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How Do I Look For Scholarships

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When Is The Application Deadline

How Do I Find Scholarships?

Does the deadline conflict with any other big responsibilities ? Avoid scholarships you won’t be able to finish in time as well as ones that will require you to miss schoolwork in order to finish.

Do you have enough time between now and then to put together a polished application? If you just have to fill out a few forms and write an essay or two, you wont need that long – maybe a couple of weeks . If you have to put together a lot of documentation – like official transcripts, letters of rec, etc. – you might need 2-3 months.

There Are Many Types Of Scholarships

Some of you might still be under the mistaken impression you can’t win a scholarship unless you play sports or have an I.Q. over 130 or a GPA over 3.5. The simple fact is that, yes, you probably stand a better chance with a 4.0 GPA or play quarterback for the varsity squad, but those are only a few kinds of scholarships a student will find if they do a thorough search. This is why we advocate conducting a search at Scholarships.com. We match you to any scholarships in our database you might be able to win, regardless of why. We’ll let you decide whether you want to apply for the scholarship after you have read more about it.

Other Scholarship Search Tools

As I mentioned earlier, you wont want to just apply to the big, prestigious scholarships – its important to apply to less competitive awards as well. To get info on almost any scholarship you can think of, check out the following online search tools.

Want more detailed info? Read our guide on how to effectively use these online search resources.

With the College Boards scholarship search, you can look for awards based on all sorts of criteria. There are two ways you can search for scholarships:

You can enter in as much or as little identifying or demographic information as youd like. Obviously, the more information you enter, the more relevant and helpful the search results will be.

Scholarships.com claims to be the largest free scholarship search resource available, with a total of over 2.7 million scholarships listed in their database. The site lets you save, favorite, or remove scholarship matches associated with your account.

Students tend to have more luck with Scholarships.com when it comes to finding relevant awards when compared to many other scholarship search engines.

Your Favorite Search Engine

Once you get a better sense of the scholarships youd like to apply for, you can use Google to search for awards. This gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility when youre searching for scholarships, especially if you have specific keywords in mind.

Read Also: Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship

Look Locally For Private Scholarships

When starting your search for additional scholarships, start locally first for outside private scholarships the competition will be less, therefore increasing your chances of winning the award. Orsolini, who ran the scholarship program for Chamber of Commerce in Lombard, Ill., for a number of years, says they would typically receive 12-15 applications for two different scholarships. These numbers put applicants odds at around one in seven thats much better than one in thousands for something like the Dr. Pepper tuition giveaway.

For undergraduates, start the search at your high school. Many high schools will list local scholarships on the college section of their website, and guidance counselors at your school are likely to have some pointers as well.

For both undergraduate and graduate students, make sure to check your colleges website as they will also be likely to list scholarships that local organizations and alumni have made available to students of the college. If you prefer in-person help, schedule a time to go into your schools financial aid office to talk through the options.

Your Guidance Or College Counselor

Guidance / Scholarships

School counselors are an untapped resource when it comes to finding scholarship money! Definitely schedule a meeting with your guidance or college counselor – the earlier, the better, but ideally by the beginning of junior year. They likely have insider info on scholarship programs that may be a good fit for you, especially when it comes to local awards.

If you have unique skills or needs , your counselor may also be able to help guide you through the process – this isnt something you can get from an online scholarship search tool.

A guidance counselor can give the sort of personalized feedback that you can only get from a real, live human

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Write A Killer Scholarship Essay

The scholarship essay is a crucial part of your application. The essay goes beyond your GPA and gives the scholarship awards committee a sense of who you are as a person. Dont be afraid to get personal after all, this is your story.

Here are a few simple tips to make sure you smash your essay:

Make a plan of attack

Create a list of the essays you need to write and start with those that have the earliest deadline. Alternately, if youve started working way ahead of the deadline, you may also want to tackle the longest essay, or the most general, so that you can rework it for other applications.

Follow the instructions

Every scholarship application will come with its own set of instructions. Follow them to the T. For instance, if theres a word limit, stick to it.

Create an outline

Your outline doesnt need to be super-detailed but its good to have an idea of where youre going and the arguments that you want to make. Starting with a solid plan will save you time in the long run.

Proofread and proofread again

For a convincing scholarship essay, spelling and grammar must be edited to perfection. Its wise to ask multiple friends, family members, or teachers to proofread and offer honest and constructive feedback.

