Searching for and finding scholarships is only the first half of the process. You still need to apply for each scholarship you are trying to win. Applying for scholarships can be time consuming and takes dedication and motivation. But the thousands of dollars you could receive makes the effort worthwhile. Below are some hints to help you apply for and win scholarships.
Be proactive. No one is going to track you down to give you a scholarship; you need to do the legwork yourself. So when you find awards with eligibility criteria that you can meet, contact the provider and request a scholarship application packet. Whether you have to request the application via email, phone or by sending in a self-addressed stamped envelope, do it. There’s just no other way to get the ball rolling than to be proactive and assertive in requesting information for yourself.
Be timely. Almost all scholarship providers set deadlines, and you MUST adhere to them. Make sure you have all materials submitted before the deadline. If the scholarship deadline is approaching and you have not yet even received the application packet that you requested four weeks earlier, follow-up with the provider and request the application packet again. You do not want to miss a deadline, as most scholarship providers do not consider late applicants.
Be organized. Good organizational skills can really pay off – literally! Keep your applications ordered by deadline date and give yourself plenty of time to complete them and send them in well before the due date. Keep letters of recommendation and transcripts on hand so you don’t have to obtain new ones every time they are required for an application. Make copies of your completed applications before sending them in, and file them in folders labeled with the deadline date and the mailing address and phone number of the scholarship provider. Call before the deadline to see if your scholarship application was received. If it got lost in the mail, (the postal service is not perfect!) you still have an extra copy you can send in.
Be persistent. The scholarship search process doesn’t just happen overnight. You must be diligent about looking for new scholarships to apply for. Plan to spend several hours each month reviewing the scholarship programs with deadlines approaching, preparing application packets, and getting the applications in the mail on time. And then the cycle should begin again – finding scholarships, sending away for application information, and applying in an organized, timely manner.
Be positive. Finally, believe in yourself and in your chances of winning a scholarship. Hard work and time spent on the scholarship process will pay off eventually. Keep your chin up and think about how great the reward will be if you can land even one of the scholarships you’re trying for! After all, your education depends on it!