Scholarship Tips to Help You Pay for College

Review the following habits of scholarship winners for tips on how you can make your scholarship quest successful.

  • Successful students always remember the five Pā€™s ā€“ Prior preparation prevents poor performance. Prepare for the college scholarship search early. Do not wait until your senior year.
  • Successful students do not rely on their parents to do all the work.
  • Successful students vigorously avoid mistakes on their scholarship essays and applications. They always spell-check, proofread, and allow one other person to proofread their scholarship applications and essay for errors.
  • Successful students do not ignore scholarships that may be local or those for small amounts. Scholarship amounts, even as small as $50, can add up.
  • Successful students do not rely on only one source such as the Internet for their scholarship search. They use many resources. Many scholarships on the Internet or in the free scholarship searches that you find on the World Wide Web are nationally known and are harder to win due to greater competition. Local and regional scholarships are not found as easily through an Internet search, although they may be easier to win because the applicant pool is smaller. You have to use a combination of resources to find as many scholarships to apply for as possible.
  • Successful students market themselves well. In their applications, they highlight positive aspects about their lives, especially community involvement.
  • Successful students do not apply to one or two scholarships and wait for the best. They apply for all scholarships they are eligible to win. They keep applying until the total they have won exceeds what they need to pay for the college they want to attend or until they graduate with a degree.
  • Successful students are organized. They keep track of deadlines and materials required to complete a scholarship application.
  • Successful students are well rounded. They participate in extracurricular and community activities. They write about these activities in college and scholarship essays in a descriptive manner. They try to benefit others as well as themselves with the extracurricular and community activities in which they are involved.
  • Successful students understand that SAT scores and grades alone do not win most scholarships. Scholarship programs look at many factors such as community activities, leadership, presentation of your application package, scholarship interview tips, special or unusual talents or skills, etc.
  • Successful students do not look for the easy way out. It is harder for them to believe in a scholarship scam that promises to do all the work for them. They understand that those things for which we work hardest often bring the greatest rewards. Hard work in the scholarship process as a high school student could result in an easy college life without work later, or a loan-free life after college.

Avoid These Most Common Mistakes Made on College and Scholarship Applications

  1. Not following directions
  2. Not paying attention to the deadline and missing it
  3. Not typing your application or sending in a sloppy application
  4. Forgetting to spell check and to proofread after you spell check
  5. Not including information such as a transcript or recommendation
  6. Not answering the essay question or another question asked.

For additional strategies to help your application stand out in a good way, see Winning Scholarships for College or register for The Scholarship Boot Camp.