Scholarship F.A.Q.

What is the difference between a lottery scholarship and a merit scholarship?

Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit; thus, students distinguished by academic excellence, participation in extracurricular activities and involvement in community service have the best chance at receiving one of these rewards. Lottery scholarships, on the other hand, are chosen at random, meaning every student who applies has an equal chance of winning.

What are my chances of receiving a scholarship?

This depends largely upon the scholarship, how well you meet qualifications and the level of effort that you exert in your search. Typically, if you can find scholarships that are limited to students within a state, city, sport or academic area, you have a better chance of winning. The more applicants there are for a particular offer, the less chance you have of winning. Choose scholarships that give you an opportunity to exercise your skills in an area of interest to you —this should increase your chance of winning. Also, keep in mind that to find money for college, you have to create your own success by committing the time and brain power necessary to achieve your goal.

How does community service increase my chances for receiving a scholarship?

Not only is community service experience a common essay topic but your involvement in community service can distinguish you from other applicants. Scholarship providers often look for this quality because they are looking to assist in funding the education of someone who gives back to their community and values making contributions of time and service for its benefit.

Who should I ask to write my letter of recommendation?

Start by asking a teacher, employer or mentor. Do not ask a friend or family member. A letter of recommendation is similar to a professional reference; choose someone who can articulate your strengths and praise your accomplishments.

If the required G.P.A. is 3.8 and I have a 3.7, should I still apply?

No. If you don't meet the criteria exactly you shouldn't apply. Scholarship offers typically receive thousands of applications. Anyone who doesn't meet the requirements is typically disqualified.

How quickly will I be notified?

You will typically be notified within a few weeks of the deadline, though this varies with each scholarship provider.

How does the scholarship provider choose a winner?

Each scholarship provider is looking for different skills or interests. A winner must meet all of the standard criteria required for the scholarship but also distinguish himself from the rest of the applicants. Read about the scholarship and try to determine what exactly the scholarship provider is looking for so that you can emphasize your related qualities in you essay or cover letter.

Does the amount I receive in scholarships affect my eligibility for financial aid?

Yes. Often the scholarship provider gives your award to the college you are attending as credit towards your tuition. If this happens, the school adjusts your unmet financial need accordingly.

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by Susan Dutca

In the midst of Wednesday's tragic shooting and killing of WDBJ7 journalist Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward by alleged gunman and former WDBJ-TV reporter Vester Lee Flanagan, Parker's alma mater, James Madison University is accepting donations for the Alison Parker Memorial Scholarship. Similarly, Patrick Henry Community College, where Parker received her associate's degree, is accepting [...]

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