TOP 7 Tips for Applying for Scholarships

Scholarships can be a great way to pay for your higher education. The cost of tuition at colleges and universities are skyrocketing and the average student can have more than $50,000 of student loans after obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Each year, thousands of scholarships go unclaimed simply because people haven’t applied for them.

#1: Create a List

Create a list of all of the different scholarships you qualify for. This is going to take some research and luckily, there are countless sources online that will tell you who is offering scholarships. You want to focus on ones that are within your major, designed for your school, as well as for the ethnic group that you are contained within. There may also be other circumstances that are in your life that would allow you to qualify for scholarships. This includes financial need, merit based, active in the community, child of a military service member, and more. Don’t be afraid to dig through your background and use anything that may help you to get a scholarship.

#2: Write the Essays

Often, people see ‘essay’ and move on. Write the essays. Scholarship committees want to see you are willing to make the effort to receive the money. A 500 word essay doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it does have to come from the heart. Be honest and make sure to follow the instructions. Many scholarships ask you to write the same kind of essay, but sometimes a committee will change things up and ask you to write based upon a given prompt. Don’t go off topic as it could cause your application to get discarded.

#3: Participate in Community Service

Volunteering within the community is a great way to get scholarships. Not only can it help you to qualify for the scholarships from such local organizations as the Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce, but also demonstrates that you are a well-rounded person.

#4: Write a Resume

Writing a resume is a good thing because it will allow you to apply for more scholarships and complete applications faster. Pretend as though you’re applying for a job and include everything that a scholarship committee should know about you. Include jobs, volunteer work, organizations you have been a part of and everything else. This will ensure you don’t exclude anything during the application process.

#5: Branch Out

Don’t be afraid to apply to more than 10 scholarships. With online submissions becoming more common, it likely won’t cost any money to apply for the scholarships, so the only thing that it’s going to cost is time. Branch out and include some of the other aspects of your life. Maybe you have some Native American Indian in your background – this can work to your advantage by exploring scholarships for such individuals. Maybe you took a course in high school that would allow you to apply for a scholarship being offered by an organization. There are millions of scholarships offered and the more you branch out, the easier it is to find out about them all.

#6: Go for the Long Shots

Many people look at the scholarships that are worth $500 and $1,000 because they assume they are easier to get. While this may be true, you would need dozens of them to cover all of your educational expenses. The ones that provide $10,000 or more often require you to do more and because they are not awarded to as many people, they are deemed the “long shots”. If many people toss them aside because they are too much work, the committees for said scholarships are not getting that many applicants. You could have a shot at these and it’s worth applying because, although it’s a long shot, you could be the lucky recipient. The money rewarded could be enough to cover a semester’s worth of tuition or even more – and that’s less student loans for you to take out.

#7: Don’t Miss Deadlines

One of the biggest reasons people don’t get scholarships is because they miss the deadlines. Every application has a deadline on it. The submissions have to be postmarked or received by the deadline, otherwise they are ignored. This means you could be going through the work of submitting for a scholarship and the committee isn’t even going to place your submission into consideration because you couldn’t follow the smallest of details.
It can be advantageous to add all of the scholarship deadlines to a calendar so you know which ones are the most pressing. It can ensure you don’t miss any deadlines and are in the running for each one that you apply for.