There are millions of dollars in scholarships from private and civic organizations given to college students each year. Finding these organizations and preparing the application can be a difficult process. The following are a few tips for competing for and winning free money for higher education.
1. Spend ample time searching.
Because there are thousands of scholarships available each year, they can be difficult to find for some prospective college students. From books and pamphlets to dozens of websites, locating the right scholarship can be time-consuming and frustrating. Keep at it, though. Those that are more difficult to find will probably be less competitive, increasing the chances of actually winning the funds. Also, do not overlook and underestimate local options.
2. Understand the criteria and requirements to be competitive.
While searching available scholarships, it is important to review the requirements for application and the criteria for selection. Do not waste time applying for long shots. Understanding this information will allow the applicant the ability to be highly selective. Prospective college students should apply only for scholarships in which they will be at or above the competitive level, not at the bare minimum.
3. Be diligent in editing and meet deadlines.
Presenting an application that is professional in appearance and is received by the deadline is imperative. There are too many other students applying for scholarships to allow these factors to have a negative effect on the outcome. Prepare an extremely neat application that is well written, proofread, and submitted early to have the best chance at meeting or exceeding the selection committee’s expectations.
4. Avoid scholarship scams.
Unfortunately, there are individuals and groups that prey on high school students by running quasi-scam or fake scholarship schemes. One obvious warning flag is any scholarship that requires a fee for application. Other, more disguised, schemes include completely fake websites that are simply in existence to farm personal information for identity crimes and mischief. If in doubt, it is advisable to ask a guidance counselor, or research the entity with the Better Business Bureau or online sites that compile lists of scams.
One last thing: we have a link to the College Board’s Free Scholarship search engine on our website at www.CompleteCollegePlanningSolutions.com