Isnt Applying For Every Scholarship A Lot Of Work
Applying to many scholarships is not as much work as it might seem.
After your first half-dozen or so scholarship applications, youll find that you can start reusing your old scholarship essays, tailoring them to each scholarship providers goals. Just remember to change the name of the scholarship program if you mention it in the essay.
Applying to scholarships is a worthwhile use of your time, even for the less generous scholarships. Suppose you apply to 10 scholarships worth $500 each and you win one. If it takes an hour to complete each scholarship application, thats $500 for 10 hours of work, or $50 an hour. That pays better than babysitting or shoveling snow.
Next: Write Your Application With Unique Answers Instead
When you take a step back and consider the common answers to the prompt, youll be able to come up with an answer that will subvert the judges expectations and keep their attention. In my case, while other students wrote about historical figures, I chose Chris Rock, the famous comedian.
My essay went on to argue that though hes perceived simply as a comedian, hes actually a highly astute social commentator. His jokes revealed the things we want to say but wont articulate because were afraid to. I even deconstructed one of his jokes and went into an in-depth analysis of why it was an examination of the racial attitudes our society holds.
And it worked.
My approach was offbeat yet professional. When looking for unique angles, you shouldnt make it offensive or inappropriate. Instead, aim to make it deep, personal, and a little bit against the grain.
How To Find Scholarships That Will Pay Thousands
If youre a high school student, you have a lot of scholarship resources available to you. They can be broken up into five areas:
With these resources, youll be able to earn thousands of dollars in scholarship money. Heres how:
Tapping into high school career centers
First, go to your high school career center. If your high school doesnt have a career center, your schools counselor can help you find similar resources online or in your local community. Most high school career centers keep an updated list of scholarships sorted by date. Go through this list and make note of every single scholarship that applies to you. Even if you think it could be a stretch, write it down. You never know what will pay off later.
You should literally be writing down the following information for each one youll need it when you actually start the application process. I suggest you write down:
- the scholarship name
- the amount its worth
- whether or not youve applied yet
Do this in a Google or Excel spreadsheet so you can easily search, filter, and update from any device later.
When youre applying for dozens of scholarships, its going to be critical that you stay organized so you dont burn out. Of course, you can be as detailed as you want with your spreadsheet and include things like GPA requirements and whether or not you need an essay.
Pro tip: tap into other schools
Searching college scholarship sites
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Us Department Of Labors Scholarship Finder
This brings up a search of over 8000 scholarships that have something for everyone ranging from $1000 to $10,000 as a one-time award. There are also many awards for women, or minorities and so on and for just about everyone else too.
Be sure to also Explore Careers and take a Self-Assessment of your own interests and skills and how they would match specific careers. Compare different occupations to determine the type of education required for each occupation. There are also additional job search and training resources on this website.
The contacts for various state grants can be found here.
How To Find Scholarships
It is important to start searching for scholarships immediately. Many scholarships have deadlines in the fall of the senior year in high school, not just in the spring. There are also scholarships available to students in younger grades, even in elementary school. You can continue applying for scholarships after you enroll in college.
Search for scholarships using free scholarship matching web sites such as Fastweb.com and the College Boards Big Future. It takes only about half an hour to search for scholarships. The real work is in submitting the scholarship applications.
Scholarship listing books can be good for random exploration of possible scholarships. You can find them in local libraries and bookstores, as well as . Before buying any book, check its copyright date. If it was published more than a year or two ago, it is too old to be useful, as scholarship information changes frequently.
You may be able to find information about small local scholarships, such as a PTA scholarship, on bulletin boards outside your school counselors office or near the librarys jobs and careers section.
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How Many Scholarship Applications Should You Submit
You should apply to every scholarship for which you are eligible. Do not limit yourself to just one type of scholarship, such as less competitive scholarships, more generous scholarships and no essay scholarships.
There are many talented students, so the odds of winning a scholarship involve some luck, not just skill. You can increase your odds of winning a scholarship by applying to more scholarships.
But, dont apply to a scholarship if you dont match the selection criteria or if youve missed the deadline. Your scholarship application will not be considered.
Dont get discouraged when you get rejections. Even students who win a gazillion dollars in scholarships get dozens of rejections for every scholarship they win.
Ask This Question Before You Sit Down To Pound Out The Application
Specifically, Id recommend students reflect a bit on the following question: If you had $1,000 to give to someone what would you want to know about them? Consider those thoughts as you fill out the application and write your essay. This is your chance to shine while at the same time show humility and grace.
