How do I get scholarship?
In the last 30 years, the price of college tuition has increased by 1,120% (no, that’s not a typo). Many students won’t be able to continue paying for school out of pocket due to the rising cost of higher education. Although many students use financial aid to cover the cost of their education, doing so can result in lifetime debt. Scholarships for college, on the other hand, are a great way to cover the cost of higher education without incurring debt. You might be able to receive scholarships to cover all or a portion of your educational costs with careful planning, research, and preparation.
How to Get a Scholarship
1. Look for scholarships online.
Start by looking for scholarships that are specifically for the grade you are currently enrolled in. For instance, there are numerous scholarships for seniors in high school. The U.S. Department of Labor’s scholarship search, which searches more than 7,000 scholarship opportunities by category and other keywords, is the best place to start in the US.
If you are a college student right now, your school’s website probably has some tools that can assist you in finding scholarships. Additionally, look for scholarships intended for continuing students at your institution.
You can look for potential scholarships using search engines that are dedicated to finding them. Fastweb, Scholarships.com, and College Board are a few of these.
Here is a list of state grant-making organizations.
2. Check into scholarships with your guidance counselor or professor.
College or career counselors are very knowledgeable about the different kinds of scholarships that are offered. They might be able to point you in the direction of scholarships you haven’t yet thought about.
If you come from a low-income family or are a first-generation college student or have a disability, you might also be qualified for the TRIO program, run by the US government, if you fit the criteria. TRIO provides opportunities for scholarships as well as guidance counseling.
3. Consider your upbringing.
Numerous scholarships provide funding to students from specific racial or ethnic backgrounds. Even a wide range of scholarships is available for students from military families or whose parents are active in fraternal or volunteer organizations. A lot of scholarships are also available for students who are starting their studies later in life or at an unorthodox age. Consider your background as you look for distinctive scholarships that you qualify for.
- Check the Federal Student Aid website, here, for information on scholarships for students from military families.
- If you’re a current or former foster care child, you may be eligible to participate in the Educational and Training Vouchers program through the federal government. Find more information here.
- Consider also checking websites from your church or religious organization, community organizations, and local businesses. Many offer scholarships for local students.
4. Keep an eye on due dates.
Applications for scholarships have strict deadlines. This implies that you cannot submit your application after the deadline and anticipate receiving the scholarship. Use a spreadsheet or your own calendar to keep track of due dates. You won’t then overlook a crucial deadline. Note whether the scholarship deadline is the date your paperwork must be received or if it is the date, it must be postmarked. You should submit your application at least a week before the deadline if the deadline is when your paperwork must be received. This will guarantee that it is delivered on schedule.
5. Avert scams.
Although there are countless real scholarship opportunities available, there are also a lot of con artists who are eager to take your cash or steal your personal information. To ensure smart search results, use the following advice.
- Don’t pay for scholarship information. Most of the time, the information that financial aid “services” provide is already available for free elsewhere. Furthermore, these services may promise to “guarantee” financial aid or lock in a scholarship if you just give them a credit card number. This is a scam.
- Be careful of application fees. In most cases, “scholarships” that require an application or processing fee are fraudulent. Reputable scholarships are there to help you out, not milk your money.
- Don’t pay someone else to file a FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is used in the US to help the government determine your eligibility for aid. It’s free to file and very easy. Save your money and don’t hire someone else to pay to file it for you. These companies are never associated with the US government.
- Be wary of “winning” contests. You may receive notification that you’ve “won” a contest or been “selected” for a scholarship that you never applied for. If it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is. Usually, you will have to pay money in order to claim this “scholarship,” which kind of defeats the point.
Preparing Your Application
- Gather important documents. Many scholarship applications will ask for academic records, financial information, and other details about you. Try to gather these materials well in advance, as documents such as transcripts and test scores can take a few weeks to arrive.
- Follow the instructions. If the essay directions ask for answers to particular questions, make sure you answer them. If the essay instructions call for 500 words, don’t write 700. If it asks for double-spaced paragraphs, make sure to format your paper like this.
Double check the instructions after you’ve finished writing. This will help make sure you’ve covered what you need to cover in the essay.
- Start by applying to just a few scholarships that fit your interests.
Because there are so many scholarships out there, it can seem overwhelming at first. Focus on finding scholarships that you feel like you’re a really good fit for. Then, gradually expand your search to scholarships that you qualify for, but maybe aren’t as confident about.
Remember—you don’t always have to be a perfect candidate for a scholarship as long as you meet the basic requirements. You might very well be the best fit out of all of the applicants!
Also, keep in mind that the more scholarships you apply to, the better your chances of getting one.
- Use your essay to show how you stand out.
If your scholarship application calls for an essay, don’t see it as an obstacle—this is your moment to shine! Read the essay prompt carefully, then share a personal story that demonstrates why you’re a great candidate.
For instance, if you have to tell a story about overcoming a challenge, paint the scene with vivid detail—talk about how you felt as you faced the problem, a little background to explain why it was such a big deal for you, and how you summoned the strength and courage to succeed.
Try to find ways to relate to the organization’s mission statement. For instance, if you’re applying to a faith-based school, you might mention how your belief in God helped you during a hard time.
- Proofread your application. Go through each page of your application and carefully proofread it. If it’s an online application, it helps to print out the entire application and read through it. Ask someone else to read through it too.
- Assemble your application in order. Put all the pages of your application in the order that the scholarship application asks for them. For example, place the cover page first, then your scholarship essay, then your resume, and so on. Each application will have its own specific instructions, so be sure to follow them closely.
Make sure you have all the parts to your application. Missing one part might make you ineligible for the scholarship.
- Send in your application early. Don’t wait until the deadline to turn in your materials. If you assemble all your materials ahead of time, you will have time to proofread your application. Don’t forget to send a reminder to those writing your letters of recommendation.