"How To Choose The Best Scholarships"
If only there were a
Scholarship Magic Eight Ball that could divine your scholarship fate. For some
scholarships, it would answer, “Yes,” and for others it would foretell, “Try
again.” A lot of your time and effort would be spared because you’d only need to
apply for the awards you’d win.
While there’s no way to perfectly predict
if you’ll win, there are some guidelines you can use to select scholarships that
fit you best and prioritize which scholarships to apply for. By understanding
what the scholarship committees are looking for and by examining how your
qualifications fit with those scholarships, you can make qualified decisions
about selecting scholarships.
Study Well, Be Diversified and Start Early. Yes,
scholarships are primarily needs based. And to help decide after this, a portion
of the decision is connected to GPA and class standing. Now imagine all the truly
"needs based" applications received. Next imagine that these applications
are all received from students who really want to go to college, and have excelled in
their studies. What will set you apart? A diversified background in
extracurricular activities. Not just school clubs; add some church and community activities, also.
Remember, these activities must show a pattern from day one; not the week before you apply.
Read The Minds Of The Scholarship
Committee. By this we mean, try to understand what the scholarship
committee wants out of its winners. Think from the perspective of the
scholarship committee about why it is awarding the scholarship and what kind of
student it is seeking. The easiest way to get this information is to read the
scholarship criteria and materials from the sponsoring organization. This will
help you see what the organization is trying to accomplish by providing the
Know If The Shoe Fits. In other words, only apply to
scholarships that pertain to you. If you dreamed of becoming a ballerina when you were
a child but have never sported a tutu, then don’t apply for a scholarship for
the arts. Apply for those scholarships for which your background is the best
Size Up The Competition. Knowing how tough your competition
is will also help you choose which scholarships to apply to first. Your
competition can be as broad as every student in America or as limited as the
members of your school’s Delta Phi Epsilon. As you can guess, the larger your
competition, the more outstanding you need to be to win. Look at your
accomplishments and think about how they compare to others at your school, in
your city, and in your state. Select scholarships accordingly.
Tock. A last way to eliminate is practicality, how much time you have to
spend on the applications. Figure out how much time you can spend, then start
applying, starting with those that fit you best.
By having a strategic
approach to selecting scholarships, you will spend your time on the awards that
offer the best potential for paying off for you.
A really good hint for the
serious student? Start researching scholarships in your freshman year and prepare
your studies and activities for what is necessary to win. This will give you four years
of preparation instead of six months of trying to fit "stuff" in.
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