It will take more than one Saturday afternoon to find college scholarships! It’s never too early to start, even though requirements and applications for scholarships might change from year to year. There are scholarships available that are based on a wide range of criteria, including geographic location, extracurricular activities, talents, academic interests, and career goals. These five actions will help you expedite your search and lower the cost of college.
How Do I Get A Scholarship For College
You may feel that the cost of continuing your education is out of control because college and university tuition is increasing annually. In actuality, the cost of attending a private university rose by 129% and that of a public university by 213% between 1988 and 2017. For a public university, the estimated annual tuition is $9,970; for a private university, it is $34,740. Getting a scholarship is one of the best ways to lessen the burden of paying for college. Not only can applying for scholarships help you save a ton of money on tuition, but it can also boost your self-confidence before you even start college.
The difficult part of looking for scholarships to apply for is already done. Proceed to divide your search into scholarships based on merit and need.
Need-based scholarships are only given to applicants who need a little extra financial assistance, and they are dependent on your family’s or your ability to pay for college. Scholarships that are merit-based are given to candidates according to their skills or accomplishments. They might have an emphasis on learning, the arts, or sports. Numerous situation-based scholarships are available, including ones for women, minorities, journalism majors, and gamers.
Scholarships based on merit or need may be provided by private companies, individuals, or your college. Discuss your options with the financial aid office at your university or the guidance counsellor you had in high school.
Another option is to use a scholarship search engine like Going Merry. You will be matched with scholarships after creating an account based on details about your hobbies, extracurricular activities, sports, college major, and school year.
Step 2: Find and Understand the Application Requirements
You must familiarize yourself with the prerequisites of the scholarship you are vying for, as every application will call for the fulfilment of distinct assignments or the submission of distinct files.
The following are the most typical files and supplies required for a scholarship application:
Scholarship Application Form
Make sure you complete the scholarship application form completely and verify the information provided. (With Going Merry, you can save a ton of time by having your scholarship application forms automatically filled out based on the information in your profile.)
This is your opportunity to shine in the essay section of the application. It allows you to express your personality, ideas, and opinions even if you’re not a great writer. The sponsors of the scholarship want to know how you’ll use the limited space you have. Need some motivation but stuck? View the essays written by past winners here.
Additionally, you can look through a few of the most popular essay prompts on the right. You may discover that you’ve already completed a number of these essays.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation from professional or personal references are typically required for scholarships. Provide at least four weeks’ notice when asking for a recommendation letter from a professor, teacher, guidance counsellor, or another personal source. A hastily made recommendation or a stressed-out recommender is the last thing you want.
Copies of Transcripts and Diplomas
Even if a scholarship isn’t merit-based, it might still need a copy of your high school diploma and your most recent transcripts. Transcript copies are readily available via the guidance or registrar’s office, the website of your high school or university, or both. Your SAT or ACT test results may occasionally be required for scholarship applications.
Financial Aid Information
Certain scholarships, particularly those that are need-based, may ask you to send your application and your parents’ tax and income records with it.
Applying for scholarships can benefit greatly from having an updated resume. You should see your resume as one of the main components of your application, along with your essay, where you can showcase your accomplishments and skills.
Step 3: Create a Calendar
Time is of the essence when applying for scholarships. Applying as soon as you can is a good idea because those deadlines can sneak up on you! List all the scholarships you would like to apply for, their deadlines, and the necessary paperwork and essays, either on paper or in an Excel sheet. Additionally, Going Merry gives an approximate time for every application.
To be ahead of the game, start your scholarship applications as early as possible. Some applications will ask you to produce a media piece, like a film that explains your merits for the scholarship. This can take a lot of time, particularly if you’re already occupied with homework, classes, and occasionally extracurricular activities! You can submit your scholarship applications with confidence if you start early and give yourself enough time.
Step 4: Rock the Essay
Giving the essay the time and attention it requires is crucial because it has the power to make or break the application. Despite your lack of confidence in your writing abilities, you can still elevate your essay by adhering to a few basic guidelines.
Essay Tip #1: Read the Instructions
A crucial component of your scholarship application is adhering to guidelines all the way through! Additionally, read the directions for writing your essay. If there is a word count restriction on the application, adhere to it. Please send in any required media, including photos or videos, along with your essay.
Essay Tip #2: Give Yourself Time
You’ll have more time to consider your ideas and proofread your essay if you allow yourself enough time to finish it. Schedule your time in advance to prevent mistakes and feel comfortable with the procedure.
Essay Tip #3: Find Your Path
You are answering the same writing prompt as hundreds or even thousands of other applicants when you apply for a scholarship. How can you differentiate your essay from other writings? What unique contribution can you make to it? Allocate a specific amount of time to reflect on your advantages and come up with ideas for how to differentiate your essay.
Essay Tip #4: Create an Outline
Making use of an outline can guarantee that your essay flows naturally and presents ideas in a sensible order. Simple outline formats are sufficient to assist you in organizing your thoughts; elaborate ones are not always necessary.
