Everyone knows that one of the best ways you can pay for college is by winning a scholarship and that is easier said than done. Nearly all scholarship applications require you to write an essay, get letters of recommendation, and plenty of personal information. It can be overwhelming to start the process and figure out how to acquire a scholarship for college.
However, the costs of school are increasing every year which has made scholarships more important for students. The best thing about scholarships is that unlike student loans, they don’t need to be paid back, and they come with no-strings-attached money. The best part about winning a scholarship is that it greatly reduces your student debt burden, and this foundation can help you learn more.
Despite all the great benefits offered by scholarships, most students are confused about the best way to go about getting scholarships. The most important questions are:
- Where should you begin?
- Which scholarships are worth it?
- How many should you apply for
These questions can end up confusing and scaring away students. The good news is that it isn’t complicated to apply for scholarships, as all you need is a little perseverance and dedication, and you’ll be on your way to win your own scholarship. Here’s what you need to do:
Search Your Local Area
National scholarships tend to get more press and visibility online, but it is local scholarships that will provide you with the best chances. You’ll be competing with local students, instead of going up against thousands of students from all over the country. You’ll also support local initiatives that are happening in your community, which represent amazing causes.
Acquiring information for local scholarships is easy, as your college admissions office and guidance counsellor at your school will help you out. You can also search for scholarships in your city or state on Google, or use a scholarship search engine, which will help you find a list of scholarships.
Focus on Your Strengths
Scholarship providers review scholarship essays and applications for countless hours, which are all very similar, and that’s why most of these applications don’t impress them. The ones that end up winning have something special about them. So, tap into what makes you special and what will give you an advantage over your competition. You can create a list of your strengths, such as things you’re good at, and things you’re always being asked by your friends for help in.
Once you know that, you should then look to highlight your strengths in your application, especially in the essay and short answer questions. You need to impress the scholarship committee, by showing them why your skills make you an excellent candidate. You can also make your application stand out by sharing your life experiences.
Ensure Your Essay Hits the Mark
One of the best ways to ensure that your essay makes its mark is by approaching it in a different manner. If you’re answering all the questions properly and using your best writing skills, there aren’t any rules stopping you from writing the essay in your own unique manner, unless there are instructions that you shouldn’t do this. But, what does it mean to write the essay in your own unique manner?
Well, it means taking your life experiences and incorporating them into your writing. For instance, if the essay question is ‘why do you want to study medicine?’ Most applications come up with a response like, “I’m motivated to help people.” This is a good reason, but it won’t make your essay stand out from the rest of the applicants.
You put your own personal spin on the essay, by sharing a story about your experience with a doctor, and how it inspired you to study medicine, or if you had a dream that could only be achieved through medicine. It’s important that you reflect and take your time before you start writing the essay since the deeper and more personal you are, the better your essay is going to be.
Look for Similar Applications
There’s no doubt that scholarship applications can be time-consuming and lengthy, and between homework, work, studying, and classes, no one has the time to write different essays every week. The good news is that you won’t need to do that if you’re smart in your approach. Most scholarship applications are similar, and even though it may seem wrong, there’s nothing against the rules for using the same responses on different applications.
In some instances, you may even use the same essay or tweak it slightly to fit different applications. It’ll be less overwhelming applying for scholarships when half the work is already done for you. Your chances of winning a scholarship will also increase.
Get Help from Someone
You can get another person, like a friend or family member to go over your application and save you from the trouble of proofreading it. You’ll also get a second opinion, and at times others can notice things about your writing that you can’t notice, like writing unnecessary information, being too boring, or being repetitive. Your friends and family can give you helpful insight on how you can get scholarships, you didn’t even think about yourself.
Apply for Various Scholarships
When you’re applying for a scholarship, you should always aim to apply for as many scholarships as you can, since there’s no limit on how many scholarships you can apply for. It only increases your chances, and you can take out time every week to search for and apply for any scholarships you can find. If you don’t have much time, you can increase your chances of winning a scholarship by applying for scholarships without essays or scholarship sweepstakes.
Waiting around doesn’t get you anywhere, and when it comes to scholarships the sooner you start applying, the better it will be for you. Don’t wait till the last minute, when you’ll be stressed and won’t be able to concentrate to write a solid essay. So, start early, and give yourself plenty of time to win a scholarship. High school students may apply for scholarships in their junior year, and college students and high school seniors may apply a year or more ahead of the semester. Scholarships are offered throughout the year with different headlines, but most of them come around in March.