10 Ways Counselors Can Help Students Win Scholarships

The following are 10 ways to improve student success and include strategies to help students find and win scholarships for college.

  1. Help your students prepare for the scholarship search early, ideally before or at the beginning of senior year.
    • Create a mini-library of scholarship books they can be used to not only learn about scholarships, but also about college, graduate school, standardized tests, and even having a winning attitude.
    • Give them access to practice standardized tests.
    • Sponsor small writing contests based on some of the most popular scholarship essay questions.
  2. Develop a searchable web based resource of local and national scholarships including links to PDF applications.
  3. Motivate students by sharing scholarship success stories of others.
    • Bring in past students who have been successful at winning scholarships.
    • Put pictures and profiles of successful students, particularly from your area in a newsletter or a web site or on a bulletin board.
    • Discuss what they did and their experiences in a small group setting if possible.
    • Talk to your students about winning college and scholarship strategies.
    • Celebrate scholarship success with them and broadcast good news!
  4. Encourage students to apply for both large and small scholarships, particularly in your local area.
  5. Urge students and parents to attend scholarship and financial aid workshops EARLY in their high school career. Doing so even as a ninth or tenth grader can help students learn about the scholarship process, including the role of extracurricular and community activities.
  6. Post a scholarship bulletin board with flyers, monthly scholarship deadlines, and college fair dates.
  7. Offer a scholarship class or motivational workshop to help students and parents learn about the scholarship process and how to win scholarships. Workshops should help students and parents with learning the following:
    • How to search for scholarships and other aid
    • How to assemble a winning scholarship application package
    • How to write and perfect essays that showcase talents, activities, and experiences
    • How to avoid the most common mistakes on college and scholarship applications.
  8. Offer workshops that focus specifically on scholarship and college essays
  9. Make sure all of your students have a résumé. Strongly encourage student participation in extracurricular and community activities.
  10. Post a checklist for students listing all information you need from them to write an excellent recommendation.