- Persistence: Rejection letters are part of the process for scholarship applicants. It’s discouraging, but if you give up and stop applying for scholarships, you are guaranteed not to get any funds. Persistence can really pay off!
- Start Early: Search for scholarship opportunities throughout middle and high school. Keep a running list of those scholarships for which you’ve applied, those for which you can’t apply until you’re a senior, and for those you’ve received. After you are in college, you can still apply for scholarships! School breaks are a great time to get these out of the way.
- Have a Plan: Want to major in cartography? Or engineering? Or fine arts? The more specific you are in your plan for college, the more specific you can make your scholarship search. Think about where you want to go to college, when you anticipate going, and how much money you will need.
- Know your Weaknesses: Are you a procrastinator? Build in extra time to apply for scholarships. Do you essays sound less than polished? Make sure you ask someone to proofread them for you. Make specific plans to overcome any less-than-stellar habits or qualities.
- Search your Strengths: If you are a good writer but not such a great athlete, you are more likely to win a scholarship essay contest than you are to get an athletics award. Think about your talents and focus your scholarship searches in those areas.
- Use your Resources Wisely: Talk to your financial aid counselors and departmental advisers as well as using internet scholarship searches. Beware of scams: you should never pay for scholarships or scholarship assistance. Look for local resources. Your town might have special scholarship funding just for students in your area! You never know until you look for the opportunities.
- Play the Numbers: Even small scholarships usually receive at least a handful of applicants. If you only apply for one scholarship, your chances are one out of however many applicants there are. However, the more scholarships you apply for, the better your chances are of receiving at least one of them.
Remember, some scholarships require the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion as part of the scholarship application process! Don’t miss out on these because you don’t file a FAFSA.