Applying for scholarships

One of the ways I was able to fund college was through scholarships! I won hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of scholarships. Here are some tips for scholarships in general:

(1) Recognize that applying is key

There are lots of scholarships out there, but you are never going to get them if you never apply for them. You’d be surprised how many qualified applicants don’t apply for the scholarships – either because they don’t know about them or they don’t want to write an application. The more scholarships you apply for, the greater the chance you’ll have of getting more money. The people who have won hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships have applied to many many many scholarships.

(2) Applying for more scholarships gets easier

You’re probably wondering: if each application takes 1 hour and I apply for 100 scholarships then I’ll be spending 100 hours applying for scholarships, which I don’t have time for! That isn’t true however. One thing I noticed was that the more scholarships I applied for, the shorter each application took to write. One reason is because as you become more familiar with the application process, you naturally become quicker and better at it. Most noticeably though is that some of the essay questions for scholarships become similar and you can re-use the essays (with adjustments). Moreover, you already have recommendation letters ready. Therefore, it becomes easier to apply for more scholarships after some certain point.

(3) Check Eligibility

Don’t apply for scholarships you are ineligible for. It will be a waste of your time. Make sure to check that you are eligible for the scholarship – do you have the right citizenship, the right field of study? Make sure to always read the information they give.

(4) Tell your story

One of the most important parts of your application is the story you tell. Writing specific stories draws the reader in and paints a great picture of you. Tell them how your story led you to where you are. Why are you applying for this scholarship? How will this scholarship help you in your future goals?

(5) What are they looking for?

What is the purpose of the scholarship? It is important to identify why the scholarship exists and what they want in the winners of the scholarships. For example, if the scholarship is from a company, sometimes they are also looking for people to work at the company so showing them you could be a potential employee at the company could help. If the scholarship is a memorial scholarship, sometimes they are looking for people who embody the values of the person they are remembering, so you could show them that you also embody such values (if you do). Some scholarships focus on service, whereas others focus on achievements – identify the purpose of the scholarship you are applying for and frame your responses according to that purpose.

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