantly, how do you win them? Read on for some of the top tips by Carl Iberger on applying for scholarships!
Do Your Research
The first step in applying for scholarships should be researching which ones you’re eligible for. All sorts of scholarships are available, from need-based awards to those reserved for students with specific majors or interests. By narrowing down your options, you can save yourself time and energy in the long run.
Do Create a List
Once you’ve done your research and know what types of scholarships you’re eligible for, it’s time to start making a list. Include everything from the name of the scholarship and its requirements to the deadlines and necessary materials. This will help keep you organized throughout the process and ensure that you don’t miss any critical deadlines.
Do Start Early
Many students make a mistake when applying for scholarships is waiting until the last minute. This often leads to rushed essays and incomplete applications— neither of which is likely to impress the scholarship committee. To avoid this, start working on your applications well in advance. This will give you plenty of time to put together a robust application that will increase your chances of winning.
Do Follow Instructions
It seems simple enough, but you would be surprised how many students fail to follow instructions when applying for scholarships. Pay attention to detail and follow all directions carefully; this will show the scholarship committee that you can follow directions and meet expectations. For example, if an essay is required, stay within the specified word count; if letters of recommendation are needed, give your recommender plenty of time to write a strong letter on your behalf. Failure to adhere to basic instructions is one of the easiest ways to disqualify yourself from consideration.
Don’t Use a Generic Application
With so many scholarships available, it can be tempting to use a generic application to save time. But beware: this is often a mistake. Scholarship committees are looking for students who are genuinely interested in their program, and a generic application is likely to come across as insincere. If you’re going to take the time to apply for a scholarship, make sure to tailor your application specifically to that award.
Don’t Miss the Deadline
This one is crucial: always make sure to submit your materials before the deadline. Scholarship committees are often very strict about deadlines, and late applications are almost always automatically disqualified. To avoid this, set a reminder for yourself a few days before the deadline so that you have time to make any final edits or changes.
In conclusion, remember that applying for scholarships is a process. However, by doing your research, staying organized, and following instructions, you can increase your chances of winning the awards you need to finance your education. Good luck!