Six Tips for Finding Scholarships You’ll WIN
Winning scholarships for college is an impressive feat, but finding them can be half the battle. The Enrichery has tackled the subject of scholarship-hunting before, and today we’re going a bit more in-depth. How do you figure out which scholarships to apply for? What exactly should you be looking for? Most importantly, how can you pinpoint which scholarships you’re most likely to win?
In general, local, smaller scholarships are less competitive. In other words, look close to home for these opportunities! Check the bulletin board outside your guidance counselor’s office, and make an appointment to speak to your counselor directly. They will know about a variety of scholarships in your town or city, and can point you in the right direction.
After that? Start scouring the local paper - and tell your family members to keep an eye out as well!. Look on websites for local TV and radio stations. If you work, ask your employer for leads. Often, business owners will offer scholarships. If you attend church or are involved in other community organizations, check the newsletter or speak to leaders about potential scholarships. Invest in a few t-shirts that say, “Actively seeking college scholarships,” and wear them around your community 24/7. We’re just kidding on that last one… maybe.
This is key. When you’re looking for scholarships, try to find ones that fit you perfectly. You might be surprised at just how specific some can get! A female from Houston, going to a high school in SBISD, planning on studying wildlife conservation should look for a very different scholarship opportunity than a mathematics student planning on studying engineering.
Don’t write off scholarships with smaller rewards.
A $10,000 scholarship obviously sounds more appealing than a $200 scholarship, but don’t write off the scholarships with smaller rewards. These are often less competitive, which means you have a higher chance of winning them. Plus, little prizes add up. A $200 scholarship can pay for your books one semester, so don’t knock it!
Embrace the challenge of more demanding scholarships.
Some scholarships require a lot from applicants, whether it’s a big project or a long essay. And guess what? A lot of your fellow students will not take the time to tackle these! They’ll opt for the scholarships that don’t ask for quite as much. That means less competition for you, and a greater chance for actually winning. Face the challenge head on, and it can pay off (literally).
Spread the word that you’re looking.
Don’t be shy. Get to know your guidance counselor really well! Ask your parents to ask their friends (or ask them yourselves, if possible). Tell your relatives, family friends, co-workers, and anyone who will listen that you’re on the hunt for local scholarships and see if they’ve heard of anything. It might sound awkward or obnoxious, but networking and forging connections can lead to great opportunities.
Talk to people who graduated before you.
Luckily, you’re not the first person to ever go through this stressful process of applying to scholarships. Reach out to people who have already graduated and gone to college - especially anyone similar to yourself. Not only can they offer advice about the entire process, they may clue you in on various scholarships you’re eligible for. The best teachers are people who have done it themselves, and recently!
As you start to figure out a game plan for your scholarships, make sure you pay attention to their deadlines. Some have early deadlines in the fall and winter, but the majority are due in the spring. Create a calendar for your scholarship applications, and list them in order of priority and deadlines!
Remember, most scholarship money actually comes from your future universities. Once you’re accepted, you’ll automatically be considered for some. Some schools, like many on the ApplyTexas application, actually have a separate application for scholarship purposes. Keep in mind that not all scholarships are based on financial need, so don’t let that stop you from applying!
For more information on the scholarship processes, check out these great resources: