Creating a Successful Approach

For the most part, applicants with stellar grades and achievements are awarded scholarships. Just as teachers typically can instantly recognize poor essays, scholarship committees quickly recognize inadequate scholarship applications. Students not meeting scholarship requirements are typically not awarded scholarships, but this is not always the case when there are few applicants or when committees consider other factors. Many students never apply for scholarships because they don't think they have a chance of earning one, but there are all kinds of scholarships available, and there is no harm in applying.

Students who've received scholarships typically have:

  • Satisfied all the scholarship requirements
  • Been selective about the types of scholarships applied for and planned carefully when applying. It can be that easy.

There is nothing you can do to guarantee scholarship awards, but there are strategies that can be followed that simplify the process and enhance your chances of receiving scholarship awards. Many students have been successful following these strategies:

Make a list.

Collect information about every scholarship you qualify for. It's inadvisable to apply for scholarships with minimum GPA, test score, or other requirements when your numbers fall outside specified requirements. There are numerous scholarships you qualify for, so focus on these applications. Review the scholarship list you've complied and eliminate unattainable ones. Assess each individual opportunity.

This could be time consuming but worth it. Once your list has been narrowed, review each application for the following details:

  • Deadline - What timeframe do you have to prepare and fill out applications?
  • Difficulty of preparation - After reviewing deadlines, can you adequately prepare for the scholarship?
  • Award amount - If you receive the award, how much of your tuition and other expenses will be covered?

It might not be worth applying for scholarships offering small rewards. However, since college is very expensive, any scholarship award can lessen the financial burden of obtaining a college education. In many cases, scholarships offering small awards are not as competitive as full-tuition scholarships.

Prioritize your opportunities.

After determining the best scholarship opportunities for you, develop a scholarship rating system. In other words, list the pros and cons of each potential scholarship. For example, if you meet all the requirements for a full-tuition scholarship that is months away from the application deadline, there would be few cons on your list. However, a scholarship only providing a minimal award that is only a few weeks away from the application deadline would probably have very few pros on your list. After rating each scholarship, you will have a better idea of what scholarships are worth your time and effort.

Begin applying.

Now that you've determined the scholarships worth pursuing, even if your list is a lot smaller from when you began your search, begin filling out application forms and complete any requirements for the scholarships that most interest you. Be confident and seek assistance if needed.

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