We all want money for college. College is expensive and that's just a well known fact. When I started applying to college, it seemed that every week I was sending out new scholarship
applications. However, my efforts did pay off as I was able to secure a full tuition scholarship at my first choice college! In today's post, I'll share tips that I used in order to apply for as many scholarships as I could, and tips that I followed to help make my application process efficient!
Start Applying Early
I started researching and applying to scholarships while I was in middle school, and quite frankly, this wasn't early enough. The earlier you can start applying, the better! Scholarship opportunities start existing for students even in elementary school, so as soon as you are done reading this post, go start applying! When you start applying early, you open yourself up to more opportunities and you are able to potentially earn more money! Plus, when you start applying and researching scholarships early on, you'll start to find ones you may not be eligable for just yet due to age restrictions. Don't toss these out! Keep a list or bookmark list of these scholarships so you can return to them once you are eligible.
Create A Scholarship Log
Once you start applying, keep a list of the names of the scholarships you applied to, along with screenshots or pictures of your submission page. I didn't know this when I started my scholarship journey, but scholarships exist just for showing your time and effort being put into applying for other scholarships! Often, these types of scholarships ask for proof of scholarship applications, and creating a log that has all of the information about scholarships you applied to is a great way to keep this information organized.
Start Finding Letters of Recommendation Writers
Especially in high school early on, you want to start identifying teachers that can attest to your involvement and character inside of school, as many college scholarship applications require letters of recommendations. This is why it is super critical to stay close to your teachers and also behave and perform well in their classes! The actions you start to put forth in high school do matter, so make sure you are building a positive reputation. Additionally, teachers usually get bombarded near winter break with students needing letters, so if you know you are going to need one, don't be afraid to ask early on in the school year. If anything, most teachers will thank you for being proactive.
As well as teachers, you want to find community members that can attest to your community service and outside of school behavior. I asked people from my church and my job to be these letter of recommendation writers for me. Some applications (not all) require outside recommendation letters from people who aren't family or your teachers, so be sure to build strong relationships with these people as well!
Apply to Outside Scholarships
Often, people make the mistake of only applying to scholarships that their college or university offers to incoming freshman. These are great scholarships (all of my additional scholarship money was from my college!) but don't forget that thousands of scholarships outside of your college of attendance exist. Applying to these outside scholarships allows for you to apply to much more money (and potentially win more money) as well.
Stay in Touch with College Recruiters
A huge reason as to why I applied and found out about the full tuition scholarship ISU offered was through a campus recruiter. I made sure to stay in contact with my recruiter after our college fair, and he made a great effort to match my academic performance with scholarship opportunities on campus. Also, some recruiters may get a say-so in awarding scholarships based off what they see in students who connect with them. That being said, be sure to get the email and phone number of your recruiter, as they are there to help guide you through the entire college admissions process, including applying for scholarships. You never know, just like my recruiter, they could show you some outstanding scholarship opportunities (such as full ride scholarships)!
Don't Be Afraid to Apply for Smaller Scholarships
Often, students won't apply for small reward scholarships, and immediately turn towards the higher paying one and this is a bad approach to have! Since people often turn away from these smaller scholarships, not as many people apply for them, which means you have a higher chance of winning! So, although a $500 scholarship prize may seem small, when you apply for multiple of these scholarships, they definitely start to add up!
Hopefully these scholarship tips will help you make your scholarship journey much more efficient and successful. Share some tips with me that you used in order to apply for as many scholarships as you could!