Today, I’m going to be talking about scholarships. I have a lot of experience looking for scholarships, applying to scholarships and I got some scholarships. So I wanted to share some tips with you guys on how to look for the scholarships and how to make yourself stand out to the scholarship foundations.
And yeah, there’s a lot of different kinds of scholarships. There’s Merit Scholarships, local scholarships, outside scholarships like big ones and even small ones. There are some that are from $1,000 to as much as $20,000.
I just think scholarships are great way to help pay for your college tuition as we all know that College is very expensive and it can be very hard to find money to pay for college.
So first, I want to talk about that your grades matter for most scholarships. There are some scholarships that are an exception to this rule but having good grades is very important for applying to scholarships because there are a lot of scholarships to ask for GPA, your class rigor and your test scores.
This doesn’t just matter for getting into colleges, this also matters for applying to scholarships and getting money to help fund your college tuition. So, for all of the freshmen, sophomores and juniors reading this, I suggest to not only focus on your grades for college, but also keep in mind that if you are going to apply for scholarships, your grades will be an important factor.
The second thing and what I think is the most important thing when it comes to applying for scholarships is that you have to stand out to scholarship organizations, you have to know what makes you unique in order to showcase that to the scholarship organization. Unlike college applications, there are not that many slots for you to talk about all the different things that you do or you’re involved in.
For example, the Common application has 10 slots to talk about your activities, but in a lot of cases scholarships don’t even have any slots for you to put down your extracurriculars. So it all comes down to making your essay talk about the thing that you are most passionate about and using that to stand out for the scholarship organizations.
Make them look at your essay twice, make them see something they think is so unique that they’ve never seen before and that will definitely make you stand out as an applicant for the scholarship.
In my experience, since I am very involved in a lot of different things, I found that I had to focus on one thing for a specific scholarship application and focus on another thing for another application. There are a lot of specific scholarships. So for example, if you are interested in going into the stem field, there are a lot of scholarships that are specifically for stem majors and then there are just regular scholarships for anyone, for any major.
So kind of keep that in mind when you are writing your essays and feeling out your activities for that scholarship because if you’re applying for a Humanities scholarship, it might make the most sense to talk about your humanities related activities, things that you’ve done to further your humanities experience and at the same time if you’re applying for a stem scholarship right about how you were involved in stem and how you made an impact in the stem field.
One thing that I did that really helped me organize my scholarships and organize them by deadline was that I went on my computer and I made a bookmark section for scholarships. I organized them based on when the deadline was and basically what it just links the website of the scholarship and so when you press on it it go at AC directly to the website and then that way, you know, when that scholarship is due.
Besides the bookmark section that I made, I also as I said before, I had a Google doc where it was basically a table of all the scholarships that I was applying to and it was in chronological order where I have the soonest on top and all the way to the bottom. That really just help me organize the essays in the same table as the due dates and the website that I had to submit it to.
The next thing is to build your activities resume. In my case, I applied to a lot of colleges that had an option to submit an activities resume. So I sat down with my guidance counselor, and I asked her for tips on how to make my resume look better, how to specify specifically for college applications rather than job applications because those two resumes are different. Resumes for jobs are more specified to describing your work experience and college resumes are talking about your activities.
Make your activities resume short and concise talking about the most significant thing that you’ve made an impact in rather than talking about everything that you’ve done.
Most of the time resume should be one or two pages and I had a lot of trouble trying to make my resume smaller, but in the end, I just had to choose specific activities that I wanted to highlight more and I took some activities off of the resume to keep it from being so long.
Another tip that I have is to recycle the essays that you used in your college applications. So in my case since I applied to twenty six colleges, I had a lot of essays that I had written for those applications. So when it came to starting to write essays for college applications, I kind of noticed a pattern that there were a lot of essay questions for these scholarships that overlapped with some essay questions.
