A college education is undeniably important for our future. It increases our job opportunities and earning potential, as well as enabling us to broaden our horizons and delve deeply into a subject we’re interested in. However, what’s also undeniable is that a college education is expensive! Many people worry about being unable to afford college, or struggling to repay their student loans after graduating. One attractive solution to this problem is to get a scholarship to help cover the cost—but of course, these can be competitive and difficult to win. To help you out, here’s some advice on how to maximize your chances of success.
It’s never too early to start looking and applying for scholarships. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, some scholarships have deadlines that are much earlier than others, so the sooner you start the more options you will have open to you—which means more chances of winning funding. Secondly, regardless of when the deadlines are, if you start your applications early you give yourself more time to get everything that you need together. This could include transcripts and references in addition to essays—all of which take time to prepare. It also gives you more time to search for awards. Finally, applying early saves you a lot of stress, meaning you can focus more on your schoolwork and enjoying your senior year!
Do your research
This is key. There are a huge variety of different scholarships available, with different requirements and processes. If you don’t research them properly, you could end up wasting your time by applying for awards that you’re not eligible for. Alternatively, you might miss out some important details that have to be included or fill in the application incorrectly, meaning that your application will be invalid. Doing research is also the best way to find slightly more obscure scholarships, which are likely to have fewer people applying for them and hence give you a better chance of being awarded them. If this step sounds intimidating, you can always enlist the help of a professional company such as asmscholarships.com to help you out.
Take your time on your applications
Scholarship committees will be able to spot if you’ve just reused the same personal statement as you’ve sent to other places, or if you’ve submitted a hurried application—and they won’t be impressed. In addition, if you rush you’re more likely to miss parts of an application out or not follow the submission guidelines accurately. Even one little mistake could result in your whole application being dismissed instantly, so it’s worth taking the extra time to ensure that you’ve done everything correctly and to the best of your abilities. Get a tutor or guidance counselor to check over your applications if possible, or even just a friend to proofread it for spelling and grammar errors. It might seem tedious at the time, but you’ll be grateful you did it when the congratulations letters start rolling in and you’re off to college on a scholarship!