Choosing your college can be stressful, with the abundance of options making it hard to make a truly informed decision. This stress can be further exacerbated if you’re looking to apply for scholarships, as they can often be tricky to find and the application process can be intense.
However, once you find the right one for you, a scholarship can be a great way to help finance your education and lessen some of the stress that comes with heading off to college.
Here are some top tips for applying for scholarships to make the process go as smoothly as possible.
There’s no such thing as starting your search too early. Even if you start looking before the scholarship programs are announced for the next academic year, it’s still worth checking out your options.
You might be able to find out about previous eligibility requirements and the college environment. And most importantly, whether they would be a good fit for you.
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When you’re doing your research, make sure to take notes along the way. With so much information to take in, it can be easy to forget details or get colleges confused. So having detailed notes to refer back to can save you a lot of time and energy.
The main things to take note of are the eligibility criteria and how your skills and background make you a good candidate, alongside the location and the campus itself. If you want to be super organized, consider creating a spreadsheet detailing your top choices.
Be aware of deadlines
Potentially, the most important aspect of applying to colleges is deadlines. Even more so if you’re hoping to land a scholarship. There are scholarship programs that are highly sought after, and some may even work on a first-come, first-served basis. So it’s absolutely essential to keep track of the deadlines for your top choices.
This is another reason to start your research early, as it gives you an opportunity to take note of upcoming deadlines and prioritize your applications accordingly.
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Tailor each application
Try to refrain from pasting the same text into each application, as it will sound generic and won’t help you to stand out from the crowd. Instead, tailor each application you fill out to the specific scholarship.
The committees are often looking for mentions of specific criteria, so make sure to highlight your strengths and any skills that match what they’re looking for.
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Apply for multiple scholarships
Although it’s easy to fall in love with one particular college, try not to set your heart on it. To increase your chances of getting accepted for a scholarship, it’s important to apply for as many as you’re eligible for.
Some tuition-free colleges are incredibly competitive and some have very small intakes, so you could just miss out. It’s important to remember that an application isn’t a commitment to attend, so broaden your range as much as possible to give yourself the best chance at getting accepted.
Scholarship programs are fantastic, providing opportunities for students to reach their full potential. Although the process of finding and applying for your scholarship can be challenging, your persistence and hard work are bound to pay off in the end. It’s an investment in your future, so make sure you take the time to find the scholarships that best fit your needs and help you achieve your academic goals.
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About the Author:
Melissa Samson is a high school counselor who specializes in helping students with their college applications. As a previous scholarship recipient, she enjoys spreading awareness about available scholarships to encourage students to work towards earning a place.