Ask The College Or University

Similar to coordinating with the school counselor, check with advisors within the financial aid office of the schools youre applying to or have been accepted to. Most schools have scholarship opportunities listed on their website along with search tips, external links and FAQs. If there is something that isnt listed on the website, reach out to someone in the office directly.

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Where To Find Scholarships In College

  • Your School: The first place to look for scholarships is with your university. The financial aid office should have postings about widely available scholarships, as well as scholarships specific to your school. An adviser within your major should also be able to direct you to scholarships intended for students in your field of study and will likely be a valuable resource on how to win one.
  • Large Companies: Many large companies like Walmart, Apple and McDonald’s provide scholarships to their employees or their children, so it’s always a good idea to check with your employer or your parents’ employers about what they may offer. If your company doesn’t give scholarships, inquire about tuition reimbursement programs.
  • Online search tools: A free online search engine, like the Discover Student Loans Free Scholarship Search, can also be helpful. Just make sure you filter the results for your current year in college to save time. And while this can be a good way to learn about scholarships, it’s important to understand that those found online are easily accessible, making them more competitive to win.
  • Why Apply For Grants And Scholarships For College

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    Grants and scholarships are forms of financial aid that you never have to repay . With essentially free money for college, you can focus on your studies with less worries about having to worry about how to afford tuition, student fees, textbooks, and the general cost of living.

    Beyond the clear benefits to your college budget, winning these awards also reflects well on your resume, earns you prestige, and can help you network later.

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    How Do You Apply For Scholarships

    Heres how to apply for scholarships in three simple steps:

  • Make a list of awards to pursue. Take note of the number of awards available, the amount of funding available, and the deadlines for applying.
  • Sign-up for a free Unigo account. Doing so gives you access our . When you use our personalization tool you answer a handful of questions and we narrow down millions of awards to those that meet your eligibility criteria.
  • Finally, follow the instructions for each application carefully and thoroughly. Check out our tips for .
  • How To Find Opportunities

    One of the best ways to find opportunities is by using a scholarship search engine. One of the most popular matching tools is of course ! When you use a site like ours you can browse through our categories below, or use our . Simply enter your basic info, such as your academic interests, location and grade level. With that information, Unigo will generate a list of awards that fit your individual profile.

    You can also find on the websites of the groups that offer them. Or, search your intended website. Another great way to search for awards is through your local library, high school or community college counselors office, or state financial aid agency.

    Get started now by exploring our database of scholarships, grants, and other opportunities. We are always adding new awards as they become available.

    Also Check: When Is It Too Late To Apply For Scholarships

    Make A Good Impression In Your Application

    Its important to make a good impression in your application. Make sure you:

    • find out about the organisation awarding the scholarship and tailor your application to their goals
    • fill in all sections tidily
    • check your spelling
    • attach all documents in the order they are requested. Ensure you have provided everything that was asked for
    • ask someone to check your work before submitting or sending it.

    Submit your application by the closing date, and make sure you keep a copy for your records.

    If youre posting your application, allow at least three working days for it to arrive, and longer if youre in a rural area.

    Take Note Of The Scholarship Deadline

    Guidance / Scholarships

    Getting your scholarship application in order may involve various steps and will take time, so make sure you start the process at least a month before the deadline.

    Its better to get your applications in earlier than later to give yourself time to account for unexpected delays. It also gives you the advantage of offering the scholarship award committee a sneak peek at your stellar time management skills. So get those deadlines on the calendar in bold print and fight the urge to procrastinate.

    Most scholarship applications will require:

    • High school transcripts and diplomas
    • Two or three letters of recommendation
    • A resume
    • A completed FAFSA or your parents tax receipts

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    Essay Tip #: Find Your Own Path

    When you apply for a scholarship, youre responding to the same writing prompt as hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of other applicants. How can you make your essay stand out from the rest? What can you bring to it that nobody else can? Set some time aside simply to think over your strengths and to brainstorm ways to make your essay stand out.

    Your Odds Of Landing A Scholarship

    In 201920, Sallie Mae’s “How America Pays for College” study reports that 58% of families relied on scholarships to cover part of the cost of going to college. This translates to 11.5 million college students who used scholarships that year.

    Combined, scholarships and grants covered 25% of an average total college cost of $30,017, leaving $22,391 to be covered by savings, family support, loans, and work-study. Thats more than $7,500 in free aid.

