It's no secret that winning a college scholarship requires hard work. Very few occasions offer someone a chance to win money without having notable achievement or talent. Yet, preparation and knowledge of the process can greatly increase the chances of earning financial assistance to pay for college. Generally, it comes down to academics, extracurricular activities and communication skills to apply for and win scholarships.

How to Win College Scholarships

Apply for scholarships at schools of interest. This requires fees, applications, academic information, recommendations and standardized testing scores. Colleges and universities accept applications online and by mail, while transcripts and test scores require formal requests. Inquire about all scholarships offered at each school and determine which are attainable per the criteria for each. Such scholarships are school-specific, but generally include awards for academics and leadership.

Use extracurricular activities as an advantage. Talents are a commodity to colleges and universities. Athletes, arts performers, cheerleaders, band members, and newspaper editors can turn skill into scholarship, and possibly student work potential. Yet, these awards require a great deal of time and may deter from studying. Typically, these types of scholarships demand that students plan well and utilize good time management. For example; playing a varsity sport at the collegiate level can force the student to miss several classes and stay on-campus during summers. However, they provide four-year, renewable scholarship dollars.

Display accurate, confident and effective communication skills when dealing with schools and scholarship organizations. Many admissions applications require an essay or interview, while auditions and try-outs are required to earn scholarships for an extracurricular activity. Strong communications also pays off in the multitude of national, state and local scholarships that normally require either an interview, an essay or both.


Planning early can aid the process significantly. Think outside the box with programs like beauty pageants, talent competitions or county fair showings that also award scholarship dollars. Write letters of thanks for those who provide letters of reference.


Adhering to deadlines is important. Missing a date for many scholarships can cause disqualification from consideration. Proofread all documents and essays before submitting them.

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About the Author

Andy Davis has been writing professionally since 1990, with work appearing on and D2 Sports Network. He holds a Bachelor of Education in music from the University of North Alabama, a Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of Montevallo and a Master of Public Administration from Troy University.