Yes, there are thousands of scholarships
out there just waiting for students to find them. Yes, there are
scholarships that never get awarded because no one applies for
them. And yes, many scholarships do not take financial need or
academic success into account. But, no, this does not mean that
all you have to do is fill out an online form and the offers
will come pouring in. We have several suggestions to jump start
your scholarship search.
Most scholarships are restricted to applicants that fit into a
category, or set of categories. Make a list of every category
you fit into like race, ethnicity, employers of self and family,
organizations you and family members belong to, interests, your
major, your career aspirations, religious affiliation and the
Contact the Chamber of Commerce in your home town. Ask them if
they know of any scholarships offered by companies or
organizations in your local area. Get a list of the service
clubs in your town and send a letter to the secretary of each
one telling about yourself, your studies and your career
aspirations. Ask if they offer scholarships to someone of your
description and why you need one.
Fill out the
The Department of Education uses the information provided on
your FAFSA to
determine your eligibility for aid from the Federal Student Aid
(FSA) programs. Many states and schools also use the FAFSA to
award aid from their programs. This is always your first step,
even if you are pessimistic about qualifying for need based
Use your campus
The absolute best resource for finding financial aid can be
found right on your campus in your school's financial aid
center. They have the expertise, experience and the commitment
to help you in all phases of your search. Be proactive. Ask as
many questions as is necessary of your counselor to get yourself
Search at FastWeb.
Internet's leading scholarship search service, helps students
make the decisions that shape their lives: choosing a college,
paying for college and finding jobs during and after college.
And it's all free.
Once you have found a possible
- Send a polite letter or e-mail stating why you feel you
would be a good candidate and requesting the forms and
information on the application process.
- Carefully read the directions and
follow them to the letter. Don't give the selection committee
an excuse to reject you. Read the fine print and be sure to
fulfill every criteria, no matter how silly.
- Know the deadlines and adhere to
them. Get your applications and other relevant information in
early if possible.
- Solicit letters of recommendation
from instructors, employers and personal references. Try to
have them be as specific as possible to your accomplishments,
not just a boiler plate recommendation.
- Proofread each piece of paperwork
you submit for spelling, syntax and grammar. Then have someone
else go over them too.
- Professional looking essays are more likely to be treated
positively than sloppily appearing ones. Use bright clean
paper. Use an easy to read font like Times New Roman, not an
internet font like Arial. Number each page.
- Be prepared to discuss your abilities,
skills and goals in an interview. Go over your strengths
beforehand and use examples to illustrate your case.
- Dress professionally - the image you
present will significantly effect the interviewer's impression
of you. Plan to wear a two piece business suit.
- Make copies of everything. If something gets lost you
don't want to start over.
- Be persistent
- Stay positive.