Applying for a scholarship can be a daunting experience leaving applicants feeling discouraged. Every year, millions of students send out scholarship applications but only a select few receive positive feedback.
There’s a reason why some scholarship applications are successful, and others aren’t. Getting a scholarship requires a game plan. The people who understand how to make their essays stand out have a better chance of getting a scholarship. However, the application process goes beyond writing a good essay.
Here are some great tips to help you get a scholarship.
Tap into your network
Your network creates your net worth so it’s important to keep your family members, friends, former classmates, lecturers and work colleagues close. When applying for a scholarship, they can help you spread the word which increases your chances of getting one locally. Additionally, some people in your network may have their own scholarship fund and may be willing to award you one.
Use a scholarship-matching tool
You should make scholarship matching tools your best friend. They not only help you get available scholarships faster but also they match you to the best options based on your qualifications and needs. Therefore, you don’t have to waste time applying for scholarships that you don’t qualify for rather focus on the ones that are a good match for you.
Start as early as possible
Many of us are guilty of doing things at the last minute. However, applying for a scholarship is one of those things that you can’t wait to do when the deadline approaches. There are lots of materials needed so chances are you might not meet the deadline if you start late. Additionally, the best way to apply for as many scholarships as possible is to start early.
Apply for many scholarships
Don’t just focus on one or two scholarships. Apply for as many as you can to increase your chances of getting a positive response. It may seem and feel chaotic but there’s a method to the madness. First, you need to make a list of all the scholarships you want to apply to, then prioritize them based on factors like deadlines, amount offered and compatibility. It’s also helpful to have a template essay that you can reuse.
Make your essay stand out
This is the most important part of a scholarship application as it shows the scholarship committee who you are. Avoid replicating your CV even though you should focus on your work and education experience. Instead, bring out your personality by telling personal stories. You can work with a professional writer if you’re not confident in your writing skills.
Follow directions to a tee
Since they receive a huge number of applications, scholarship committees look at the tiniest details to ensure that they have the best picks. Make sure that you fill in every detail required correctly. Go through your application several times to make sure everything is in order. The last thing you want is to be disqualified because you misspelt a name or put the wrong date.
Do the optional work
Speaking of following directions, don’t skip the optional requirements. They may be optional but they may help sway the decision in your favour. You should consider them mandatory. Optional requirements not only provide more information about you but also show your initiative and drive. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to provide additional information.
Perfect your recommendation letters
Recommendations play a crucial role in the success of your scholarship application so don’t take them for granted. For starters, you need to ask the right people for a recommendation letter. Your employers, teachers and mentors are some of the best people to give you a recommendation. Next, you need to provide all the relevant information that you want them to include such as your strengths and plans for the future. To make things easier, you can provide a template for them to use.
Clean up your social media accounts
Many scholarship applications will ask you to provide your social media accounts. Like potential employers, some scholarship committees use social media accounts to gauge if you’re the right fit for their school. A simple post or repost can cost you a scholarship if it doesn’t align with the school’s values. Make sure that your social media accounts don’t give them doubts.
Polish your interview skills
Most competitive scholarships require an in-person or video interview. You need to be prepared for this so that you’re more confident on the day of the interview. Practice answering common interview questions about your background, achievements and interests. You can either practice alone or ask someone to help you practice by asking you the interview questions.