It may seem like you've devoted your entire life to preparing for college. You've spent what feels like forever choosing a college, choosing your major, taking the right classes, learning how to write college essays, studying for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Test (ACT), completing the college application process, and even getting ready for more mundane tasks like doing your own laundry and cooking. Yet most students still feel unprepared for one of the most important parts of going to college: the scholarship application. Sure, everyone you talk to has different pointers for what goes into a good scholarship application--everything from advice on how many extracurricular activities to do to which words to use or avoid in your scholarship application. But how do you actually put it all together? Scholarships.com has a wealth of resources that will help you prepare a stellar scholarship application.
The Scholarship Application Process
The first step in crafting a winning scholarship application is obviously finding scholarships to apply for. By using the Scholarships.com college scholarship search, you will have access to 2.7 million scholarships and grants worth over $19 billion. That's a lot of scholarships! Luckily, we help you narrow them down based on the information you provide about yourself so you can quickly and easily find what you need to get on your way to winning scholarships.
After you've done an initial search and made a list of scholarships for which you're interested in applying, prioritize your list based on the amount of the award, the scholarship application deadline, and how much work will be involved in applying. Your scholarship strategy should involve making a schedule for working your way through this list and deciding how many scholarship applications you will complete each week. To maximize your scholarship application output and the scholarships you'll receive, be sure to start as early as possible - usually in October of your senior year of high school. Also, be sure to keep your Scholarships.com profile up-to-date so you can find out about new opportunities and send them a scholarship application.
Preparing Your Scholarship Application
It would be nice if a scholarship application simply involved submitting your name and address then waiting for a check but unfortunately, that's not the case. Your scholarship application will likely involve a great deal more than just your contact information. These supporting materials can include at least one letter of recommendation from a teacher or supervisor at a job or a volunteer position, as well as transcripts, a cover letter, a small photo and, of course, the dreaded scholarship application essay. Efficient scholarship essay writing starts with preparing your materials ahead of time, as getting organized can really speed up the scholarship application process. Figure out who you want to ask for recommendations and approach them early in your scholarship hunt. Make sure they will have time to write you a letter before your first scholarship application deadline. Likewise, you want to begin preparing your essays early. This will allow you to get feedback on your essays and to make them as strong as possible. Often, you can write just one or two really strong essays about generic topics then reuse them for more than one scholarship application. Check through your list and see if any prompts appear more than once. This will allow you to quickly knock out several scholarship applications at one time.
While reusing essays is smart and efficient, make sure that you are still closely following instructions for each separate scholarship application. Missing an important step in a scholarship application is the quickest way to lose out on valuable money for school. Check over each scholarship application before you submit it to make sure you haven't missed anything. Otherwise, make sure you are following proper etiquette in preparing and submitting your scholarship application--politeness never hurts and it can even help you stand out from the competition. Browse through the rest of our College Resources section on Scholarships.com for more tips on preparing the perfect scholarship application!