By Kamryn M.
When applying for any kind of scholarship, I have a little checklist of items that I need to have done before I can submit my application- knowing that I have done my best work. In this blog, I will be going over tips and tricks that I always keep in mind when filling out any application. Keep in mind that what works for one person might not always work for you! If something does not work for you, you can always change it!
Start the Process Sooner:
The first tip I have is to start by looking and making a list of scholarships that interest you. It is best to begin looking before your senior year of high school; the sooner you start looking the better. That way, you are able to have an extensive list of scholarships that you can apply for. The earlier you start looking, the earlier you can begin compiling all of the needed items required for each scholarship. This will also help for items that might take a while to get to you, for instance, mailed transcripts or letters of recommendation, which are difficult to obtain at the last minute. When it is time to start applying, begin to check back to the list you have made to check if their requirements have changed; you still have time to collect any last-minute requirements before the application becomes available.
Always Have a Letter of Recommendation:
One of my biggest tips for scholarship applications is to make sure that you have multiple letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation could be from anyone: professors, employers, youth group leaders, co-workers, and even counselors. Always make sure that you have at least three recent letters of recommendation at all times- you never know when you will ever need one. It would be best to continue to gather letters of recommendation to help build your collection. The more you have, the better. Some letters work better for different things. Use letters from teachers or academia that showcase your academics when applying for a academic scholarship, and use letters from volunteer leaders when applying to a community service scholarship.
One of the most prominent struggles people have with applying for scholarships is that they are not organized. Applying for scholarships is so much easier and hassle-free if everything is kept in one safe and well-known spot. For me, I find it is the easiest to keep everything surrounding scholarships in one binder. That way, I can keep all of my letters of recommendation, transcripts, essays, and personal statements together in one safe spot where if I need it, I can grab it and go. For example, having a binder separated with categories and clear sheet protectors is one of the easiest ways to keep yourself organized and ensure everything is safe and protected. If you are more of a computer person, you could do something similar with organized folders on your laptop. Always make sure to keep items that are alike together in their categories.
Make a Schedule:
Another way to stay organized while applying for scholarships is to make yourself a schedule. List all of the deadlines for the scholarships you’re interested in the inside of a planner, notebook, or calendar. This way, you know when everything is due and when the last day to submit your applications or have them postmarked by is. These are dates that you do not want to miss- colleges will not extend the deadline just because you forgot to turn yours in. You should also make sure that you are applying often. The sooner you submit all of your scholarships, the sooner you can relax. I always say to fill out and finish at least three applications a week if possible. You don’t want to wait until the last week and have to fill out all of your applications within just a few days- it is not worth the stress.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help:
Possibly the most important tip I have when it comes to applying for scholarships is not to be afraid to ask for help. You don’t have to work through this process alone. You can ask for help from teachers, councilors, youth group advisors, your parents, and your peers. There is usually someone who has already gone through the process and understands how it works, and they will help you. Whether they’re just reading your essay or helping you find the words for your statement, there is always a helping hand who can make sure that you are representing your best self.
Look Beyond Your Grades:
For many scholarship applications, they want to know about more than your grades. Colleges want to know about your extracurricular activities, jobs, and volunteer work. Scholarship boards tend to look for the most well-rounded student to give a scholarship out to. Of course, they still care about your grades, but not all scholarships are based solely on academics. While reading through applications, most readers are looking for applicants who put their whole heart into their application. They are looking for applicants who are not afraid to be themselves and talk about their life struggles, growth, and personal hardships. All in all, make sure that you are sincere and you are reflecting on yourself on a deeper and more personal level.
Apply for Any and All Scholarships:
My final tip is to apply for any and all scholarships; even if you think you will not qualify – apply anyway. Even if you might not be eligible, it’s possible that you could still get the scholarship. Occasionally there are scholarships that no one who applied actually qualifies for, so the scholarship committee will give them out to the next best applicant. Just because you might not qualify, according to an application’s qualifications list, does not always mean that you will not get the scholarship. Apply for as many scholarships as possible, whether it is a $100 scholarship or even a $10,000. Apply, apply, apply! You can never succeed if you do not ever try. The worst thing that could happen is being told no. And even then, you still got your foot in the door for many other scholarships and materials ready to go.
These are all tips and tricks that I use while filling out scholarship applications. Following these steps helps ensure that I have done everything to the best of my ability and that I will be able to apply for as many scholarships as possible before their deadlines.
Happy Applying and Good Luck! 🙂