Scholarship Basics

  • Each scholarship will have its own set of eligibility, criteria and application requirements
  • Each will have it’s own deadline
  • Applicants may be required to write an essay, pass a written exam, or complete a project demonstrating their potential
  • Programs may specify how scholarship funds must be used, set time restrictions for disbursing the funds, or set a ceiling on qualifying family income
  • Scholarship funds may be paid directly to the college
  • Failure to meet certain requirements could jeopardize a students ability to keep the scholarship
  • Finding scholarships is easy! Look for them on scholarship search engines, in office cabinets, parents employers, social media, Google, school counseling offices or on the school website and the Book of Scholarships.

Scholarships are Awarded for a variety of reasons

It doesn’t matter if your GPA is less than perfect, you feel your income is too high for your student to qualify, you don’t have any special skills or talents, or you are simply just to busy to think about it, you will be happy to know there are scholarships out there just right for you. Dollar value doesn’t matter, just try to find as many as possible. Check out the list below and see for yourself. (this is a small sampling of the many scholarships actually available)

  • Academic achievement
  • Financial need
  • Community involvement
  • Organization membership
  • Sports
  • Talent or skill
  • Leadership/school activities
  • Ethnicity
  • Religious affiliation
  • Parent affiliation with work, club or activity
  • Tall/short
  • left-handed
  • students with disabilities
  • Volunteers
  • Slam Poets
  • Filmmakers
  • Chess players
  • Vegetarians
  • Bloggers
  • Dart players…

Keys to Scholarship Application Success

  • Organization
  • Time management
  • Honesty
  • Following instructions
  • Strong recommendation letters
  • Neatness
  • Meeting deadlines

Helpful Tips

  • Students and parents should have a checklist, make a plan, do their research, determine the combination of funding sources, and get the help they need
  • Spreadsheets and online calendars can bring order to the application process
  • A scholarship resume can ensure all achievements are identified
  • Allow enough time for a recommendation to be written and thank the reviewer
  • Applications should be sent by certified mail to ensure receipt

Scholarship Myths

  • It’s too late (or too early) to apply
  • I need to have special circumstances or luck
  • I need to have a ton of hours to dedicated to the application process

Scholarship Essay Tips

  • Create a lasting impression with the personal essay
  • The essay should convey background, experiences, ambitions, and personality
  • Start early and allow plenty of writing time. I can’t stress this enough as your essay will go through several revisions
  • Organize thoughts in an outline first
  • Create a strong introduction, supporting arguments, and an appropriate conclusion
  • Ask family and friends for feedback
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread!

Building Blocks of a Good Essay

  1. It’s honest
  2. it’s original
  3. It’s inspirational and positive
  4. It contains qualifications

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