    Recommended Reading: Sample Thank You Scholarship Letter

    Tips For Applying For A Scholarship For College

    With the cost of attending college increasing each year, the competition for scholarships and grants is on the rise. To increase your chances of receiving financial aid:

    • Dont ignore small reward amounts they can add up!
    • Read directions carefully before your start filling out your application
    • Keep a backup file of your work in case something goes wrong
    • To make sure you apply on time, mark your calendar with deadlines or use apps to help you keep track
    • If youre stuck or need help, contact the organization offering the scholarship

    scholarship or grant can significantly reduce student debt upon graduation.

    What Do Scholarships Look For In Essays

    How I Earned $100,000 in Scholarships. . . Application Tips Where to Look for Scholarships

    A typical scholarship essay topic will likely ask students about their career goals and their plan to achieve those goals, Matthews says. Other essay prompts might ask students what theyve done to make their community a better place or to describe a personal achievement and how they overcame challenges to reach it.

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    What Kind Of Scholarships Can I Get And Am I Eligible

    Scholarships arent just for valedictorians or star athletes. Whether youre attending college or a trade school, there are scholarships for almost every hobby, skill, interest, and degree.

    • Say youre a top student, a talented musician, or a budding chef looking for scholarships. You can find all kinds of opportunities by using scholarship search tools, such as the Department of Labors CareerOneStop or the College Boards Scholarship Search platform.
    • If youre from a low-income family, a number of organizations like Davis-Putter and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provide need-based scholarships.
    • You can even get scholarships for doing community service. For example, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is available to domestic and international students alike.
    • Besides traditional scholarships, you might be surprised to find opportunities for ethnic minorities, first-generation learners, and the LGBTQ community. Today, there are scholarships for everyone gamers, vegetarians, and even zombie lovers.

    The best way to approach your scholarship search is to think carefully about what you love to do or what youre great at, and then search for scholarships based on that.

    Apply for scholarships and grants that match you and your interests. Photo: Ekaterina Bolovtsova/Pexels

    Are You A Good Fit For The Award

    This is similar as meeting the eligibility requirements. If you do meet the requirements, ask yourself whether you are this scholarships target audience. That is, do you fit the spirit of the award and not just the letter of it?

    For example, lets say youre looking at an award for scholar-athletes, and youre a great student, but youve never played on a varsity team. You might meet the hard requirements , but youre not what the organization is looking for when they say scholar athlete. This is an award you should pass on.

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    Tips For Applying For A Scholarship

    As you begin your search for scholarships to help you pay for school, here are some key tips that can make it possible for you to maximize your chances of success:

    • Use multiple scholarship search engines.
    • Start long before the upcoming school year.
    • Dont ignore the small awards many small scholarships add up fast.
    • Meet deadlines.
    • Ask a parent or school counselor to review your essays and give feedback before you submit them.
    • Dont be afraid to be honest about your accomplishments.
    • Check to see if universities in your area offer scholarship workshops where you can learn more tips.
    • Apply for as many scholarships as you can to improve your odds of winning.

    If youre applying for many scholarships, keep a spreadsheet where you can track the scholarship names, deadlines and application statuses. Remember, the more scholarships you apply for, the more likely it is that youll be able to significantly lower the cost of college tuition.

    What Types Of Scholarships Can You Apply For

    Financial Aid

    There are scholarships for students of all walks of life. Regardless of your background, experiences, area of study or academic track record, there are likely scholarships available for you. Examples include:

    There are also several bizarre scholarships that you might not expect to see but that can provide hundreds or even thousands of dollars in financial aid.

    The important thing is that you take the time to do the research necessary to find as many scholarships as you can. The more free money you can obtain to help you pay for school, the less youll need to borrow.

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    How To Find A Scholarship

    Generally, scholarships and fellowships are reserved for students with special qualifications, such as academic, athletic or artistic talent. Awards are also available for students who are interested in particular fields of study, who are members of underrepresented groups, who live in certain areas of the country or who demonstrate financial need.

    The best way to find scholarships or internships is to use a personalized search, like Fastweb, that compares your student profile with a database of awards. Only those awards that fit your profile are identified as matches. Fastweb has the largest, most accurate and most frequently updated scholarship database.

    Have You Looked For Niche Awards

    Most scholarships programs look for qualities that I discussed earlier in the article – academic excellence, leadership skills, community service, etc. If you can find awards that are targeted towards students with your niche interests, skills, or background, youll really increase your chances of winning some scholarship money.

    Even if you dont use resources like the College Board search tool to find scholarships, you should go through the questionnaire asking about various group affiliations or student characteristics. If you identify with anything listed, use those keywords to look for potential scholarships .

    The smaller the applicant pool for a particular award, the weaker the competition. Take advantage of these niche award opportunities.

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