There is a hefty amount of competition for nearly every scholarship that is available. As such, you have to take proactive steps to make sure that your application stands out from the crowd and that it presents you as the best candidate for the money. To increase your chances of landing that coveted scholarship, take these steps to stack the deck in your favor:
- Join extracurricular activities – Even if you have a perfect GPA, that doesn’t mean you will automatically get a scholarship. In fact, many applicants will have the same or higher GPA than yours. For this reason, scholarship committees often look past grades and ACT scores to other characteristics of well-rounded students. To have the best chances of being chosen, it is useful to have a rich record of leadership, community service, volunteer experience, and extracurricular activities.
- Meet the goals of the sponsor – If you want to win a scholarship, research the sponsor. Make sure you meet both the stated and implied goals of the sponsor. The more of these goals you meet, the greater your chance of being chosen to receive the money.
- Meet the deadline – Every year, thousands of students miss out on scholarship funds simply because they missed the deadline. If you are applying for numerous scholarships, as you should be, keep a master calendar with all deadlines and other important dates. Try to make sure your materials are received by the early deadline, because you can’t control the postal service.
- Proofread materials – Check and double check for errors in information as well as spelling and grammar mistakes. If possible, get a second set of eyes to go over everything one last time before sending it. Make sure you have followed all formatting and submission guidelines because applications will be disregarded if they do not follow the rules.
- Write a resume of accomplishments – Before you start applying for scholarships, take the time to write a complete resume that presents your work experience, important accomplishments, and other relevant information about yourself.
- Use your experience in your essays – Instead of writing about vague concepts, such as leadership skills, detail your experiences as a leader and what they have taught you as a person.
- Check eligibility requirements – Almost all scholarships have a detailed list of requirements. They may require that students have financial need, are enrolled full-time, have a minimum GPA, and more. Making sure you meet all the requirements will save you from wasting time writing applications that won’t help you.
Taking these simple steps can save you a great number of headaches and can help you to increase your chances of landing the scholarship money you really need.