Securing funding for college can be a long and arduous process. You’re not quite sure where to start and highlighting what makes you different from other applicants can seem like a daunting task. Throughout meticulous trial and error, here are some tips for applying for scholarships every student should know.
1. Start Sooner Than Later
Getting accepted into college or making it to another semester is definitely an accomplishment but it tends to bury the financial side of things. Once the reality of tuition starts to sink in, a lot of time may have passed which can put you in a difficult place. When applying for scholarships, it is better to start early. Keeping track of deadlines and varying essay lengths takes up more time than you may think. Summers are an especially crucial time in securing funding for the following year so be sure to do your best to get ahead of the curve. Many websites offer deadline templates in order to keep you on track so if you are thinking about college and want to make sure continuing your education is a possibility, consider applying for scholarships as soon as possible.
2. Develop An Extensive Search
Here is where knowing the power of keywords comes in handy. When applying for scholarships, you are going to spend a lot of time scouring the internet for opportunities. It will be a search so deep that the first page of google will not fulfill it. Think about the characteristics that set you apart when applying for scholarships. Are you a parent? Do you have a lot of community service experience? Are you the first in your family to attend college? These are just a few of many specialized areas that offer scholarships. Take some time to write out a list of what you think makes you unique or experiences you have gone through and try searching for scholarships in that area. The deeper you go, the more scholarships you’re going to find!
3. Make Fastweb Your Friend
When I was in high school, Fastweb was the only scholarship search engine I knew about. Thankfully, it provided me with a lot of scholarship options after simply creating a profile. Each year I updated my profile in order to find scholarships at my education level. If you don’t want to spend time curating an in-depth scholarship search, consider Fastweb! You can get scholarship matches sent directly to your email and it is a free service that will remind you to always be on the lookout for opportunities when applying for scholarships.
4. Ask For Help
There is thought that you have to figure everything out yourself when it comes to college funding. You’re an adult and supposed to have all the answers when we all know this is not the case. Whether it comes to writing personal statements or essays on various topics, ask for help! This can include asking teachers/professors to proofread or even reaching out to those who have secured large scholarships and getting advice. You don’t have to go through the process of applying for scholarships alone.
5. Free First
When applying for scholarships, you’ll slowly notice that many of them have application fees. These are typically associated with grander amounts so a tip every student should know is that you should take advantage of free options first. The objective here is get money you don’t have to pay back for school not drain your bank account in the process. If you have the money to spare by all means but if that is not your current financial situation, there are plenty of free options available.
6. There’s No Harm In Trying
Confidence plays a big role when applying for scholarships. If you don’t believe that your writing sample or the experiences you have gone through are compelling enough, it can prevent you from even submitting an application. In these instances, it is important to remember that you never know unless you try. This is a lesson that will get you through a lot of rejections later in life and it will open you up to opportunities you never dreamed were possible. You may not win every scholarship you apply for but if you don’t apply for any, your college dreams are going to be even harder to reach. You can do this!
Applying for scholarships takes a lot of courage but you have to try! What are your tips for applying for scholarships? Tell us in the comments!
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Rebecca was born in Hayward, CA and still resides there today. She received her BA in English Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and is the first in her family to graduate from university. She is a Poetry student in the MFA program at Saint Mary’s College of California and is furthering her involvement in the literary community. In her spare time, she likes to lose her voice at Giants games, read Young Adult novels, make lists, and aims to cross become a writer off it.