Getting money for a college education can be tough; however, obtaining a scholarship is one of the best ways to pay for your education because you do not have to pay the money back. Though not all scholarships will pay for the entire cost of your education, the more scholarships you get the less you will have to pay out of your own pocket. Applying for a scholarship can be easy or difficult depending on what type of scholarship you are applying for. Each scholarship has its own requirements, but there is a basic process that most follow.
Ask yourself what type of scholarship you will be looking for. Compile a list of all of your extracurricular activities and think about what major and career you’re going to pursue. This will help you narrow down your search to the types of scholarships for which you will be eligible.
Search for scholarships that you’d like to apply for. You can look in many different places such as the office of your high school guidance counselor, the admissions office or financial aid office of your school. Ask your teachers and professors for information or look in the offices of academic departments, businesses, membership organizations, employers or the state department and conduct online searches.
Online searches can provide an easy way to search for a variety of scholarships, and even help you to narrow down specific types of scholarships that you are looking for. Some good examples are student.gov, Fastweb, Sallie Mae and CollegeBoard. Not only do websites like these help you search, but they also provide answers to any questions you may have about the scholarship process. Some websites may require that you sign up for a free account. Beware of scholarship scams, and make sure the website you’re visiting is credible before giving out any information.
Create a list of all of the scholarships that you have chosen; write down their due dates or deadlines.
Obtain an application for each scholarship that you're applying to, and read its guidelines or requirements very carefully. Make sure that you meet all of the basic conditions required to apply to each one.
Read the application instructions for each scholarship and fill out your applications in exactly the way indicated. Your handwriting must be clear and legible; do not leave anything blank. Proofread your application for any errors, especially spelling and grammatical mistakes. Gather all of your scholarship materials: transcripts, standardized test scores, a list of extracurricular activities, your parent’s financial information, letters of recommendation and whatever else may be required to apply. Keep these items in a separate file for each scholarship you apply for.
Fulfill any extra requirements needed to complete your application. Some applications require an essay or a personal statement explaining why you feel you deserve the scholarship. Often these essays have a word limit; do not go over the limit and stay within the parameters of the essay instructions. Other requirements may include completing an interview or an audition.
Check your application again and make sure you’ve included all of the information that it asks for. Double check all of your application materials for any inaccuracies or missing information. Make copies of everything you send for safekeeping.
Send your applications in early or by the deadline date. If any application is received late you may disqualify yourself for that scholarship.
If you have any questions or need further information regarding the scholarship application, contact the organization you’re applying to. They should be able to help you.
Vanessa Knight has been writing since 2007. Her articles for various websites cover topics in literature, writing and technology. Knight holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in literature.