If you’re ready to start applying for scholarships, but aren’t exactly sure how to get started, the following five tips will put you on the right track:
Don’t limit yourself
While a student hinging his entire college experience on a single scholarship usually makes for a compelling movie plot, it’s not the best route for most actual high school students to follow. Although it’ll be great if you can land a single scholarship that covers most or all of your college expenses, don’t overlook just how quickly multiple smaller scholarships can begin adding up.
Will it take time to apply for more scholarships? Of course!
Because the competition for these smaller awards is generally less intense, you’ll find that you can get a very good return on the time that you invest. And if you follow the rest of the tips in this post, you’ll be able to maximize the efficiency of every single hour that you spend searching and applying for scholarships.
Double check everything
From deadlines to word counts, most scholarship applications have multiple detailed requirements. Since messing up a single detail can ruin your entire chances for a scholarship, be sure to double check every you do before submitting it.
Keep a calendar and a journal
Having a dedicated scholarship calendar will ensure you don’t miss deadlines and will give yourself enough time to complete essays. And keeping a journal of your progress will give you a way to see just how much you’re accomplishing during the time you dedicate to this pursuit.
Use your first application to create a template and portfolio
Once you find the first scholarship that you’re going to apply for, use that opportunity to create a type of blueprint that you can use for all the others as well. In addition to the core information that you put on the application, add items like letters and essay notes to your portfolio. As you continue applying for more, whenever you need to find new information for a specific application, add it to your template or portfolio, so it will be easy to access if you need it for another one.
Searching for scholarships can feel like an overwhelming experience. Not only do you have to find the right ones, but it can be intimidating to share that much information about yourself with a committee of people that you’ve never met. As a result of the stress that many students feel this process creates, they procrastinate and continue to put off getting started.
Whether you’re a junior or a senior, time is going to go by faster than you expect. Even though you probably think you have forever, the clock is definitely ticking. The good news is starting your search doesn’t have to be hard. Instead, you just need to get the ball rolling. Spending as little as thirty minutes today on searching or applying can create the momentum you need to slowly but steadily make a significant amount of progress.
Jim Flowers works for American Educational Guidance Center. His true passion in helping prospective college students along on their path to a higher education. In his spare time Jim can be found hang gliding, skydiving, and surfing on the sunny shores of southern California.