For many students, getting a scholarship is their only hope of going to college. For others, scholarships are their dream for graduating without a mountain of student loans. If you are in college, or plan to attend soon, it is important to apply for as many scholarships as possible in order to have the best chances of getting that all important funding. Or even better chances of getting the help you need, follow these powerful strategies for finding and winning college scholarships:
- Look at college scholarships first – Too many students and their families believe that private sources are the way to go when looking for college funding. In fact, colleges offer the biggest scholarships, with the amount of college merit scholarships increasing by 50% in the past decade. As such, you should start your scholarship search by checking out all of your potential colleges for scholarship opportunities and their requirements.
- Search for local scholarships – If you do choose to seek out private scholarships, go local. Almost all private scholarships are lower than those offered by colleges and average around $2,500. Add to that the fact that national scholarships have an extremely high level of competition and you have a highly stressful situation. Look to local scholarships that will have less competition and will be easier to win. If you are in high school, your guidance counselor should be able to get you some leads. You can also check with your public library.
- Go your own way – When you are competing in any scholarship program, especially national, that requires an essay, think outside the box to grab attention. The odds are that the first several ideas that come to mind when you see the essay topic are the ones everyone will be using. Dig deep within yourself and try to write your essay from an angle that will make you stand out and that will show the scholarship committee who you are as an individual. This will give you a much greater chance of winning the money you really need.
- Find talent scholarships – While many colleges put applicants in the competition for in-house scholarships automatically, they usually offer other talent scholarships that require a separate application. If you have a special talent or ability in music, art, environmentalism, volunteering, leadership, science, writing, or another area, check to see if scholarships are available in your area of expertise and make sure to apply as soon as possible. Information on these talent scholarships should be available through your school’s admission office.
The amount of scholarship money you will win depends upon a variety of factors, one of which is your approach to applying. Although there is no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you get the scholarships you need, these powerful tips can help you increase your chances of finding and winning the scholarship money that will make your college dreams come true.