Once you begin applying for scholarships the journey does not end until you’ve achieved the highest education of your desires. Though getting started can be tough if you do not know the right people. First, you have to hit the web for the some scholarships to apply for. Some great sources for finding scholarships are counselors and teachers.
Now, after you find those scholarships, how will you proceed? Keep reading for the best way to ensure success when you apply for a scholarship.
1. Start In Advance
Those scholarship deadlines are no joke! When you apply for a scholarship, make sure you start in advance so that you are sending out your best material. This way you will have time for your submission to be edited and approved from multiple sources.
This also gives you enough time to reach out to people for recommendations without putting a lot of pressure on them. You want to ask for a recommendation at least a month in advance because you don’t want them to come up with something off the top of their head; or, holding any resentment against you.
So, for the sake of respecting your time, start your scholarship application in advance.
2. Do The Hard Part First
Now is the hard part, getting started. What is the first thing you do when you apply for a scholarship? Well, get the hard part out of the way first of course. Whether it is an essay, video, or short story submission, you will want to get it out of the way ASAP so that you can begin to tweak it for final submissions. After doing the hard part, a couple of reviews and edits, only then will you be ready to send in your submission.
This step is meant to hinder any tendencies you have to procrastinate.
3. Follow The Directions
Every scholarship has a list of requirements that each applicant has to meet. It could be based on your GPA, the amount of community service projects you’ve partaken in, or require you to complete a task. Whatever you are asked to do, stay within the bounds of what is asked of you but never succumb to what is expected.
Scholarship committees love when you think outside the box and form creative, engaging pieces of work. Though don’t go overboard and completely ignore the scholarship requirements.
4. Ask For Recommendations
As you apply for a scholarship, it is best to have at least two recommendations on hand whether or not it is required. Although if your recommendations are outdated, or you simply don’t have any on hand, as stated before, it is best to make requests at least a month in advance.
Also, make sure to have at least five people you can ask. It is not wise to rely on one or two people when funding towards your higher education is on the line. Five is a solid number to stand on because if everyone you ask agrees to write a recommendation, you just have more to stash away for another scholarship.
5. Get Your Submission Reviewed
We’ve all done it before. You finish the hard work, gather everything in the submission portal, and immediately clicked send. Never, never, never take one look at your submission and click send.
If you really want to earn that scholarship, you will take the time to have it reviewed by a peer. Let someone take a look at it and be open to the advice they give you.
6. Be Unique (Write Something Different Than Your Peers)
As stated before, think outside the box. You don’t want to simply create a submission like your peers. You want to wow the scholarship committee, make them feel something. If you don’t feel anything from your work, inspired, grateful, moved in some way, then try again.
The judges don’t want something dull, they want solutions that are action-oriented, stories that reveal your character, and narratives that promote free-thinking.
7. Prep For Interviews
You ever had the crackhead-shakes whenever the center of attention? Does your heart race when people focus on you? Well, in that case, a little practice never hurt anybody.
You’re now at the end of your scholarship application process and are required to do an interview. This is common with many scholarships, like the POSSE scholarship. Even if the idea of this interview does not freak you out, it is a great idea to go over some interview questions with your counselor or teacher.
You will want to practice answering a question pertaining to your background, aspirations, interests, achievements, and skills. In order for your interview to go along more naturally, you will need to be comfortable and there is no better way to do that than practicing.
8. Don’t Limit Yourself
Often times when searching for scholarships it is common for students to gravitate towards the big money; though, this only limits you. You don’t want o put all of your eggs in one basket. So when given the choice to apply for a $25,000 scholarship and 10 $2,500 scholarships, apply for all of them because who knows which ones you will be granted.
This approach is meant to help you maximize your chances of earning a scholarship. Besides, those small scholarships certainly add up to some big coins.
Also, on the same note of not limiting yourself, try to diversify the scholarship categories you apply within. Whether it is based on your merit, athletic, or artistic abilities, applying in different categories will only open more doors of opportunity.
There you have it! I came up with this list from many of the mistakes I have made while applying for a scholarship, the main threat was my tendency to procrastination. These are the tips I aspire to follow on my journey to funding all of my educational endeavors.
When you apply for a scholarship take your time, not too much, to create something meaningful. Never turn in sloppy work. So, why don’t you share some application tips with the community to lend a helping hand?
Alacia Murray is pursuing her B.A. in Creative Writing at Agnes Scott College. She loves to read, write, play old board games, and eat. Writing is her passion because it gives her the opportunity to express herself in a safe space. She loves to encourage people with her writing.