How to Get Scholarships: 6 Tips
Want to learn how to get scholarships? Step right up. I have 6 tips for you to move your search into high gear and get the money for college you need. And at the end, I can boil it down to one thing to do. Read on.
1. Find Scholarships
I was going to write my own how to get scholarships guidebook, like my Grants ebook . Then I realized, that could take months. Also, grant programs usually come from a government agency. It’s not the same with college scholarships. Plenty of organizations set up a scholarships and give them out, all over the US. If you want to learn how to get scholarships, first start looking for programs.
I found a link to site with free, no registration required college scholarship searches for tons of great awards. Click that link to get more information on what the search brings back.
Look at my scholarship sources page for a dozen easy and unusual places to look for money for college, for tuition and more. And for a few more ideas on where to find awards, look at my free scholarship information page . And for 3 easy strategies, see my undergraduate scholarship page. Also, the Robert Byrd Scholarship offers many awards each year. It's worth looking into for your financial aid.
2. Develop Your Application Skills
In other words, write great essays. Take a look at my college scholarship essay page for 6 simple steps to writing a better essay. You will have to write a couple of essays to get a scholarship, and you can reuse your essays. But here lies the problem. If you reuse a lousy essay, you hurt your chances.
Spend time writing a good one. A good one must at least be grammatically correct, and make sense. You’ll write these several times, or maybe you can provide a typed one, meaning you can print it out. Make sure whatever you use matches the topic on the application. When you finish the essay, have others, especially teachers or writers, proofread it and give you suggestions.
After several, you will improve and you will have a better group of essays to choose from and use. You can think of how to get a scholarship like anything else: perfect practice makes perfect. I can’t remember who said that, but it’s true. Harvey Mackay comes to mind.
3. Choose and Prepare Your Scholarship References
Many applications will have you provide references. No problem. You can use your favorite teacher in high school or your undergrad work. You can use a boss from a previous job, your pastor or church leader, or a volunteer work supervisor. Even a long time family friend is sometimes appropriate.
These references should have a copy of your resume and at least a basic understanding of who you are, what you want to do and what you are good at. If you follow my suggestions, you will see below that how to get scholarships includes you applying for many. That means you’ll want to keep things general for your references, not complex. You don’t really need to get a separate set of references for each application – soon you’d need dozens.
4. Prepare Yourself: Do 3 Things
I once listened to a speech by John Gatto, a famous teacher turned writer. He explained that he revolutionized his high school teaching when he interviewed educators at the best universities and prep schools to find out what they taught and what they looked for in their student applications. He said he found that they wanted to see three things, and these three will help you to learn how to get scholarships:
- A team activity, to show that you can work with a team. Football, debate, etc.
- An individual sport or activity, like knitting, hog raising, chess, track and so on. This shows you can think on your feet.
- One step beyond, an activity not at school that shows initiative and some level of daring. Participating in speech competitions because you want to, mountain climbing, perhaps beauty or talent contests, and the like.
One important note: Don’t let this keep you from applying. If you can broaden your perspectives, do it when you can. If you don’t have the above three, don’t worry, just move on to number 5 and get going. Plenty of people have learned how to get scholarships and gone without these three, and won lots of money.
5. Get Your Pen Moving: Apply for Scholarships
Next, and this is critical, apply. Apply early, apply to any you remotely qualify for. Remember, the people you apply to can only award you a scholarship if you apply. If you don’t, they can’t. And in fact, many scholarships, up to $100,000,000 worth per year – yes, 9 zeros, one hundred million dollars worth of financial aid, goes unawarded. And that happens mainly for lack of applicants.
Also, watch out for paid scholarship applications. You don’t need to apply for scholarships that cost money, and some are scams. Scholarships are donated money, so why ask you to pay to get it?
For more information, I have a page about free scholarship applications and when to make an exception. Also, I include a brief list of scholarship scams to avoid.
If you have a unique talent or hobby, take a look at my
weird scholarships page
for ideas on how to find out of the ordinary awards.
6. Repeat: Find and Apply to More Scholarships
APPLY TO AS MANY AS POSSIBLE. Sorry to shout, but this is absolutely paramount to how to get scholarships. Get a guide, do a search, use my free grant ebook (I have several scholarships in it as well) and start applying. And next year, do it again. Keep applying.
In college, I applied for and received a 2 year scholarship with the Army ROTC. I later decided I didn’t want to be in the Army, and didn’t accept the money. The point, I applied and won it. Later, I got a scholarship for much of my graduate degree.
To learn more about how to get scholarships, read the
7 types of college scholarship money
and how to use them. To learn how to make your interview better, read my page on the
For more on how to get scholarships through contests, go to my scholarship contests page .
Pass It On: Help Others Learn How to Get Scholarships
Do you know a college student or someone applying to college who could use this information to learn to get scholarships for their education? Send them the link to this page or post it to a blog and help them to learn and find the financial aid they need to go to college, too.
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