If you are finding it hard to come up with the money required to pay for college, then you should consider the different financial aid options available for students. As a student looking to enter college three options available to you are: loans, grants and scholarships. Out of these three, scholarships are the most commonly used method of funding college education. Some students may be surprised by this, because a misconception about scholarships is that only bright students can avail them. In reality, there are many scholarships that average students can apply for.
In order to find relevant scholarships you can use different sources.
Financial Aid Offices: Your high school financial aid office is a place where you can go to find scholarships. The staff at the office will help you out in your search; however, they have to deal with a lot of students, so the time that you can spend with them searching for scholarships will be limited.
Newspapers: Companies and organizations display their scholarships offers in the newspapers. So, reading them may also help you find a scholarship that you may be able to win.
Internet: Searching online is an excellent option, as there are many opportunities you can find on different scholarship websites. If you know about a company, institution or organization that offers scholarships, you can search for it to get information. Another option you have is to search using a scholarship search engine; these websites show a list of scholarships to the visitors that sign up with them. The sign up process involves entering information about yourself that the search engine can match with scholarships present in its database.
Family and Social Network: There may be a relative of yours who is a member of a group that awards scholarships to undergraduates. You can also ask your friends to look out for scholarships that you can apply for. Scholarship programs that some of your friends are applying for may also be helpful for you.
The scholarship application that you submit must be written correctly and all information should be accurate. You will also need to write an essay, so you should start practicing by creating rough drafts. You should also find out all the information about the scholarships you apply for. Scholarship program applications are the documents that represent you, so you should carefully provide all information and proofread before submitting.
You should carefully read every scholarship application because of the difference in requirements. For instance, you may have to write a 1000 word essay to apply for one program while another may want you to provide information in 500 words. You also need to keep in mind the deadlines for each scholarship program and apply accordingly.
You should keep in mind the statement “proper preparation prevents poor performance” while applying for scholarships. You should ideally apply for as many programs as you can to improve your chances, and for doing this you should start searching for scholarships without any delays. A good idea may be to start the search process six months in advance. You should also start practicing your personal statement at the same time as doing the scholarship search. The scholarship awarding authorities have to read thousands of applications; you should make sure that your scholarship application stands out.
Working Within the Given Space
You should work within the space that is provided to you and not use any continuation sheets on the applications. There is a reason for providing application criteria, and you should always follow it. If you’re asked to write a 500 word essay, don’t go beyond the word-limit. Provide information that is important for the application you’re submitting. List only what is important for that particular application. After providing the necessary information, if there is some empty space left-over, then you can add additional facts.
Give Them what They Want
Always provide the awarding authorities of a scholarship program what they want from you. For this, you should carefully read the guidelines of every scholarship you apply for. If they want a person who possesses leadership skills, then give them a relevant example. If they want an excellent writer, then demonstrate your skills in your application. Provide accurate information but show them your creativity.
Statement of Intent
You should provide a good explanation of why you are interested in the subject. A lot of students get this wrong—they are not able to provide a logical statement of intent. Relay the reason of choosing the major in your scholarship application.
There may be some grammatical errors in your applications and some wrong choices of words; therefore, before submitting your application, it’s important that you go over it. If possible, ask someone else to proofread it as well. Your scholarship application should present you case clearly, and correctly.
Getting a scholarship to fund your studies involves the hectic process of searching for a scholarship and applying for it. The competition for scholarship programs is generally tough as large numbers of applications are made for each scholarship program. If you know some basic rules about searching and applying for a scholarship it will make the process less hectic and will put you on advantage.
Searching for a Scholarship
Almost all students starting search for a scholarship try to search a scholarship over traditional search engines. It can put you on great disadvantage as you will have to go through every scholarship program on the internet and then decide if you meet the criteria, and if the program suits your needs. The process requires a lot of time and effort. You should use scholarship search sites instead they will save a lot of time and effort by automatically searching a scholarship program that suits your needs and that you qualify for.
Scholarship programs are not only offered by educational or welfare institutions. There are also many government organizations and companies that are running scholarship programs. You should search for these programs as well.
Applying for a Scholarship
Once you have found a scholarship program that suit your needs and which you qualify for its time to make the application. Each of your applications should be made carefully, make sure you provide all information correctly required in an application form and provide all documentary evidence required by the scholarship awarding body.
You should take every opportunity to include a personal statement in your application. The personal statement should explain your past academic achievements, your work experience if any and the reason you are interested in the specified course. Personal statements can convey a strong personal message about yourself that you certificates can not.
Applying for as many programs as you can is a good idea. Multiple applications will increase the chance of getting a scholarship but make sure you do not make applications recklessly.
You should get recommendation letters from you teachers well in advance of beginning search for a scholarship. Include your recommendation letters in every application you make as they are a testimonial to your past academic performance.
Lastly check and recheck every application for mistakes you might have made. If you apply for scholarships in an organized way it will increase the probability of getting a scholarship and will also make the process more convenient.