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Getting Powerful Letters Of Recommendation
Most high school students are afraid to ask for letters of recommendation. Its a little bit awkward to ask a teacher or other trusted adult to write a glowing recommendation for you. HOWEVER, if you were a good student and established a good relationship with your teachers, theyll be more than happy to help you out with your letter of recommendation. Most students never do this so theyd be happy to help. Youre going to want to approach it the same way I approach asking for a testimonial: politely and with the majority of the work done already. When you reach out to your teacher for a letter of recommendation, youll want to give them several things:
- A broad view of what you want them to highlight
- 2-3 key points they should touch on
- Your resume so they have a reference to your accomplishments
If you provide them practically everything they need, theyll be more than happy to give you an awesome letter of recommendation. In fact, many teachers will just ask you to write a draft that they can edit and sign.
There’s Too Much Competition
A scholarship that offers a lot of money surely will entice a lot of applicants. Monica says this is the top excuse she hears from students who don’t apply.
But both financial aid officers say it’s not true. Just like the stereotype of the beautiful woman who’s too intimidating for anyone to ask her out, the best scholarships often have the fewest applicants.
Because so many students are intimidated by the size of the applicant pool, Sara explains, many of the best candidates do not actually apply! Its completely ironic, but it pays off for students who do put in an application.
Tero Vesalainen / shutterstock.com
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How To Increase The Number Of Scholarship Matches
The more scholarship matches you get, the greater your opportunities to apply for scholarships.
Most scholarship search sites ask optional questions in addition to the required questions.
Students who answer the optional questions tend to match twice as many scholarships as students who answer just the required questions.
The optional questions are asked because they trigger matches with specific scholarships. The scholarship search site cant match you against those scholarships unless you answer the questions.
Silence Your Inner Critic & Give Honest Compliments
Stop trying to find faults and motives. Learn to trust others and trust yourself . A great way to start is by giving sincere compliments to others the way you would love others to do the same to you. Knowing that compliments can come from a genuine place, you can then be more comfortable accepting them.
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Can I Win Multiple Scholarships
Yes, but typically not from the same scholarship provider during the same award year. If you’re applying to more than one scholarship, be sure to keep your applications organized. Sending the wrong materials to the wrong scholarship committee can guarantee you won’t be receiving those funds for college.
Why Is A Scholarship Needed
People usually think that scholarships are for those who want to study abroad. But the broader term of scholarship explains that it is financial support given to students at school, college, or university. As mentioned above, those students get scholarships who cannot afford their studies or have low financial security.
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Is It Just Me Or Do Scholarships Seem Hard To Get
< p> I always hear about hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial aid scholarships going unmet but I don’t feel like I see any scholarships that aren’t being aggressively fought for. Like they’ll always go to people in the top 5%.< /p>
< p> I’ve applied for a few scholarships and I guess it’s just too early to expect a reply already, but I’m starting to lose hope a little in paying for my dream college since I have financial need and it would be cheaper to stay in-state..< /p>
< p> So what are your experience with scholarships? Have you applied for them and are just waiting to see if you got any? Or have you/know other people that have gotten a few scholarships from applying?< /p>
< p> Scholarships from searching sites like FastWeb especially seem to be a lost cause…< /p>
< p> Any thoughts?< /p>
< p> I do know of several students receiving some nice state and local scholarships in the past. All were good students, heavily involved in school activities and lots of hours of community service. I also know top students who weren’t involved with anything except their school work and they received none of these. Many are looking for the total package.< /p>
< p> Yes, scholarships are hard to get, and they are likely to get even harder as students are needing more money to supplement family contributions and lots of charitable organizations who offer scholarships are feeling the financial pinch too.< /p>
Start Your Search Early
Its never too early to begin the search for college scholarships. As soon as you begin applying for college you should begin the search. It is also good practice to look for scholarships throughout the course of high school so that it becomes second nature. There are a lot of different scholarship options that come in a variety of places. Companies like Dr. Pepper and Duct Tape offer quirky scholarships to students ranging from $1,000 to $100,000.
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Know Where To Look For Scholarships
I’ve talked a lot about the groundwork needed before you apply for scholarships. But the real struggle can be knowing where to look for scholarships.
Start off by looking locally. Banks, churches, car dealerships, and even your parents’ jobs may offer scholarships. Local scholarships usually don’t get many applicants, either, so applying for these will increase your chances of winning money for college.
If you have an idea of which colleges you want to apply to, go to their websites and search for institutional scholarships. These are scholarships that are specific to that school. A general web search can also help.
