How to Land Scholarships

Let's face facts - it can be prohibitively expensive to attend college.  Indeed, many students simply cannot afford to enroll without receiving at least some amount of financial aid.  And, arguably, scholarships are the best type of aid.  As gift money, these funds will never need to be repaid.  Of course, that also means that scholarships are the most coveted and perhaps the most difficult type of aid to secure.  However, contrary to popular belief, there are actually a number of scholarships available for the taking.  Even better, there are steps you can take to help ensure that you receive some!

To begin with, the best way to net scholarships is simply by applying.  Sure, we know that sounds obvious but hear us out!  You'd be surprised at how many scholarships yield an incredibly low number of applicants.  Many students simply don't devote any time or energy to seeking them out.  That means that there are plenty of scholarships out there for the taking.

Similarly, it's also a numbers game.  Hence, the more scholarships to which you apply, the more money you're likely to receive.  Again, perhaps this sounds like common sense.  However, you would be shocked at the number of students who try for a couple and then call it quits.

Beyond numbers, long-term community involvement and/or commitment to volunteering can be a boon to scholarship applications as well.  Unfortunately, this isn't something you can fake at the start of your senior year; it takes a little more dedication and planning.  However, applicants who demonstrate a continued altruistic bent throughout their high school careers tend to be very successful.  After all, a lot of organizations who provide scholarships are non-profits centered around helping others.

Additionally, when it comes to filling out your actual scholarship applications, make a point of answering any and all optional questions.  First off, this will certainly help flesh out your app, allowing the decisions committee to get a better sense of who you are; hopefully, the full extent of your passion will shine through.  Secondly, it demonstrates the hard work, dedication and desire you've put into netting this scholarship.  In short, it shows that you care.

Furthermore, it's also smart to scour your area for any local scholarships offered.  Though the amount of money offered might be lower, these are likely to be far less competitive and receive far fewer applications than national scholarships.  And they'll also be happier to dole out money to a resident.  To find these opportunities, talk with your guidance counselor.  You might also check the local library for any advertisements.  And you may even inquire with surrounding businesses.

Finally, it's imperative that you come across as professional, mature and collegiate.  Obviously, this means that you submit an application with no grammatical mistakes.  It also means that you should avoid using a jokey email address and even consider cleaning up your presence on social media.  After all, you never know if a committee will decide to look you up.  And in this scenario, boring is best.

Landing scholarships is no easy feat.  It will take a lot of time and energy on your behalf.  However, if you follow the advice outlined above, we promise the hard work won't be for naught.  You'll likely be swimming in money and hopefully starting college with a much smaller financial burden!

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