The 10 Best Tips to Help You Get a Scholarship: A Step-by-Step Guide

Just about everyone who dreams of going to college wants scholarships to pay for school.

According to Jean Chatzky, CEO of Her Money and College Ave Blog contributor, scholarships are the holy grail of college finance. “However, getting them requires a strategy. To be competitive you need to do your research (a scholarship matching tool helps), look like a gem on the Internet, fine-tune your applications, including your essay, and cast a wide net by applying to as many scholarship programs as possible.”

That’s just a general overview. The following article breaks it all down into ten simple tips for finding scholarship that can lower your college costs.

1. Start early (before junior year).

It’s not necessary to wait until junior year to apply for scholarships. By getting a head start, you will have more time to research which scholarships are worth your time and effort. You’ll have plenty of time to complete the applications that other students may have skipped once you know your best options. As early as possible, fill out those scholarship applications for freshmen and sophomores in high school!

Scholarship funds are limited for many scholarships. In other words, if you apply sooner, you’re more likely to get rewarded before that budget runs out. Now you have an even better reason to move quickly. You can read more about Why You Should Apply for Scholarships (Year-Round) here.

2. Use a scholarship matching tool.

Guidance counselors no longer accept paper applications in their offices. There are now thousands of scholarships available online, and you can quickly search through them. Filters and keywords allow you to find jobs based on your qualifications, experience, background, or unique interests. Be sure to focus your attention on scholarship opportunities where you meet all the requirements and exclude those where you don’t. There are a lot of options, but don’t get overwhelmed. Take your time narrowing down the scholarships that are right for you.

Here’s a list of sites you can use for your search:

  • U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship search tool
  • Scholly
  • Cappex
  • Unigo
  • Fastweb
  • Scholarships.com

3. Lean on your advisor.

If you need help finding scholarships, your high school counselor or college advisor can be a great resource. They can help you choose which scholarships to apply for even if you are not applying in their office. It is common for advisors to take the time to review your essays and applications and to assist you in improving them. Checking out past scholarship winners can also give you a lot of insight into how to approach your submission.

Your guidance counselor can advise you on which scholarships are most popular and which are more suited to your background. The schools you wish to apply to may also offer specific scholarships you can apply for together. An expert will help you narrow your search so that it serves your needs more effectively.

4. Tap into your network.

Be sure to tell your employer, coaches, friends, and members of your community that you are applying for scholarships. If your parents know of any scholarships for family members, they should ask their friends or HR departments at their workplaces.

Locally, there are a lot of scholarships available that aren’t particularly well advertised. In the local paper, in your high school counselor’s office, or at the library, you can find these resources. Find out if local businesses, foundations, and community organizations offer scholarships.

5. Polish your online presence.

Your application for a scholarship (or a job or a college) may be reviewed by someone who Googles you. Ensure that the results they find are of high quality. You should know that colleges are still able to see what you post on social media even if you make it private. If you want to control what searchers find on your LinkedIn profile, social media accounts, and personal website, it’s a good idea to update them.

The time is now to create a personal website or portfolio if you don’t already have one. You can build a website for free with sites like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly. You should invest in a domain name and website that you control as soon as possible. You can make yourself known and available by highlighting your strengths and interests.

6. Look beyond your grades.

There is no requirement for you to have a 4.0 in order to qualify for scholarships. There are even scholarships that don’t consider grades at all. It’s important to stand out from the crowd on your applications, apart from your GPA. Think about what makes you special and deserving of the scholarship before you start filling out the forms.

Is there anything you are particularly good at or skilled at? As a first-generation student, you may be able to demonstrate perseverance in the face of adversity. You may be unique because of your leadership skills on the basketball court. Decide which area of your life you excel in or that means the most to you, and focus on that.

Scholarship applications are a great opportunity to showcase your passion for extracurricular activities.

7. Collect letters of recommendation.

A few letters of recommendation are usually required for scholarship and college applications. The people who can testify to your strengths, qualifications, and ambition could include your employer, teachers, coaches, high school counselors, or other adults.

When asking for a significant favor, it’s best to provide the letter-writer with as much relevant information as you can. It might be helpful to provide them with a Word template to use when writing your recommendation. The following are some other things you can provide:

  • Scholarship overview (if it’s for a specific application)
  • The key strengths you bring to the reviewer, in relation to the requirements. You might ask your Honor Society advisor to address your successful reelection as president if you’re applying for a leadership scholarship.
  • Please provide a copy of your resume
  • Also, what colleges are you applying to and what major you plan to pursue in the future

Be sure to thank your reviewers for taking the time to help you after you have collected your letters of recommendation.

8. Apply for MANY scholarships, big and small.

To pay for college, you may be able to earn scholarship money from a variety of sources. In order to cover all your bases, you will need to apply for lots of scholarships. Keep an eye out for those with smaller awards. The amount you win here and there will add up quickly. Plus, the more you apply, the more likely you are to win.

Applying for scholarships should become your new habit. Make it a goal to apply to one or two schools per month, starting your sophomore year. You can apply for scholarships as a high school student, an undergrad, or a graduate student. Some scholarships allow you to enter more than once. If you would like to enter to win our $1,000 scholarship sweepstakes once a month, you can do so here. If you have applied for SSP scholarship you can check your ssp scholarship status here.

Keeping your numbers high will help you to succeed in the numbers game of scholarship applications!

9. Write a great essay.

Scholarships that require essays can be intimidating to students, but a well-written essay can help you stand out. For college applications, it’s also a good idea to work with your advisor or attend a writing workshop if you have poor writing skills.

The same essay can be used for more than one scholarship application. Don’t forget to follow the scholarship rules, including the word count for your essay. Answering the question asked is the most important thing to remember.It’s not a good idea to reuse another essay because it’s well written. Ensure you understand the prompt and that you can demonstrate your comprehension and writing skills at the same time. If you are searching for topics you can write on pmsonline that will be best for you.

10. Practice your interview skills.

There are some scholarships that require an in-person interview. It takes time to become a good interviewee, so practice answering questions about your background, interests, accomplishments, and aspirations. Your interview will go better if you feel comfortable chatting with the interviewer and answering questions. During your interview, don’t be nervous; the interviewer wants to get a feel for you and what makes you a good fit. Here’s your chance to show them what you’re capable of.

Research your options, complete thoughtful applications, and ask for support from people at school and in your community to earn scholarships. By working a little bit, you can save thousands of dollars and start college on the right foot.

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