If you do your research now and learn about what it takes to win a college scholarship, you’ll improve your chances of being awarded even the most competitive scholarships. Browse through our site to see what you should watch out for before sending any applications, and remember that any scholarship search engines that ask you to pay a fee probably aren’t good sources of funding.
A scholarship application process can be time-consuming and stress-inducing, but with a few tips and strategies you’ll feel much more prepared to sending a well organized scholarship application. When you’re tired of filling out applications, remind yourself that tuition will likely increase by the time you’re ready to graduate and that the time you put in now could lead to a good amount of funding you’ll never need to pay back.
Most colleges target incoming freshmen and undergraduates so the sooner you start searching for awards and applying for them, the better. Undergraduates that have received generous scholarships to pay for their freshman year should prepare for their second year on campus. While scholarship for graduate students are less common, they are often very generous, as many target particular fields of study or are awarded by potential employers who want a better-educated employee base.
For incoming college students who know exactly what they’d like to be doing post-graduation and would like toe explore more, college scholarships are geared toward particular majors and fields of study. Awards in high-need areas like nursing and education are particularly plentiful, especially if you’re interested in working in a low-income community or location where those jobs are in high demand. Be sure to look outside your college for scholarships by major, as many outside organizations will have private scholarship funds set up to recruit college students into a particular field.
One of the best places to start when conducting your college scholarships search is your home states. Many of the most generous financial aid awards will come directly from your college, and your base tuition will undoubtedly be much less at an in-state public institution than at a college out of state, making it a very cost-effective decision. If staying in your home state is an option for you, include that in your criteria when you’re doing your scholarship search. Look at what your local college could offer you, especially if you’re entering into a high-need field like education or nursing, and contact local organizations for private college scholarships that they may have set aside for incoming college students staying in-state.
Make a list of what makes you different and what could make you stand out. Changes are that whatever makes you unique and whatever talents or characteristics make you stand out will correspond with at least one college scholarship opportunity. Whether you’re a star athlete on your high school ice hockey team or a returning adult student back in school for an advanced degree, whether you speak another language or have survived a rare disease, you’ll find an award that will not only fit your profile but give you a good chance at landing some free money. Scholarships by type are often much less competitive than awards based on need or academics, for example, as fewer people are applying for them.
While sports scholarships are more competitive than college scholarships based on other criteria, you don’t necessarily have to be a star athlete to land a generous award at your intended college. Most sports scholarships will come directly from your college if you intend to play on their team, but if you’re more interested in playing a club sport or on an intramural team, you could qualify for scholarships from local groups and outside organizations that award scholarships based on criteria outside of your athletic abilities. Many of those awards will look at things like need, community service and your academic record, so if you enjoy golf but aren’t the best golfer on your high school team, don’t assume that you can’t land a college scholarship. Browse through scholarships by spot, or conduct a free scholarship search to find awards you may be eligible for based on other criteria.
Scholarships.com offers 14 scholarships exclusive to students who conduct a free scholarship search on the site. Almost everyone will qualify for at least one, and $1,000 scholarships are open to all U.S. citizens who are current undergraduate students or high school seniors planning to enroll in an accredited college or university in the coming fall. Scholarships.com also offers the annual Resolve to Evolve Essay Scholarship. You may start with a free college scholarship search to see which scholarship you may qualify for. Below is a list of the aforementioned scholarships. Check the qualifications and deadline of each and do a scholarship search. The scholarship will turn up in your search results if you are, in fact, eligible.
The next step is sitting down and actually applying for the scholarships. If there are a hundred awards that you want to compete for, don’t worry about applying for them all in one day. Pressuring yourself will cause the quality of the applications and essays you submit to diminish and this will only encumber your chances of earning a scholarship. To avoid this dilemma, set a goal for yourself. Decide how many thoroughly completed applications that you can send in a week. Maybe it’s 20 or maybe, if the scholarships that you want to apply for require a great deal of preparation and/or time, perhaps it’s only four or five. Either way, designate a goal for each week and stick to it.