Getting a scholarship for college costs is an achievement in and of itself. However, it’s even more impressive when you don’t have to pay the money back! Scholarships are awarded by groups or individuals with an interest in helping students afford their educations. And sometimes, these people will award a scholarship to a student who can convince them that they also need assistance with affording tuition prices. As a result, many scholarships require applicants to provide compelling reasons for why they deserve one.
This blog post outlines 11 ways to land a scholarship that doesn’t ask for repayment:
1. Be Persistent
If you apply early enough in the year, not all scholarships have deadlines yet. In fact, many awards are only available during certain months. So if one scholarship doesn’t work out, try applying to another one that will accept submissions for longer.
2. Aim High
The most common advice given to people who want to win a scholarship is to apply for as many of them as possible. Of course, this isn’t practical for all students. Still, if you can swing it financially, submitting more than one application has the advantage of increasing your odds of winning at least one award. After all, competitions are typically judged by committees or boards with multiple members, all of whom have different opinions about who should receive funding. So the more applications you submit, the greater your chances that at least one committee member can convince everyone else that his or her favorite candidate deserves a prize.
3. Get Creative
A lot of scholarships are sponsored by businesses. And many of these companies have specific requirements about what they’re looking for in a winning candidate. For instance, some awards are only open to students aged 50 or older, while others are reserved for particular ethnic groups or fields of study. So it’s up to you to find ways to pass off your application as being worthy of consideration under these rules.
4. Build Your Resume
Scholarships often go to students who can demonstrate that they’ve overcome significant obstacles in their educations so far. To prove this, applicants typically need to submit letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselors who can testify on their behalf. However, colleges usually require all freshmen applying for any form of financial aid to submit high school transcripts with their application materials. So why not bundle all three documents together and apply for a scholarship as a package deal before you even start your senior year? In fact, many companies don’t expect college applicants to have graduated yet from high school if they haven’t been in the country long enough to graduate at home.
5. Take Advantage of Government Programs
In addition to offering scholarships, the federal government also provides low-interest loans that students must repay after graduating but typically can pay back quickly by finding a job. If you want more information about funding programs available through the US Department of Education, visit this website.
6. Get Recommendations from Local Experts
Another common requirement for winning a scholarship is letters of recommendation from local professionals in your chosen field. For instance, awards are typically given out to students who are succeeding in high school subjects related to the career paths they wish to pursue later on. You can increase your odds of winning if you approach people already working in these fields and ask them for an endorsement.
7. Aim Low
A lot of scholarship competitions have very specific rules about who can apply. For example, some awards are only given out by civic groups located in one town or county. Others are granted only to residents of certain states. So make sure that you read all eligibility requirements very carefully before filling out an application form! Otherwise, you might become ineligible without even realizing it until it’s too late.
8. Take Action
The best way to improve your chances of winning a scholarship is to take decisive action while you still have time to correct mistakes in your applications. So find out when the deadlines are for upcoming competitions, and start building up your materials at least six months before they’re due! This will give you plenty of time to fix any problems with spelling, formatting, or grammar if something goes wrong during the submission process.
9. Watch Your Language
Grants are typically aimed at students who need money to finance their educations, so awards committees are always looking for candidates who really do have financial difficulties. To show that you’re worthy of support, avoid using clichés in your essays, such as saying that you “love to learn,” or that you’re “passionate about your career path.” These types of statements also tend to sound generic and predictable and could indicate that you don’t actually need the money.
10. Stay Focused
Many scholarship committees spend only a few minutes reading over each application before deciding on who will get an award. So make sure your essay really does stand out! Try organizing it in chronological order if possible, and make good use of vivid verbs to describe any challenges you’ve overcome in school so far (e.g., I persevered through…). Also, list your most important activities at the top of your essay, and save the weaker details for later on. This strategy can help grab readers’ attention before they even finish reading your first paragraph, so they are more likely to remember you when it comes time to vote.
11. Boost Your Chances
If you feel overwhelmed by all of the scholarship deadlines coming up this year, consider hiring a professional application writer to do everything for you. These professionals have already won many awards themselves, and know exactly what judges are looking for in successful applications. So give yourself an edge over other applicants by meeting with one today!