It’s summer! For many students, you have freedom from school for the next three months. You won’t have class deadlines to read books, write essays or study for tests. I am sure you want to go out and have fun, and you should, because you deserve it. However, the summer is also a great time to focus on your scholarship search!
There are millions of dollars of scholarships available! There are scholarships available for almost everything. You don’t have to have perfect grades. You don’t have to have a talent. Some scholarships are more like sweepstakes, while others require you to submit an essay or a video. Summer is the perfect time to get yourself organized and search for scholarships to help you pay for college!
Where Do You Start?
I’m sure you’re aware that I share scholarships, and I am currently building my scholarship database. In addition to my monthly scholarship lists, there are lists based on majors and grade level. By the end of the summer, there will be other lists such as scholarships based on race/ethnicity, location, sport, disability, and other interesting lists. However, my scholarship database should not be the only place you search for scholarships. Check out the following scholarship websites as well:
TIP: Don’t just use one scholarship website to find scholarships. Each website, including my own, shares every scholarship that is known to them. However, it is impossible to know about every single scholarship out there. Some websites will know about scholarships that the others scholarship sites do not know about. Increase your chances of finding scholarships for you by using multiple sites to find scholarships.
- Organize scholarships in order of due date and set reminders to make sure you’ve submitted them on time.
- Prepare a Resume/Brag Sheet.
- Include information about your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, jobs, internships, volunteer activities, talents and anything else that might set you apart from other applicants.
- Some scholarships ask for a resume. The resume/brag sheet is also great to give to individuals that will write recommendation letters for you.
- Determine individuals who can write recommendation letters for you.
- Always ask individuals who know more than just your name.
- Always give them sufficient notice before you need the letter. Each person will have their preference, but a good rule of thumb is to give them at least a month notice if possible.
- Give the letter writer your resume/brag sheet. It will help them to write a great recommendation.
- Specific recommendation letters are best (written for the specific scholarship), but sometimes it is not possible. Ask your recommendation writer if they will consider writing a general recommendation letter that you can have on hand if they cannot write a letter in time. This is helpful for scholarships with summer deadlines, or scholarships that you only find out about a few days before it is due.
- Give the letter writer a copy of the scholarships information, even for scholarships you send in the general letter.
- Always thank them for their help!
- Gather required documents. Many scholarships require more than just an application.
- Request multiple official transcripts that are ready to be mailed to the scholarship provider. Also have a PDF transcript available when scholarships wants transcript submitted electronically.
- SAT or ACT report printed, as well as in PDF form.
- Recommendation Letters.
- Personal essays. There are many scholarships that have very similar essay requirements, such as asking the applicant, “Why do you want to go to college?” Once you write a general essay like this, have an essay database you can refer to when applying to scholarships because scholarship essays can definitely be recycled and reused.
There are many scholarships available. Keep your eye out for them, prepare and apply. College is expensive and any amount will help!
Lastly, dedicate a little time each day to your scholarship search. Just a little bit of time can turn in to a lot of money that can help towards the cost of your college education.