Essay Tip #5: Liven It Up
It is boring and lifeless to read an essay much less scholarship selection committees—who peruse hundreds of submissions! In your writing, express your individuality and let your enthusiasm come through.
Essay Tip #6: Proofread, Edit, Repeat
It can be very beneficial to proofread your essay for an additional five minutes. Since we are all fallible writers, we all make mistakes. After proofreading your writing, have a parent or guidance counsellor review your essay. Having a second pair of eyes proofread your essay can help ensure that it is well-written and uses proper grammar and spelling, which will make it appear polished and neat when you turn it in.
Step 5: Submit Your Materials
The next step in applying for scholarships is to just turn in your materials and documents once you’ve gathered them all. Make sure to check the requirements as some scholarships require submissions via mail, while others can be submitted online. Make sure the person writing your recommendation letter is aware of the deadline if you asked for one. Additionally, give them the email address or a stamped envelope with the right mailing address on it.
Step 6: Check The Status of Your Scholarships, and Be Patient
The majority of scholarships will indicate when you can anticipate hearing back. After submitting your scholarship, you can check its status to make sure all the necessary information is included.
Once your application has been submitted, relax and inhale deeply. As you wait to hear back from the scholarship providers, remain upbeat.
Additionally, we advise you to maintain a well-organized record of all the scholarships you have applied for so you can calculate the total amount you have applied for. You can update this list whenever you receive the results of your scholarship application.
How to Find Scholarships for College Students
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that all students should complete. The federal government determines your eligibility for financial aid and assesses your need for money using this application. Remember that most federal awards are given out based more on need than on merit.
We’ve assembled comprehensive scholarship guides at BestColleges to make it easier for you to look up financial aid possibilities in one location. Lists of scholarships for students with particular majors and demographics are available on our scholarship pages. Scholarships for HBCU students and undocumented students, for example, are available.
Apart from providing guidance on college admissions and various test-prep materials like SAT and ACT books, the College Board also runs a college scholarship search service with more than 2,200 programs. By providing more details about their academic background and/or demographics, students can focus their searches. This makes it possible for students to locate scholarships that match their unique needs and preferences.
Since 1995, Fastweb has served as a free database of college students access to financial aid and scholarships. Students can receive guidance regarding the FAFSA and federal assistance, as well as benefit from personalized scholarship matching. Fastweb also publishes articles about career planning and makes it easier to search for internships.
CareerOneStop, an initiative supported by the US Department of Labor, seeks to provide individuals with the tools, evaluations, and guidance required to locate employment. A database of more than 8,000 scholarships for graduate, undergraduate, professional development, and vocational programs is another feature of the website. Users can search for loans, grants, prizes, fellowships, and scholarships.
Academic Scholarship America works to remove obstacles that prevent students from obtaining the financial assistance required to pay for their postsecondary education. The organization has awarded 2.8 million recipients with scholarships totalling $4.5 billion to date. The results of the scholarship search can be filtered by state for students to peruse.
Peterson provides test preparation and college advice to students who want to pursue higher education. On the Peterson website, prospective college students can look through a directory of more than 4,000 scholarship providers.
The business also provides its scholarship. Known as the “World’s Easiest Scholarship,” applicants for the $2,500 prize need only submit a few simple pieces of information.
Through the management of a database containing millions of grants and scholarships for college, Unigo seeks to link students to financial aid. All you have to do is register and complete a personal profile so that you can look through scholarships that correspond with your academic background and demographic.
Other useful categories on the website include “easy scholarships” and “$10,000 scholarships.”
Chegg is a learning platform that prioritizes the needs of students and aims to increase the return on investment in education. Offering a scholarship database with over 25,000 opportunities is one aspect of that goal. Students in both high school and college can look for scholarships and discover matches according to their academic and personal profiles.
Cappex is a platform that links students with colleges. It assists students in finding colleges, as well as in their search for financial aid and scholarships. You can look for scholarships by demographic on this website. These consist of scholarships for first-generation students, Black students, Hispanic students, women, and LGBTQ+ students.
Since 1998, this website has assisted students in their quest for college scholarships. Students can find scholarships that meet their unique needs from the millions of scholarships in the Scholarships.com database. Additionally, scholarships are broken down by category in this resource, including those for athletes, veterans, and Hispanic students.
In addition to providing education, Niche seeks to assist individuals in discovering their place in society, be it a neighbourhood or a school. The website offers many resources to assist students in finding their niche in higher education. A college scholarship search is one such tool that lets you look for awards based on your major or demographics.
Before you discover a scholarship that suits you, you might look through one hundred. Have patience, persevere, and maintain your current academic standing. You’ll eventually find someone who fits well. And when you finally get some money, you’ll be glad you did all that research.
Frequently Asked Questions
Fulbright Scholarships are the most famous and often easiest-to-acquire scholarships in the United States for international students. These fully-funded scholarships are only offered to Masters and PhD students.