How to Stand Out When Applying for Scholarships
Scholarships are a win-win: students can help reduce the costs associated with attending college while also adding to their resumes. As an added bonus, the vast array of different scholarship options out there means there is truly an opportunity for every student.
While the application process will vary depending on the scholarship you are pursuing, there are some tried and true tips that can help students stand out from the pack. Keep reading to learn more about what it takes to craft a compelling scholarship application.
Much like the college application process itself, there are a plethora of scholarship opportunities available to every student. Instead of applying to the first few scholarships you see, thoroughly review your options to identify the opportunities that best align with your needs and goals. If you’re looking for a starting point, consider researching opportunities that relate to your interests and passions. There are scholarships for every sport, artistic pursuit, and field of study, so don’t be afraid to get specific and search for options that are truly best-fits for you. Be sure to read all the details to learn who is eligible for the scholarship and what you need to submit in order to be competitive.
Don’t Leave it to the Last Minute
While specific timelines vary, many scholarships are open to high school juniors and seniors. To make the most of your time and avoid working down to the wire, keep scholarships on your radar throughout your high school career and aim to get a jumpstart on applications. The summer before senior year can be an excellent opportunity to make significant progress on your scholarship applications. Whether it’s during a school break or a weekend activity, set aside time to work on applications and make sure you hold yourself accountable to the schedule you create.
The most compelling applications are well-researched and relevant to the scholarship you are applying for. It’s essential to tailor any essays or personal statements to each opportunity and address the questions being asked of you. Avoid cookie-cutter responses and make sure each sentence you write supports what you’re trying to demonstrate. Use research to back up your claims when applicable and make sure your long-term aspirations and ambitions are highlighted throughout your application.
Double Check Your Work
Don’t let a typo or punctuation error hold you back from earning top recognition. To make sure you present yourself in the best light possible, re-read every element of your application before you hit submit. If possible, you may wish to share your application with a parent or counselor to have a second set of eyes. Reading your work out loud can also help make sure yourctone is consistent.
Keep Tabs on Deadlines
Between finishing standardized testing and getting ready to submit college applications, it can be easy to lose sight of a deadline. However, students who wish to be competitive for scholarships must follow their guidelines and submit their entries promptly. To make sure you stay on top of every scholarship you’re interested in, jot down deadlines in your planner or notebook. You can even set calendar reminders to let you know when a deadline is a few weeks away so that you have time to put the finishing touches on every submission.
While applying for college scholarships is a time commitment, it can also be an excellent opportunity for students to earn some recognition for their interests, skills, and passions. For additional help with scholarships and financial aid formation, check out our KnowledgeBase.