choosing a college

"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 award.

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 fit.

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.

Tick 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.

Thank you for visiting,

Al Brouillard

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