Everyone wants to win a full-ride scholarship and enter their freshman year without financial stress. However, the reality is that you have a greater chance of winning smaller scholarships to aid your degree goals. Get a head start on your scholarship game this summer, so that you can head into your senior year closer to funding your college goals.
1. Treat scholarship applications like a job
Finding and applying for scholarships can be time-consuming. Take advantage of your free time this summer to organize which scholarships you want to apply for. Don’t worry — you don’t have to give up all your pool time to applications. Devoting an hour a day to searching for scholarships and writing well-crafted essays and prompts will help the process feel less stressful.
You will increase your chances of winning a scholarship by taking your time to fill out each application thoroughly. Forgo the urge to copy and paste, even if two scholarship essay questions seem identical. Don’t skip optional questions either, since they are a wonderful way to share more about yourself and your goals.
2. The more involved, the less amount of competition
Does the thought of writing an essay or tracking down personal recommendation letters feel overwhelming? Many scholarship applications are designed to take a few hours to complete. Remember what we said about treating it like your new job? The fact that several applications take a long time is actually a good thing. The more that is involved in a scholarship, the less competition you might have, since others might not have the patience to complete all of the steps.
3. Look for local scholarships
Using scholarship search sites is a wonderful resource to finding hundreds of opportunities at your fingertips. It is wise to apply to as many eligible scholarships as you can. However, don’t forget to check in your local community for opportunities too. Ask your school’s guidance counselor if they know of local scholarship opportunities. Your local library or Chamber of Commerce might also know of scholarships in the community.
4. Find scholarships that fit your unique personality
Make a list of everything that makes you special. Are your grandparents from a specific region of Italy? Do you play an instrument or have a hobby most people don’t? Perhaps you are planning to study an uncommon degree field. Use every unique aspect of yourself to find scholarships — there are even scholarships for left-handed individuals!
You can search for scholarships by ethnicity, gender, special abilities, and more. It is a good idea to go through all of these lists to discover scholarships that want applicants just like you. Pursuing these niched-down scholarships gives you a better chance of winning because you will have less applicant competition.
5. Don’t forget to look at your part-time job or your parent’s job
Your place of employment, even if it is a part-time or volunteer position, might have scholarships available. Ask your supervisor if the company offers scholarships for employees or you can do a simple web search of “company name + scholarships.” Additionally, scholarships might be available from your parent's place of employment. For example, Coco-Cola offers scholarship opportunities for children and grandchildren of current employees.
The secret to winning scholarships for college is to keep applying. Summer is the perfect time to get a head start on your applications, but keep searching throughout your senior year too.
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