As I’m sure you are all unfortunately aware, college is expensive. There are the lucky few who get full scholarships to whatever college they end up going, and there are some that get a decent amount of money from their school, but the rest of us have to search for scholarships on our own. I’m starting to look for scholarships to apply for in the coming year, and I figured I would share some of my tips with you guys!! After all, free money to use for your education is great, right?
1. Know where to look.
So there are a heck of a lot of scholarships out there, and it can be pretty overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing. First of all, you have to know which scholarship search engines are actually reliable. You can ask your school guidance counselor for some suggestions if you’d like. I use FastWeb a little bit, and it sends scholarships right to my email inbox!! You can also look on your school’s website or college websites; they will often have some listed, especially local scholarships.
2. Narrow down your search.
As I mentioned, there are a lot of scholarships out there. In order to make the list of scholarships to apply to a lot smaller, you have to narrow them down. Look for scholarships you’re eligible for, then look for scholarships that are as specific to you as possible. For example, look for scholarships for women, for Jews, for African-Americans, for minorities, for the LGBT+ community, for your intended major, anything like that.
3. Decide which scholarships to apply for.
Once you find a bunch, look through them to see which ones you can actually apply for. Look to see if you have answers to the essay questions, look to see if you have the recommendation letters you may need, and decide which ones you can respond to best. Those are the ones you should apply for. Make a list of them and keep track of the deadlines!! They’ll creep up more quickly than you think.
4. Start as early as possible.
Scholarships have deadlines all throughout the year, so you need to make sure you start looking early or you’ll miss deadlines! If you do miss one, though, most scholarships are annual or biannual, so save the information so you can apply next year. Start working on them as soon as possible so you don’t end up leaving them them until the last minute.
5. Don’t get discouraged.
More often than not, you won’t get the scholarship. But don’t let that discourage you from applying! You have nothing to lose from applying, and the more you apply for, the higher your chance is of winning one. Just keep on trying and keep on applying.
I wish you all the best of luck with both college applications and your scholarship search : )