The new year brings new opportunities and is an excellent time to get organized and on track to land scholarships. If you are a college student or a high school student who is graduating this year, now is the time to get everything together so you can compete for scholarships to cover the costs of your college education. There are many scholarship opportunities that are open now, or will be opening soon, that can make your degree affordable. If you are looking for funding for your college degree, here are some powerful tips for getting organized this scholarship season:
Make a Spreadsheet
Start by creating a spreadsheet where you can record the details of all scholarships for which you may be eligible. Include the name of the sponsoring organization, the scholarship website, application details and information, amount of the awards, and due dates. Organize your scholarship information with the closest due dates first so you won’t accidentally miss an important deadline.
Create a file in your browser’s favorites or use a bookmarking tool to store your scholarship sites. Bookmark the websites of each scholarship as well as any additional information so you can find them quickly and easily if any questions arise. It is also a good idea to bookmark sites of colleges you are considering to keep track of scholarships they offer.
Make a Master Calendar
Hang a large calendar over your desk or work area and fill in all deadlines for scholarships you are interested in. If you have a smartphone, you can also set up alerts to make sure you don’t miss a due date. To be safe, enter the date the application is due as well as a reminder for a couple of weeks in advance so you will have time to gather all required materials. The sooner you can send in your application and materials, the better off you will be.
Create a Filing System
Create a system of files in which to keep your materials. Use a different file for each scholarship and include a copy of commonly requested materials in each. This may include letters of recommendation, transcripts, tax returns, and a copy of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. As you complete other requirements, such as essays and personal statements, you can quickly file them with the appropriate materials. This will allow you to assemble application packets easily when the due date is near.
Add to Your Scholarships
Continue looking for promising scholarship opportunities. Every time you find one that you may qualify for, create a new folder and add the information to your calendar, phone, and spreadsheet. The more scholarships you apply for, the greater your chances of receiving the needed funding.
Scholarship hunting is serious business. Getting organized is one of the most important steps to ensure that you have the best chances of getting the funding you need. These organizational steps will allow you to keep track of multiple requirements and due dates and to take much of the frustration out of the scholarship application process.