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How to Win A Scholarship – A Refresher Course

We’ve been writing and lecturing on how to win scholarships for many years. But sometimes we forget that people who are new to the process need an overview of how everything works. So we are going to take a step back and look at how the scholarship process works from an altitude of 35,000 feet.

STEP 1: Find A Scholarship

Obviously, you need to find a scholarship before you apply for a scholarship. While there are plenty of places to look we recommend starting with:
  • Counselor or college financial aid office
  • School or college organizations
  • Community organizations
  • Your or your parents’ employer or union
  • Your church or religious organization
  • Your local government
  • Local businesses
  • Local newspapers for past winners
  • Scholarship books
  • Internet

STEP 2: Prioritize which Scholarships to Apply

Once you find scholarships you need figure out which ones you are actually going to spend your time applying to. You don’t want to apply to every scholarship that you find since it takes time to complete an application (which often involves writing an essay) and you need to apply to those that you have the best chance of winning.

One of the best ways to organize your scholarships is to rank them based on how well you match the mission of the award. Every scholarship organization has a reason for giving away their money. Once you find this reason seriously ask yourself if you are the student they are looking for. This will give you a list of scholarships to work through with the ones that you have the best chances of winning at the top.

STEP 3: Complete the Application

Each scholarship has its own application and many have essays. Throughout the application, you need to demonstrate how you best fit the purpose of the scholarship. (If you’ve done your job in the previous step this should be easy.) Through your application and essay show the judges exactly why you are the best candidate for their award.

Also, be sure that you are not afraid to brag. This is not the time to be modest. Whether it’s in the essay or the interview be sure you are comfortable talking about your background and achievements to show why you deserve to win.

You should spend as much time on your applications as you do searching for scholarships. Don’t rush an application.

STEP 4: Repeat Steps 1 to 3

Winning a scholarship definitely takes both time and effort. But how else can you get hundreds or thousands of dollars to pay for college for the price of filling out an application or writing an essay?

Our experience has shown that students who do take this process seriously will win more money for the time the spent than they ever could have working at a traditional job.

Now that’s something to celebrate.

Best of luck in your scholarship search.