There are so many scholarships out there for things other than academics. For instance, you can find scholarships for students of color, specific majors even left-handed people!
Just remember: You should never have to pay to apply for a scholarship. Those are most likely scams, and you won’t receive anything back from them.
How To Ace The Scholarship Interview
Practice, practice, practice. Ask a friend or a parent to conduct a mock interview, to give you practice interviewing. Record a video of the interview and watch it afterward. Youll be shocked at all your ums and ahs.
Think about answers to likely interview questions in advance. For example, you will probably have an opportunity to say why you deserve the scholarship. So, prepare an elevator speech that highlights three relevant aspects of your background. Dont memorize this speech just remember the key points you want to make, so you can have a natural response to the interviewers questions.
Before you start interviewing with Zoom or other videoconferencing software, take a picture with your webcam and examine it carefully. Clean your webcam if it is dirty. If there are any inappropriate posters in the background, remove them. Try to present a neat and tidy appearance, without a lot of clutter.
For an in-person interview, bathe or shower the morning of the interview, use deodorant and brush your teeth. Dress professionally. Do not chew gum or smoke. Arrive a few minutes early, in case you get lost on your way to the interview location. You are trying to give a good impression.
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I Didnt Want To Be Rejected
Many school-awarded scholarships are judged by professors or advisers, which means students might be judged by the same faculty and staff members they see every day. That can be uncomfortable if you lose out.
But Sara D. urges students to remember: Rejection is tough, she concedes, especially when you know who made the decision. But it is part of the process. Youll be rejected many times in life, but were often rewarded for being persistent and showing courage. Apply and apply again!
panitanphoto / shutterstock.com
Just Before You Apply For A Scholarship
There are all sorts of scholarships for all kinds of college students out there. They help cover some college costs or, in extremely rare instances, every single expense associated with earning a degree.
In order to make attending college easier on the pocket with the help of scholarships, you will have to first win one or a few scholarships yes, you can have multiple ones as there is no limit to the number of scholarships you can apply for and receive. While applying is almost effortless, unfortunately, winning is not as easy as it seems.
Above, we talked about the different types of scholarships to choose from.
Its not a smart move to apply to just about any scholarship that you come across. Before you fill out any form and hope for the best, see to it that you are eligible for the financial aid you are eyeing. Otherwise, applying to one whose criteria you dont match up with will only lead to unnecessary anxiety and frustration.
Needless to say, take your time when shopping around for scholarships. But, although haste definitely makes waste, dont take too long as there are scholarship applications deadlines to beat!
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Know Your Scholarship Deadlines
When I was applying to college, I came across a large scholarship that required a 1,500-word essay. There was just one problem: the scholarship application was due by midnight of that day.
I frantically banged out an essay and submitted it at the very last minute . Unsurprisingly, I didnt get the scholarship.
Learn from my mistake. Dont miss out on a scholarship just because youre unaware of the application deadline.
Whenever you find a scholarship you want to apply for, put the application deadline on your calendar. This way, youll never miss out just because you forgot when the application was due.
When Should I Start Applying For Scholarships
The sooner the better. Eligibility requirements such as “you must be a high school senior“, “you must be a college sophomore majoring in computer science“, “you must be under the age of 30, etc.” vary. Regardless of the requirements, if you miss the deadline you will not receive a scholarship. For precaution, make sure your application packet is complete at least two weeks before the deadline, in case you have to resubmit due to a mailing/emailing error.
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Find Scholarships Related To Your Major
There are some scholarships you can get just for having a certain major. Some of these will be corporate scholarships aimed to encourage students to pursue particular careers. Others will be scholarships offered by your majors department .
This is another category of scholarship that many students dont think about, so be sure to look for them. I recommend asking your advisor and the chair of your department, as well as searching your universitys website.
The Application Would Take Too Much Time
The dumbest reason of all is this one. If it takes five hours to apply for a measly $500 scholarship, that’s like getting paid $100 an hour.
No one can force a student to apply, Monica says. Financial aid offices are more than happy to help, but I would say 60 to 70 percent of students do not take advantage of it because they feel they do not have the time. Down the road when loans become due, Im sure they will look back and regret not spending that hour or two on scholarship applications.
Sara concludes, Its essentially your money to lose. Scholarship committees want to give this money away, and they look for students who actually deserve it. You don’t have to be the best. You certainly don’t have to be the most gifted. You just have to show that you’ll use the money to better yourself and your education. Its as simple as that!
This article by Michelle Argento was originally published on Debt.com.
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