Are you worried about finding and landing a scholarship? There’s a common misconception: many people think finding scholarships is difficult. With the digital age, finding scholarships has never been easier! And despite popular belief, there are scholarships for trade schools, too. The challenge is in landing a scholarship.
With tuition costs skyrocketing, the competition for scholarships is as intense as ever. More businesses and private individuals have an interest in setting up their own scholarship funds. The opportunities are out there. You simply need to take steps to increase your chances of being selected. This article will give you simple tips to increase your likelihood of landing the perfect scholarship.
FILL OUT THE FAFSA FORM
Most scholarships will require you to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA form. This form is secure financial aid from the government. The FAFSA is used to determine how much of your tuition you won’t need to pay back. This gives you a baseline for what you’ll need in scholarships, loans, or other funding sources for your college journey.
It’s more than just a requirement. It’s an opportunity to land valuable funds from a pool of over $150 billion! These funds are available for federally backed student loans, grants, work-study funds, and more.
RAISE YOUR GPA
This one may sound obvious, but virtually all scholarships have minimum grade point average thresholds. Boost your GPA, and you’ll stand out from others in the pack. If you are struggling with certain subjects, consider getting extra help.
You can find help with any subject. Need ACT math tutoring? Online help is just a Google search away. Want to raise your skill level in writing? Help is available. The best part? Many companies offer online 24/7 solutions, so you can get help with any subject whenever you need it. Even if you’re a night owl, companies are waiting to help you, day or night.
BRUSH UP ON YOUR WRITING SKILLS
While there are plenty of easy scholarships to apply for, solid writing skills will enable you to broaden your search. Many scholarships have a written essay as part of the requirements for applying. If you can make your case with a well-thought-out and organized essay, you can apply for scholarships that place more weight and emphasis on the essay.
Conversely, if writing is not your strong suit (and you don’t think it will be), concentrate your efforts on no-essay scholarships. There are plenty of scholarships out there, so stick with the ones that play to your strengths.
FIND SCHOLARSHIPS THAT FIT YOU
There are so many scholarship opportunities available that you can’t possibly hit them all. Instead, look at your situation; do you fit into scholarships for minorities? What about physical challenges? Or unusual hobbies or interests? Is your family economically challenged?
There are scholarships out there geared toward females looking for STEM careers and scholarships for high school students. There are scholarships for individuals with specific physical or emotional challenges and mental health scholarships. There is even a scholarship for people who study the Klingon language from Star Trek!
To find out everything you might be qualified for, make an appointment with your guidance counselor. They may be able to pinpoint scholarship opportunities of which you haven’t thought.
COMPLETE THE SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS
On the surface, this may sound like painfully obvious advice. However, students often leave parts of the application blank if they don’t think they qualify. This is a mistake! Fill out your applications completely. Many questions are designed to trigger eligibility for certain benefits based on economic status, race, and other criteria.
BE MINDFUL OF YOUR LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
One part of the application process to consider is your letters of recommendation. Too often, students ask a teacher for a letter without considering how the letter will be written. Teachers have a lot on their plates. When some teachers agree to write a letter for a student, the letter they write may be very basic.
A letter of recommendation stating you took a class and received high grades isn’t enough. You want letters of recommendation that rave about your drive, high grades, and excitement. A good letter of recommendation reflects emotions and gets the reader excited. One idea you can try is to write the letter yourself.
Start by asking your ideal teacher or other people of authority if they are willing to recommend you for a scholarship. Then write your letter yourself. Present this draft to the teacher or other adult who has agreed to write it. Ask for their approval and signature for the letter.
One final point to remember is ethics. Always allow the person writing your letter to see what you’ve written and make any changes they request.
Using this idea, not only will you get a better letter in many cases, but you’ll also save time for the person recommending you. And you get to practice your writing skills!
APPLY TO AS MANY SCHOLARSHIPS AS POSSIBLE
The challenge you may have is not finding scholarships. We’re in the digital age, so finding anything is easy. Once you have narrowed down your search to scholarships that suit you the best, it’s a numbers game.
Don’t apply to the ‘perfect scholarship’ you’ve found and hope for the best. Apply for as many as possible that fit your criteria. If you’re not 100% committed to your career choice, look at job opportunities and target your education (and thus your scholarship search) to the most in-demand jobs.
Opportunities are out there for scholarships. As this article has outlined, it’s important to focus your efforts on the possibilities that suit you the best. Remember that it’s a numbers game, so keep applying to as many as possible.
And remember what this process is like for you. Perhaps you’ve achieved success; you’ll want to help others looking for scholarships. You just might want to set up a scholarship of your own or a memorial fund for a loved one to help future students!