I applied to colleges. So what I was able to do with those is use those essays that I had already written and submit them for those scholarships. So make sure to dig deep down for your college application supplements and use them in order to help you get scholarship money.
Looking and Applying for Scholarships
Now I’m going to talk about how you look for scholarships. There are so many scholarships out there guys. At the beginning of senior year is when I started looking for scholarships, even though it was definitely a hectic time to be applying to scholarships at the same time as applying to college.
Another way you can get scholarships to pay for your college tuition is by applying to Merit Scholarships that are offered by specific universities. So the way that you can find out if a specific university offers Merit Scholarships is to do a quick Google search and look up queries like “top universities that offer Merit Scholarships”. So for example University of Southern California offers great Merit Scholarships, but I know Stanford doesn’t offer any Merit Scholarships, Harvard doesn’t offer any Merit Scholarships, but there are a lot that are out there. So if paying for college is something that’s very important to you and you want to go to college for no cost on a merit scholarship, definitely look Into those colleges.
Applying for Merit Scholarships
My advice for applying to these kinds of Merit Scholarships is that a lot of times there are separate applications for these scholarships. So in order to apply to these scholarships, you have to a lot of times send an essays before the due date of the actual application for the college.
One college that I forgot to mention above was Washington University in st. Louis. They have a lot of great merit Scholarships and the applications for those scholarships are due, way before your application for the actual University.
So just keep that in mind make a spreadsheet of all the scholarships that you’re applying to, when the due date is, what you have to do for it, like If you have to write an essay and that helps you keep very organized when you’re applying for these scholarships.
When you’re looking for scholarships, you have to keep in mind that there are a lot of different kinds of scholarships. There are very large scholarships that are nationwide, a lot of people know about them and they’re also very small scholarships that may be local and may be offered by your school, they may be offered by local companies and in my case, those are the ones that you really have to do your research about.
Don’t stop looking for new scholarships because there are so many out there.
For the scholarships that I’ve applied to, I would say that 50 of the scholarships out of like the 65 that I’ve applied to so far are small local scholarships. Most of them are $1,000, $1,500 and when applying to them you have to keep in mind that there might not be a lot of people applying to them, so your chances of getting those scholarships are much higher. So just keep looking for small scholarships to apply to.
And on the other hand, for the big scholarships, I did apply to the Coca-Cola Scholars, I applied to the Burger King Scholars, there are a lot more but I didn’t get any of the big scholarships because they are so competitive.
I still applied and gave it my best shot but since they’re so competitive, it’s really hard to get them and I’m not saying don’t apply to them because you should still apply to them, a lot of people do get them. But I’m saying don’t be shy to apply to the small scholarships because a lot of times those are the ones that are going to end up giving you a lot of money to help pay for college tuition.
Another thing that’s really important is to make sure to ask your guidance counselor for a list of local scholarships. There are a lot of scholarships that are specifically for students living in your county and your neighborhood. Like in my experience there were some scholarships that my guidance counselor told me about but I couldn’t find anywhere online. So make sure to use your resources wisely.
Also, make sure to take into account all those different factors about if they’re big, how competitive they are and try to apply to as many as you can. Honestly, it doesn’t hurt you to apply to a scholarship because you never know what the Scholarship Foundation is going to see in you.
It’s the same thing for college applications so just just try your best and submit the application because it won’t hurt and if you get it, great but if you don’t get it, it’s okay because there’s a lot more scholarships to apply to.
Obviously senior year is a very stressful year and you have a lot of things going on like keeping your grades up, you have to apply to college and on top of that you have to apply to scholarships and I know that it might seem like it’s way too much and you might want to stop applying to scholarships, but I can tell you that applying to scholarships is so important.
You should really prioritize that if you are looking for a way to pay for your college tuition because in the end if you apply the more scholarships you apply to, you have more of a chance of getting these scholarships and helping you pay for your college tuition.
I hope you guys have the best of luck and applying to scholarships and don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a scholarship because there are plenty for you to apply to.