Scholarship Tips and Tricks: Advice from a Scholarship Winner

Summertime is great. It's a time for freedom, a time to ease up on your academic course load, and a time for you to generate some money for college. Summer is an ideal time to apply for scholarships, to avoid having to take out educational loans for the school year. 

"Scholarship" brings both a sense of optimisn and an overwhelmingly daunting feeling for students. Everyone wants a scholarship, but due to the time involvement and their competitive nature, they can be discouraging. With such a competitive environment, how can you ensure that your application has a fighting chance? 

Before you begin your scholarship search, make sure you have the following materials read: Updated Resume; Your LinkedIn account; and knowledge of your academic history such as prior coursework and GPA. 

Five Tips from a Scholarship Winner

  1. Use a scholarship search engine. Finding a scholarship that pertains to you is of the utmost importance. A ware to make a good impression on the person reviewing the scholarship application is for your application to be relevant. 
    There are both free and paid search engines. Examples of a free search engine is FastWeb or College Board. And, an example of a paid search engine is Scholly, which comes in both an app and desktop version. 
    To use either of these search engines, simply input your crednentials (Age, Gender, GPA, ethnic backround, and other basic information) and begin. 
  2. Small is good. Keep your eyes peeled for scholarships that are less competitive. Search for local scholarships and university scholarships and apply for those before pursuing a larger scale scholarship. National scholarships may come with a bigger award, but you have less of a chance of getting to receive it despite all the time and effort you put into your application. Smaller, more local, scholarships have a smaller price tag, but you may qualify for multiple scholarships and potentially win more. Think of it like 7-11. Customers only spend a small amount of money at their stores per transaction, but the company remains profitable because it has a lot of those small transactions. 
    An easy way to search for local scholarships is to Google Search local companies followed by the word "scholarship." Try your local paper first. If you are stuck for ideas!
    To find University based scholarships you can run a google search, reach out to your advisor or financial aid office at the University, or go exploring in the University's website in order to find opportunities. 
  3. Pick scholarships you are passionate about. Choose scholarships that are focused in an area you are passionate about. If you dreaded writing the essay you just submitted chances are the person reading your essay is experiencing similar feelings. You want to appeal to the emotional as well as intellectual side of your audience. As a rule of thumb, do not write anything you would not read.
  4. Proof read. Pruf read. Proof read. Nothing looks more unprofessional than spelling mistakes. Do not rush through your application. Write it. Save it. Come back to it later. Read it outloud. Have at least one othe person read it through. 
  5. Don't stop at just one. Applications for scholarships are free. Aside from lack of time, there is no reason you should not apply for more than one. By diversifying your scholarship profile, the higher your chances are for a return on your time invested. 

Despite the overwhelming feelings you may be experiencing on your scholarship search, do not give up. If you give up you have no chance at receiving free money for college (other than grants, of course). Give it a chance because you never know when someone is going to give you that phone call or email that is going to make college more affordable.

If you need additional assistance with scholarships and other ways to make college affordable, you do not have to do it alone, contact a Go Financial Aid Consultant today!

Categories: College Planning | College Savings | Financial Aid | Scholarships
Tags: college financial aid free money money for college scholarships

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