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College Scholarships: 8 Top Tips to Help You Apply
Filling out college scholarship applications can be a daunting process. Filling out an application that puts you in the forefront of winners is essential. The following tips will help you have a better chance of winning.
1) Identify and meet the sponsor's needs
Make sure that you meet the qualifications of the scholarship committee as spelled out in the rules of the scholarship. If the scholarship rules require community service, but you don't volunteer, don't apply. If the rules require you to have a GPA of 3.5 and you have 3.4, while that's close, it's not close enough. Don't bother to apply for a scholarship when you don't meet the qualifications because you'll be disqualified and will have wasted your time. Save your time and energy for scholarships for which you do qualify.
2) Make sure you have participated in community service and leadership activities
Most of the scholarship committees require one or both of these, even if that's not the primary qualification of the scholarship. If you are a freshmen, sophomore or junior in high school reading this, get started now in volunteer activities, or run for office in any of the clubs you are in. If you are a senior, find a one-day activity you can participate in, such as a fundraiser, or a walk to raise money.
3) Watch the scholarship deadlines like a hawk. Some scholarship applications require a postmark of a certain date. Others require that the committee
Some scholarship applications require a postmark of a certain date. Others require that the committee receives the scholarship application in the mail by a certain date. And yet some others have an online deadline of a certain time on a certain date, such as 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 15th. If you are even one day late with your application, you will not be considered.
4) Proofread your application one more time
And better yet, ask someone else with a fresh pair of eyes to proofread it for you. This could be a parent, a friend with good editing ability, a teacher, or a guidance counselor. If the scholarship committee has narrowed their choices down to two people, and one has grammatical mistakes or spelling errors, the one with no mistakes will get the scholarship because they were more careful with their application.
5) Use concrete examples in your essay
Remember that for some scholarships you will be competing against hundreds or maybe thousands of other students. You want to make sure your essay stands out as this may be the defining piece of your application to make you stand out from the others. And as with college essays, scholarship committees want to get to know you a bit better than just your academic credentials. They want to see a slice of your life. This means you could use a real life example to prove your point. It could be an experience you had, a teacher/family member that inspired you, etc.
6) Stay organized
Purchase oak tag folders and start a paper folder for all of your scholarships. Also, keep copies of everything on a flash drive. In your folder, keep copies of all your letters of recommendation, your transcript, and a resume if you have one. Also, keep typed copies of all your essays, as well as copies of them on your flash drive so you can reuse them if you find another scholarship that asks for the same essay or something similar. You can tweak an original essay and have less work to do for the next one. Also, keep copies of all the scholarship applications that you have applied for, and the ones you still need to apply for. On the inside of your folder, write down all the scholarships you intend to apply for and their due dates. It may also help you to write the due dates down on a paper calendar to keep in your room/dorm room to remind you when the scholarships are due.
Also, keep copies of all the scholarship applications that you have applied for, and the ones you still need to apply for. On the inside of your folder, write down all the scholarships you intend to apply for and their due dates. It may also help you to write the due dates down on a paper calendar to keep in your room/dorm room to remind you when the scholarships are due.
7) Write an accomplishments essay
Many scholarship applications ask you to write your community service involvement on the application, and then give you only a tiny space in which to write. Rather than trying to squeeze everything in and run the risk of looking messy, or leaving something out for lack of space, write "see attached" in the space. Then attach an accomplishments resume with the application. Not only will you be able to include everything, but if printed on actual resume paper, your application will look much more impressive.
8) Don't get discouraged
Make sure you apply for as many scholarships as you can, that you actually qualify for. The students who apply for the most scholarships are the ones who get the most money. And if you take 5 hours to apply for a scholarship worth $1,000 and you win it, where else can you earn $1,000 in 5 hours?!!!
Good luck, and please feel free to add any more helpful information from personal experience in the comment section below.
Copyright by Karen Hellier, 2012.
More Scholarship Articles:
- Scholarships: 4 Common Qualifiers Scholarship Committees Look for
A look at what scholarship committees search for when awarding scholarships to high school students.
- College Scholarships For Teens: 6 Different Types to Look For
Smart high school students who are going to college should be looking for scholarships.Here are 6 categories of scholarships to look for.
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