Scholarships are free money. With some planning and effort, you can use scholarships to pay for some or all of the expenses of getting a college degree.
Here are six tips for getting scholarships.
1. Start early
Well before you enter college The single biggest factor that will affect how many scholarships you get is your grade point average. You can’t fix your grade point average in the month before graduating internships high school. beginning with your freshman year you will want to keep those grades up.
2. Use Fast Web
Before you can be awarded a scholarship you have to know it exists and apply for it first. Fast Web is a site that can help you find scholarships that you may qualify for. There are thousands of scholarships out there, they each have different requirements and pay different amounts, the Internet and your high school counselor can help you find scholarships.
3.Use a special calendar to track scholarship application deadlines
In the spring of your junior year of high school or at the latest, the summer before your senior year, get a calendar for the next year and mark the dates that various scholarship applications have to be submitted. For each deadline you should mark two dates, the date the application must be submitted and the date 30 days ahead. For example if Culinary Institute’s $6,500 scholarship application must be submitted by April 15th, then you would mark April 15th and February 15th, indicating a 30-day warning and the actual deadline.
4. Follow instructions
This is critical, each application will have certain requirements. Make absolutely sure that you understand what they are asking for and that your application meets the criteria. Failure to follow this one will almost certainly ruin your chance of being awarded the scholarship and will result in a total waste of your time. To prevent a mistake, read the scholarship application requirements completely through. After you have read it once, read it again with a pen in hand and list each item that must be satisfied on a lined piece of paper. Your list might look like this:
a. must be currently enrolled
b. essay 800-1200 words
c.. topic: urban renewal & why I am passionate about it
After you have itemized the requirements, ask someone else to look at the scholarship documents and double check our list to make sure you have not missed something, then right before you submit the application check it against your list.
5. Do not pay for scholarship search services
It does not matter how reputable the company appears to be, or how much they promise to deliver, there is no reason to pay for scholarship search or submission. Almost everyone one of these companies are scams. It takes work to apply for scholarships, and you might get tempted to use a shortcut and hire a company, don’t do it.
6. Develop a strategy to maximize amount of money you get from scholarships
The amount each scholarship pays varies for each scholarship, usually the highest paying scholarships are the most competitive. If you have a 2.5 grade point average, it probably would not make sense to write a 5000 word essay for a scholarship that pays $25,000 and everybody is applying for. It probably makes more sense for you to find special interests scholarships that pay relatively small amounts and apply for as many of them as you can.
For example, lets say that your father is a member of United Auto Workers Union and your mom is a school teacher, and you are Hispanic. There are scholarships for students who’s parents are in the UAW, scholarships for children of teachers and scholarships for Hispanics, it would probably be better to focus on those scholarships than it would be to spend a lot of effort on a scholarship that is open to anyone studying engineering and pays $15,000.
Whatever your specific situation, workout a plan that utilizes your strengths and works with the factors that might limit your success.
Scholarships are free money for college at a time when college is getting more expensive. Although you do not have to come up with your own cash to pay for school when you get scholarships, or at least not as much of your own cash, scholarships still require effort. To get the most from scholarships you should start early. Use the Internet and your guidance counselor to find scholarships. Track scholarship application deadlines with a special calendar and give yourself a warning 30 days before the deadline so you can avoid a last minute rush.
Be very careful to do follow the instructions and meet every requirement of the scholarship. Use an itemized checklist and ask someone to double check your list to make sure that you have satisfied each requirement before submitting the scholarship application. There are no shortcuts, never pay for a scholarship finding or submission service because they are usually scams.
And finally, come up with a strategy that works best for your specific situation. Make sure you play to your strengths and factor in any weaknesses as you decide which scholarships you want to go after.