Learn How to Start Your Scholarship Search and What to Do to Stand Out
In addition to searching for the school that best aligns with personal needs and goals, many students and families are eager to find higher education options that are a good financial fit. College scholarships can help make universities more affordable while also offering students the opportunity to spotlight unique strengths and passions.
When it comes to applying for college scholarships, it can be difficult to figure out how to get started. Keep reading for some top tips for searching for and securing college scholarships.
Do Your Research
We advise students to conduct thorough and comprehensive research. Instead of settling for the first program you see, carefully examine different scholarship opportunities in order to gauge which ones are the most relevant to you. There are thousands of unique scholarship opportunities, so it is important to sift through all of your options and pinpoint a select handful to apply for.
Personalize Your Process
Students should focus on scholarships that directly relate to their interests, goals, personal achievements, and backgrounds. Because there are so many unique scholarship opportunities out there, it is likely that every applicant will be able to find at least a handful of programs that specifically relate to their profile and background. Students who choose scholarship opportunities that are truly relevant to them will have an easier time completing the application process and will likely stand out as exceptionally qualified applicants.
Mind the Fine Print
The rules and regulations for application processes can differ significantly, depending on which scholarship a student is applying for. In order to be competitive throughout the application process, applicants need to make sure they are following proper protocol. This can include submitting applications by certain deadlines and providing all of the materials outlined in the opportunity. Some scholarships may ask for high school transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation, so make sure you have everything you need in order to stand out.
Get Started Early
While scholarship deadlines can vary significantly, students who start the search process early are often at an advantage. Getting a jumpstart on scholarship applications can also help to ensure that students will have ample time to focus on their college applications and bypass some of the stress that comes with having to complete both at once. Below, we highlight some top scholarship search resources for students who are eager to start working on their applications as soon as possible:
BigFuture Scholarship Search: The College Board’s scholarship search resource includes over 2,200 unique programs and a total of more than 6 billion dollars of aid money. Personalization options help to ensure search results are relevant to specific applicants.
Scholarships.com: With over 3.7 million college scholarships and grants, this resource provides applicants with a high number of opportunities. The website also has a scholarship directory for students who are eager to view as many options as possible.
Fastweb: This scholarship search resource also includes part-time job listings for students who are eager to gain work experience while on campus. Fastweb also creates lists and categories to make it easier for students to stay on top of their to-do lists.
Federal Student Aid: A resource from the US Department of Education, this website answers FAQs and has links to several different search tools.
The college scholarship process takes time and hard work, but it can also be an exciting opportunity to gain recognition for the causes and passions that a student is most interested in. If you are in the midst of the college search process and need guidance, our team of college admissions experts can offer personalized advice.