With the cost of attending college skyrocketing, it is more important than ever that students take advantage of every possible grant and scholarship—since these are essentially free money. And while most colleges offer a limited amount of scholarship assistance to students, there are literally thousands more which can be found elsewhere. (Contact us if you’d like help finding them!) Of course, qualifying for those scholarships isn’t automatic—you’re competing against other qualified students as well. Below are four steps you can take to improve your chances of securing a scholarship:
1) Commit to spending at least one hour per week researching available scholarships. There are a huge number of scholarships available, but you must sort through them in order to identify the ones that you are eligible for—and that you have a good chance of receiving. The more scholarships you apply for, the more money you are going to receive… so it’s vital that you spend plenty of time researching.
2) Proofread your scholarship applications. You simply cannot afford misspellings or grammatical mistakes on these applications—there are too many qualified students that you are competing against. Proofread each application. Then, ask two more people, such as parents, siblings, or friends, to proofread it for you. Finally, proofread it once more yourself before sending it off. Does this sound like overkill? It may be—but when a single mistake could cost you thousands of dollars, it makes sense to be cautious!
3) Put serious time into your essays. The major challenge you face when applying for a scholarship is differentiating yourself from all of the other applicants. There are plenty of students with great grades, strong SAT scores, and impressive collections of extra-curricular activities. Your essays represent the best opportunity to express your strengths, your dreams, and your ambition. Take advantage of the opportunity!
4) Don’t miss a deadline. When you identify a scholarship that you’d like to pursue, put all relevant deadlines into your calendar immediately. There’s nothing worse than spending hours and hours on an application, only to overlook the deadline and thus be disqualified. It’s a mistake that students make every single year—don’t be one of them!
If you’d like to learn more about qualifying for scholarships to help you pay for college, or if you’d like help identifying scholarship opportunities, contact us today!