There are many ways to finance your education, but the best of them all is undoubtedly a scholarship – it allows you to earn an education without worrying about money and student loans and repayment once you’ve graduated.
However, there’s a significant distance between wanting a scholarship and finding one – it’s all a matter of timing, effort and awareness. To secure a scholarship, you must know how to identify the ones that are right for you and which you qualify for, and you must be prepared to apply for these scholarships in the right way.
In general, when you’re hoping to find scholarships for college, here’s what you need to do:
1. Start the process even before you finish high school, preferably from the end of your junior year or the beginning of your senior year.
2. Be aware of your qualifications, your strengths and weaknesses, and your accomplishments, academic and otherwise.
3. Search for scholarships through various sources – the broader and wider your search, the more likely your chances of success.
4. Make a list of those that you think you could qualify for.
5. Create a portfolio of all your achievements and accomplishments which count towards the scholarships that are on your list.
6. Gather all the necessary information and documentation relevant to your financial status and that of your parents or wards.
7. Request the necessary information and application forms.
8. Contact the sponsors of the scholarship if you’re not sure about your eligibility for the scholarship.
Ensure that you have the right letters of recommendation from the people who matter.
9. Prepare your essay with care – put in extra effort because it could make the difference between acceptance and failure. Remember to tweak your essay and personalize it according to the scholarship you’re applying for instead of sending out the same one for all of them.
10. Don’t copy essays from your friends, even though they may be applying for different scholarships.
11. Follow directions when filling out your application.
12. Ensure that you fill out applications in neat and legible handwriting if they cannot be printed or typed out.
13. If your essay should be handwritten, get someone to check it for spelling and grammatical errors.
14. Double check your application to see if you’ve included all the necessary attachments and filled in all the right columns with the right information.
15. Keep track of application deadlines and follow-up appointments and send in your applications well before the due date.
16. If you’re submitting your application online, convert all your documents to the PDF format.
17. Send your application through services that allow tracking and where you’re sure to receive an acknowledgement.
18. Prepare for the personal interview that is part of every scholarship screening process.
19. If you’re rejected, continue to try at other sources.
Securing a scholarship is 10 percent luck and 90 percent effort, so put in your maximum effort and keep your fingers crossed so you get lucky.
This guest post is contributed by Debbie Owen, she writes on the topic of online doctorate degree programs. She welcomes your comments at her email id: email@example.com.