Win Scholarship Money With These 8 Tips

Scholarships, like grants, are a type of financial aid that you do not have to pay back. And there are literally thousands of them!<br><br>

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As a college-bound student you have probably heard the importance of applying for scholarships. Scholarships, like grants, are a type of financial aid that you do not have to pay back. And there are literally thousands of them!

You can find a scholarship for just about anything. Scholarship money is available for specific interests, organizations, sports, geography, ethnicity, ability, and even family connections. Some require essays, others might require videos, and still others might ask for a performance. They have different deadlines and vary in the amount of effort required to apply. Then there is the issue of actually being awarded the scholarship to help you pay for college. Applying for scholarships is a lot of work, but the payoff is worth so much more! Here are a few tips to help you apply for and win scholarship money to pay for college.

1.   Create A Student Profile

Think of this profile as your student resume. It should include all the important information about your academic career. Focus on the challenging classes you took and the grades you earned in those classes. List your organizations and major accomplishments and leadership roles in each. Highlight your volunteer work, especially the things you’ve been the most consistent with over time. Include anything that makes you stand out to colleges and scholarship review boards.

2.  Do A Scholarship Search

Use My College Dollars to do a scholarship search. Filter your search based on your academic interests, geographical location, ethnicity, and gender. Make a list of each scholarship you find and include all the important information like the name of the scholarship, the amount awarded, the requirements to apply, and the link to the application.

3. Pay A Visit To Your Counseling Office

Your school counselor will have a list of some of the local scholarships that you might not find online. This includes local community clubs and organizations like Rotary clubs, Kiwanis clubs, and the VFW. You can also check out local chapters of national professional organizations like the American Marketing Association or National Society of Black Engineers. Don’t forget local civic organizations like sororities and fraternities, chamber of commerce, or faith-based organizations.

4. Make A Scholarship Checklist

Now that you have a list of all the scholarships you want to apply for, prioritize your list. Organize the list by deadline so you can focus on the closest deadlines first. Then look at the requirements for the scholarships and create a checklist for each scholarship. How many require essays? What about letters of recommendation? Highlight the scholarships that will require the most work to submit and make sure you allow enough time to complete the application and meet the deadline.

5. Draft a Generic Scholarship Essay

Review the scholarships that require an essay again and take note of the essay topic. How many of them are similar? How many are unique. Divide the list and focus on the similar essay topics first. Write an essay that can be used for multiple scholarships. You will then use this essay to write all of your essays, making adjustments to fit the exact topic as needed. You WILL NOT submit the same essay for each scholarship, but having a generic essay will help you complete each custom essay faster. Be sure to have someone proofread your essay to make sure it’s solid.

6. Secure Letters Of Recommendation

Review which scholarships require a letter of recommendation and decide who you want to provide each letter. Some scholarships ask for a letter from a counselor while others ask for someone who oversees your volunteer work. Either way, provide the person writing your letter with your student profile and the requirements for the letter. Make sure they know the deadline and where they are sending the letters.

7. Submit Scholarship Applications On Time

The worst thing you can do in your scholarship hunt is miss the deadline. If the application is not post-marked or uploaded by the deadline, you will miss your chance to be considered for the scholarship. Keep track of your deadlines and make sure you get everything done on time. Set reminders on your phone and add them to your planner. Do whatever you have to do, but don’t miss your deadline!

8. Look For More Scholarships

After you successfully apply for all the scholarships on your list, conduct a new scholarship search and repeat the process. You will find new scholarships available each month throughout the school year. Even if you missed the deadline for some of the earlier scholarships, there are always more scholarships with deadlines as late at June. The key is to keep at it. If you want to earn scholarships for college, you have to keep applying. Applying for scholarships is a numbers game. The more scholarships you apply to, the more likely you are to be selected.