Paying for college can be a huge concern for students, but scholarships can be a big help to reach college graduation. Unfortunately, applying for scholarships can take a lot of time. High school and college can be a very busy time and there may not seem like a lot of extra time to apply for scholarships. Therefore, it is important to figure out how to fit in scholarships into your schedule. Here are nine time saving tips for scholarships.
Depending on your school, requesting official transcripts can take a few days to receive. Request a few extra official transcripts so you will have them on hand whenever you need them for a scholarship. Also have a copy of the latest transcript always available in PDF format so you can submit it online as a moment’s notice.
There is no rule that says you cannot reuse an essay for a scholarship. There are many scholarships that use the same essay questions, such as, “why do you deserve the scholarship?” There is no need to rewrite the essay for every scholarship with the same essay. Instead, refer back to your previous essays and cater it to the scholarship provider. In addition, as you are reading the scholarship essay questions, ask yourself if you have ever written anything similar. Even an essay that you have written for a class could be helpful as you are applying to scholarships. Just remember to always reread the essay and make edits to ensure you are answering the specific question.
Create your activities resume and have it ready for the scholarship providers who request them. As you continue searching for scholarships, you will find quite a few scholarships that will request a resume or activities list. In addition, it is always helpful to have a resume available as you are filling out an application because it has all of the specifics the application may require.
Writing a recommendation can take teachers and counselors a lot of time. Plus, they have many other students they are helping. Set up a meeting with the individuals who you want to be your recommendation writers and let them know you are applying for scholarships now and in the future. Discuss with the recommendation writer how they would like to be notified about the scholarship and what they would need to write recommendations. Most writers will reuse a recommendation and change a few words to cater it to the scholarship. You may also ask to have a general recommendation letter available for the last minute scholarships you discover right before the deadline. The recommendation writer is doing you a favor, so make sure you follow their requirements so you can get all of the recommendation letters you will need.
Work as a Team
Parents should never fill out the applications or write essays for the students. However, there are ways parents can help if they have the time to help with scholarships. Parents can search for scholarships that could be a good fit for the student, share the information with the student, and remind them of deadlines.
Sign up with scholarship search sites
Some scholarship search sites allow you to input your information (grade level, GPA, major, etc.) and then they will create a list of scholarships for you. These search sites have done the work for you by narrowing down the huge list of scholarships out there and telling you which one you should submit your application. NOTE: No scholarship search site will have all scholarships available. Therefore, sign up with multiple sites because one site may know of a scholarship that others do not.
Apply to scholarships that have less competition. While there is always competition for scholarship, focus your time and energy that have specific requirements that automatically narrows down the applicant pool. Get to know yourself and write down all of the ways you can narrow down the applicant pool. These can include scholarships only open to students of specific majors, religions, disabilities, and other demographics. In addition to my website that has a lot of scholarship lists, try searching online phrases such as, “scholarships for ________ majors” or “scholarships for students from _______.”
Schedule time every week
When students think about scholarships, they think about all of the time it may take to apply. The amount of time necessary can seem daunting. Instead of working on scholarships whenever you have some free time (which might seem like never), build some time into your schedule every week. Write it down on your calendar or schedule and don’t schedule anything else during this time. Buckle down and work on scholarships during this time.
Apply for “Easy” Scholarships
Your focus should be on the scholarships that have less competition. Scholarships that have more work (essay, recommendation, etc.) or have specific requirements (major, residence, etc.) will have less competition. However, if you have a little extra time, apply to the easy scholarships that only require a short application and take only a few minutes. The likelihood of winning may be small, but if it only takes a minute or two to apply, why not apply?