What is a scholarship?
A scholarship is a financial award given to a student on the basis of academic achievement and promise.
Many scholarships are awarded based on merit; however, some also take into account financial need.
Like grants, scholarships do not have to be repaid.
Where can I look for scholarships?
There are many scholarship resources available; you just need to spend the time to look for them.
A good place to start is your high school or college. The college Financial Aid or Scholarship Office often has a listing of local scholarships that you may be eligible for.
You will often have the best odds of winning a local scholarship because the applicant pool is smaller than state or national scholarships.
Another great resource is your college library or local library, where you can find numerous scholarship books.
Finally, there are many online scholarship databases that will help you search for scholarships you may be eligible for.
What is a scholarship application?
A scholarship application is the form that must be filled out to be eligible for a scholarship.
A scholarship application typically will ask for personal, educational, volunteer, and work history.
In order to be eligible for a scholarship, you must fill out an application completely and truthfully.
What is a scholarship essay?
A scholarship essay, or personal statement, is your way of communicating who you are and why you are deserving of a scholarship.
Completing a scholarship essay is sometimes a requirement when applying for a scholarship.
Oftentimes, the organization administering the scholarship will choose a topic for the essay.
Your ability to clearly and effectively write about the topic will weigh heavily in your ability to win a scholarship.
What is a scholarship deadline?
A scholarship deadline is the due date for a completed scholarship packet.
Depending on the requirements for the scholarship, the scholarship deadline is typically also the due date for any supporting information, including letters of recommendation, essays, and transcripts.
Be sure to always be aware of the scholarship deadline!
What are transcripts?
Transcripts are official academic records from a high school or college.
Included in transcripts are years attended, courses taken, grades, and other student related information.
What is a letter of recommendation?
A letter of recommendation is a letter of support from a person who knows you personally, professionally, or academically.
A letter of recommendation is sometimes required when applying for a scholarship.
The organization administering the scholarship often uses the letter of recommendation to get a complete picture of the applicant.
What are some tips on writing a great scholarship essay?
You can make the scholarship essay writing process a lot easier – and a lot more effective – by first writing a general personal statement.
Write about your educational, volunteer, and work history. Focus on experiences that have shaped who you are. Also be sure to highlight things that make you unique from other applicants.
Once you are happy with your personal statement, have the essay proofed and edited by a friend, family member, or advisor. Incorporate their feedback and suggestions.
By first writing a general personal statement, you won’t have to re-create the wheel every time you are asked to write a specific scholarship essay. You can borrow sections from the general essay, and adjust others as necessary.
This will enable you to build a more detailed and compelling essay for each specific scholarship you apply for.
What are some tips on filling out a great scholarship application?
By the time you apply for a scholarship, there won’t be much you can do to improve your grades or enhance your work or volunteer experiences.
But you will be able to control the physical appearance of your application. Take the time to have it look as strong as possible. Appearances do matter.
If you are applying for a scholarship online, be sure to take advantage of technology! Type your application responses into a word processing software program, and spell check it to eliminate typo’s.
If you are filling out a paper application, you may want to recreate the application using a word processing software program.
If you are unable to do this, typing your responses with a typewriter always looks neater than handwriting your responses. Your high school, college, or public library may have a typewriter that you can use.
What are some tips on getting great letters of recommendation?
Begin by brainstorming who might write a letter of recommendation for you. Consider particular teachers, counselors, youth group advisors, and employers who know you well.
Once you identify potential letter writers, approach a few more recommenders than the minimum required for a scholarship. It’s always best to have back-up letter writers just in case.
Finally, give your letter writers sufficient time to write a great letter of recommendation for you. A general rule of thumb is to give them one month to write your letter.
How can I prioritize my scholarship search?
If you had unlimited time, you could apply for every scholarship that you qualified for.
But since your time is limited, you need to focus on the scholarships you have the best shot at winning.
Local community scholarships or scholarships from organizations that you are affiliated with deserve your initial focus.
From there, if you have time, focus on the remaining scholarships on your list.
Is it worth it to apply for scholarships?
If you are willing to spend the time to apply for scholarships, it should pay off for you.
Say for example you spend five hours preparing a scholarship application, writing an essay, and collecting 2 letters of recommendation.
If you won a $250 scholarship, that would mean you made $50 for every hour you worked on the scholarship application.
That’s a lot better than most part-time jobs!
What are scholarship scams?
Scholarship scams seek to steal your money or your identity.
Here are some indications that you might be targeted for a scholarship scam:
You are informed that you have won a scholarship for which you did not apply.
The scholarship organization does not supply valid contact information.
You are told that you are guaranteed to win a scholarship.
The scholarship award asks for personal identification
information such as a social security number or checking account number to confirm a scholarship.
Should I have to pay to apply for a scholarship?
No, you should never have to pay to apply for a scholarship.
If you find yourself in this situation, you may be the target of a scholarship scam.
Before you pay for a scholarship, contact the Financial Aid Office or go to the Federal Trade Commissions website at www.ftc.gov/scholarshipscams.