Introduction: Scholarship Strategy
Whether or not you are aware of it, almost everything you do or have done requires a strategy, often known as a plan of action.
What’s this? Finding and applying for scholarships follows the same procedures. You unquestionably need a scholarship strategy if you’re seeking for scholarships.
I’ll be the first to acknowledge that filling out a scholarship application can be challenging.
You may be concerned about how you will find the time and degree of organization required to stay on top of your scholarship quest while juggling schooling, employment, extracurriculars, and other facets of your life.
Fortunately for you, I have provided my own scholarship strategy—which, dare I say, is AMAZING—for you to use below.
Thus, don’t think twice, don’t bookmark this, and don’t tell yourself you’ll return to it later. Have a look at it, utilize it to develop YOUR OWN application strategy, and then submit it.
Step 1: Get going early.
Essentially, my first bit of advise is to not put things off.
The greatest thing you can do if you’re a current high school junior or senior and you know you want to apply for scholarships to assist pay for your education is to start the process as soon as possible.
It’s best to make your plan of action early, even if you aren’t yet qualified for some of the scholarships (for example, because you aren’t in the right year of school or for another reason).
By doing so, you will be aware of what to anticipate and ready to submit a smooth scholarship application when the time comes.
Several students ask me if they may continue to apply for scholarships after they start college. Definitely YES, is the reply! There are scholarships available for you, no matter what year you are in college.
You should start looking for and applying for scholarships right away if you’re a student in college or graduate school. You’ll soon be getting ready for graduation, and once you cross the stage, there won’t be many scholarships available for you to apply for.
Step 2: Explain why you are applying.
As you start looking, you’ll discover that there are a huge variety of scholarships available, all of which offer distinct financial aid packages to students.
Consequently, it’s crucial to create a mental (or physical) list of the following items at this stage of creating your scholarship strategy:
What is the annual tuition for the universities to which I am applying (or the university to which I intend to go)?
How am I going to pay for my college education? (Mainly through grants, loans, and scholarships, or through other methods?)
What do I hope to achieve when I apply for scholarships? (Alternatively, am I aiming to meet a set target to cover a particular expense, such as textbooks or other fees, or am I hoping to make enough money to pay for my full tuition?)
You’ll probably have a better idea of how much time and effort you’ll need to put into your scholarship search and application process once you’ve asked yourself these questions and determined your answers. Your plan for obtaining scholarships is coming together.
Step 3: Find the resources for your scholarships.
Identification of sources is a crucial component of any scholarship plan. The search engine platform offered by Access Scholarships is helpful in this situation.
Spend some time completing the form on our platform, which will provide a comprehensive list of scholarships that we believe will be a fantastic match for you. The information you provide should include your potential major, grades, interests, and more.
You can also opt to get notifications when new scholarships that could interest you are posted by creating an account on Access Scholarships.
In addition to our platform, make sure to look into any offline scholarships that might be available to students in your neighborhood, on your university, or through any extracurricular activities you might be involved in.
Finally, think about researching federal student grant programs for which you might qualify. Most government grants do not require repayment, making them comparable to scholarships in that regard.
Step 4: Use both big and little, unconventional thinking.
Whilst it is really simple to identify a few prestigious scholarships being offered by significant businesses and organizations, and set your sights on applying to those, it is crucial to keep in mind that you are most definitely not the only student who has their eyes on the big prizes!
Consequently, just as you might want to diversify your investing portfolio to reduce risk, a sensible scholarship approach includes applying to a variety of scholarships.
The objective is to apply for both large, potentially high-value scholarships with equal odds of winning and smaller, potentially less well-known prizes (perhaps lower value but also a potentially higher chance of winning).
Together with the big and little, I also want to talk about how critical it is to think creatively about the kinds of scholarships you are looking for.
Be aware that there are numerous scholarships available that are not restricted to a particular college major or field of study. Several other criteria, such as your interests, hobbies, and self-identification (race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.), can also be used to find scholarships.
Hence, I urge you to take some time to just sit down and compile a list before you even take the step to start searching for scholarships you might be a good fit for.
Think about who you are, what you do, what causes you support, and everything else by going inside of yourself.
Once you have your list in hand, you may expand the chances available to you to apply for and perhaps profit from by conducting searches for “STEM Scholarships,” “Scholarships for Activism,” and “Scholarships for Minority Students,” in addition to “STEM Scholarships.”
Step 5: Compile all required resources.
As soon as you’ve determined your scholarship objectives and available funding, you should start compiling the paperwork and data that are typically necessary and will probably be needed for the majority of the scholarships you locate and wish to apply for.
Depending on the type of scholarship, some information you might be required to provide when applying includes:
- School records
- Test results
- Recommendation letters
- An FAFSA application
The ability to stay organized and save time is a crucial component of any scholarship strategy. Applying for scholarships will go much more quickly if you keep this data organized in a computer folder.
Also, after you begin applying for scholarships, you could discover that some of them ask you to submit an essay with a certain response, and that these essay questions vary amongst scholarships.
As a result, you may create a separate, useful section in your folder to hold the writings you submit in support of each scholarship application.
It will be good to have a point of reference when you’re going to answer the questions if there is any overlap in the questions being asked, rather than having to fully start over for each application.
Step 6: Use Excel as your new organizing best buddy.
Continuing from Step 5, it’s important to remain organized throughout this procedure.
Excel is a terrific tool for keeping track of the scholarships you intend to apply for, those you have already applied for, and those from which you have already heard back.
You can make sure you never miss a great chance by using a spreadsheet to keep track of the precise dates and application requirements for each scholarship.
Here is a link to my pre-formatted scholarship tracker if you’re not sure where to begin with structuring your own Excel file.
Step 7: Submit an application for a no-essay scholarship each month or quarter.
You’ll come across scholarships that are regarded as “simple” when you first start your search.
This is due to the fact that, other from submitting your personal information, they demand very little work. They are still a crucial component of your scholarship plan, even if you should undoubtedly focus more on applying for scholarships with additional requirements.
It’s always a good idea to submit applications for short, no-essay scholarships like our Too Cool to Pay for School Scholarship (along with the other scholarships in this post) when they are open for submission (often monthly or quarterly).
In addition to increasing your chances of winning, doing this will ensure that you are keeping up with your search on a monthly basis.
In conclusion, even though I am aware that applying for scholarships might be stressful, it doesn’t have to be.
We’ve covered a lot of territory in this piece, including how to stay organized, where to go for information, and how to complete tasks.
I can assure you that by adhering to the procedures in the scholarship approach I have described above, you will be as ready as you possibly can be to be successful in your pursuit of applying for scholarships.