Top 5 Scholarship Tips
Scholarships are tough, period. That’s right, they are competitive and above all require discipline, perseverance and commitment to go pick yourself up by your bootstraps when you want to sleep, watch your favorite TV show or simply give up. However, as with most things in life you will reap the benefits of this hard work if you truly want it! There are a TON of success stories out there of people just like you and they all had to work hard at getting them. A $100 here, $500 there, etc… but they add up and when you have less school loans to pay back, or NONE at all we guarantee it will be worth it. The scholarship process can be rough, but these 5 scholarship tips will help you in moving down the right path while finding your competitive edge!
Scholarships are often very unique, with different requirements and staying on top of each scholarship from the very beginning is extremely important. Developing a system as soon as possible that will allow you to clearly see your scholarships you qualify for, the scholarships requirements (Deadlines, eligibility, etc…) will make the applications much easier. We have developed a Scholarship Tracker that, if used correctly will allow you to filter to scholarships with similar requirements and in turn make the application process more streamlined by applying for the scholarship in groups, as opposed to individually. Applying for scholarships in groups and not individually will allow you to pump out a lot of applications at once, using the same information. Here is an example of a Scholarship Tracker we have created for you.
Find your “WOW Factor”
What makes you different in the highly competitive Scholarship world? Scholarship providers are looking for candidates that have that “WOW Factor”. The “WOW Factor” is something that sets you apart, something that makes you unique! If it is not coming to you easily, start think about a defining a life moment when you discovered your passion (Helping others, rock climbing, world traveler, etc…) or an inspirational experience that helped mold you into the person you are today. While applying for scholarships you need to flaunt that WOW Factor and paint a bright and vivid picture for the scholarship committee. Make the scholarship committee jealous of your passion, no matter what it is….make them want to know even more! Still not sure what it is that makes you unique? Look outward and get suggestions from your friends and/or family members. Many times we are too critical of ourselves, while the loved ones around us can point out those unique WOW Factors. If all else fails, go out and create it! For a little inspiration check out ZAPPOS.com, the company that coined what it means to bring that “WOW Factor” out. If you have never ordered from them, you are missing out on a great customer experience (WOW Service!) that brought them from a small shoe company to a Fortune 100 conglomerate!
Clean-up your online image.
How many times have you searched to learn more about someone on Facebook, Twitter, etc? This is exactly what many scholarship providers do to learn more information about their applicants, you! Taking 30-60 minutes to clean up your site by making sure there isn’t anything out there that will hurt your chances of being awarded a scholarship will go a long way! Limit posts, tweets, etc… that have you ‘tagged’ in them to be approved by you prior to them going live to the world. Another think to do is simply Google your name and see what pops up. If you do not want to clean up your site as we all have our own individuality and expressing that is important, consider creating a professional profile with a different email address to use to fill out your applications. This will be uses solely for those times when you want to make sure scholarship committees, potential employers, etc… are being directed to the squeaky clean social sites about you.
Apply for several scholarships
The hardest step is the first one, but apply for as many scholarships as you can. As stated earlier, several small scholarships will start to add up and can go a long way towards funding your education loan free. Scholarships are a number game and the more eligible scholarships you apply for the better your odds are of securing those scholarships. In addition, this process will help to refine your scholarship skills as practice makes perfect! As you start applying for more scholarships you will also begin to accumulate a multitude of essays that you can either re-use or piece together with minimal work!
Apply only if you meet the eligibility criteria.
All scholarships, big and small have eligibility criteria that you must be met to apply. Some are very broad, but some are very narrow and the worst thing to do is apply for a scholarship in which you do not meet the criteria. This is a waste of time and energy for you and will only lead to more discouragements in the scholarship process. If you still feel that you want to apply for a scholarship that you are unsure about criteria, do not make an assumption and apply. What we can tell you is that selection committees will not make exceptions, period.
Stick with it and never give up! The first scholarship will be the hardest, but as you get more and more under your belt you will have a large amount of resources to pull from and the Scholarship process will only get easier.