Did you know that when you break down the financial aid students receive, grants and scholarships outweigh tax credits, deductions, and even federal loans? Receiving scholarships is one of the most direct and accessible ways to help ensure that you can afford college. Yet, too often, students ignore the obvious: your scholarship applications can be some of the best investments you ever make. That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips on how to get scholarships for college.
Find Where the Scholarships Are
One quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln highlights the importance of working smart, not hard: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” In this case, your version of “sharpening the axe” is to do your research and find where the scholarships are. Here are some places to start:
- High school career centers
- Libraries and bookstores
- Scholarship search sites (like Fastweb.com)
Simply knowing where to put your energy will give you an instant advantage over scholarship seekers who are only looking through the conventional methods of going directly through their university or their specific school programs.
Get More Shots at the Plate
The more often you visit the plate in baseball, the more likely it is that you’ll hit a home run. That’s simple mathematics. The same is true when applying for college scholarships. The more applications you fill out and the more scholarships you explore, the more likely it is that you’re going to find one (or multiple) that fits your specific skills.
This isn’t to say that you should run through a list of scholarships and give only a small amount of effort to each application.
Be Selective with Your Applications
While it’s always good to apply to as many scholarships as possible and cast a wide net, make sure that you also research the best scholarships for you before you start sending off applications. That means being a bit selective in your research and starting off with local scholarships, when available.
There’s no point applying for an arts scholarship if you intend to study science. If you also apply to local and state scholarships, you’ll narrow your focus and reduce the overall amount of competition for each application.
Coordinate with Your Letter-Writers
Scholarship applications that include well-written letters of recommendation will always have an advantage. Be sure to request your letters well in advance of the scholarship deadline, especially if you will be asking a teacher. Your teachers will likely have the same request from a large number of other students. It can also be helpful to include a few bullet points in your request to remind them of some of your biggest achievements.
Write Your Essay with the Scholarship Review Board in Mind
Your essay can have a big impact on your scholarship application. Keep in mind that the people reviewing these essays are going to see the same sorts of clichés and points made over and over again. Your job is to stand out. Read essay samples online, of course, but try to find your unique angle that makes an essay stand out. Be willing to take a chance here. As long as you can write persuasively, you’ll stand a great chance at winning that scholarship.
Improve Your Exam Scores
Don’t forget that performing well on your ACTs and SATs will help you win scholarship after scholarship. Put energy into maximizing your chances by registering for an test prep course with Jantzi!