Here are five tips to keep in mind when beginning your scholarship search:
Where To Find Scholarship Opportunities
First, check your high school counseling center and website to find local and national scholarship opportunities. Don’t be afraid to check other schools’ websites, as well, for more opportunities. Also, look into local clubs, organizations, banks and credit unions to see if they offer scholarships. These opportunities will not be listed on national websites, but are often the most competitive among students. Throughout this process, it is important to remember that with all the different types of scholarships, you should take the time to find the ones most fitting to you, instead of stressing about not meeting the requirements of certain applications. Scholarships may be awarded for a variety of reasons, such as ethnic backgrounds, essay contests, community service, the arts, military/ROTC, merit, special interests or talents, etc.
Don’t Get Scammed
It is crucial to be aware of scholarship scams throughout your search. Getting sucked into one of these scams can be avoided by verifying the scholarship with the FTC at www.ftc.gov/scholarshipscams.
Know What Sponsors are Looking For
Once you find the perfect scholarship, it essential to portray yourself as an appealing candidate. Sponsors want to award scholarships to the most well rounded students, meaning that you must have a balance of good grades and extra-circular activities.
Monitor Your Social Media
Students must note that social media can make or break your scholarship dreams. Scholarship committees are now utilizing sites, like Facebook, to research applicants. Instead of posting things that may be harmful to your chances, use social media as a second forum to boast of your accomplishments. For instance, you may consider reposting a newspaper article, which describes an award you have just received, to your Facebook page.
Perfecting Your Application
When it comes to actually writing your application, make sure you meet the sponsor’s formal and informal requirements. Many students make the mistake of meeting just the bare minimum or using a blanket application and hoping for the best. When you’ve completed this last step, proofread. Most sponsors won’t even accept applications with excessive spelling and grammar mistakes. Lastly, watch deadlines extremely carefully. Not doing so is one easy way to completely jeopardize your chances at a scholarship. In order to avoid confusion, keep a calendar and write your deadlines in red so they are harder to avoid.
Unfortunately, applying to a million different scholarships will still not guarantee that you will be granted one, but by following these steps, you will maximize your chances of success.
Article used courtesy of Nassau Educators Federal Credit Union section