1. Create an accomplishments resume.
This summarizes the student’s awards, interests, activities and accomplishments. It can help the student write a better application and teachers write better letters of recommendation.
2. Don’t miss deadlines.
Half the scholarships have deadlines in the fall and half have deadlines in the spring, so start searching for scholarships ASAP. There are also many scholarships available to students in elementary and secondary school, not just high school seniors, and some scholarships that require the applicant to already be enrolled in college.
3. Complete the scholarship matching profile thoroughly.
Many of the questions trigger the inclusion of specific scholarships.
4. Apply to as many scholarships as possible.
Winning a scholarship depends as much on luck as on skill. Increase your chances of winning by applying for as many as possible. (But don’t apply if you aren’t eligible.) Smaller scholarships and essay contests are easier to win because they are less popular. Reuse essays to save time, customizing them for each new application. Answer the essay question out loud and transcribe a recording of the answer to avoid writer’s block. Proofread the essay carefully before submitting the application.
5. Look for scholarship listing books.
They can be found in the jobs and careers section of the library or the campus Career Center. When using scholarship listing books, check the copyright date. If it is more than a year or two old, it is going to have too much old information.
6. Find local scholarships on bulletin boards.
Look near the high school guidance counselor’s office, outside the college financial aid office and campus academic departments and in the local public library.
7. Tap into family connections.
Students should also check with their parents’ employers, clubs, unions and fraternal organizations.
8. Read the paper.
Check out the coupon section of the newspaper for local and national corporate-sponsored scholarships.
9. Maintain a professional online presence.
Some scholarship providers now require finalists to friend them on Facebook. Also, use a professional email address to make a good first impression.
10. Dress to win.
If selected for an in-person or video interview, dress as if you would be a proud recipient of the award.