Scholarships can be fiercely competitive, discouraging many students from even submitting an application. However, being well-equipped with the right research strategies and scholarship application knowledge, students can gain an edge on the competition. If you are a high school student who’s eager to start applying for scholarships, below are some tips you can use to your advantage.
1. Start Your Scholarship Search Early
Beginning your scholarship search early will give you ample time to research opportunities that matter the most, and prioritize when to submit each application. Do not wait until you are in your senior year of high school, as the earlier you start the application process, the easier it is to manage your scholarship opportunities while maximizing the potential to win awards. You can also use scholarship matching tools to make the research process easier.
2. Understand the Scholarships Terms
Make sure that you completely understand the terms of the scholarships you are applying for. Some of the terms that you should look for are the duration of the scholarship, the award, any obligations or requirements that are tied to the acceptance of the scholarship, etc.
3. Apply for as Many Scholarships as Possible
Whether it is a smaller or more sizable scholarship, simply apply. Do not ignore scholarships with small awards, because the more you apply for, the better your chances are of winning. Note that multiple small awards can sum up to a larger amount, which can help to cover all your expenses. Ensure that you apply for numerous scholarships to increase your odds. Most scholarships usually overlap in terms of the questions asked, so you can just tweak and repurpose the application material.
4. Only Apply for Scholarships that You’re Qualified to Win
Most high school scholarship awards usually receive thousands of applicants who are highly qualified. Refrain from sending out applications for scholarships that you don’t meet the minimum requirements, and focus on applying for scholarships that you are eligible. Don’t forget to list your accomplishments, since the judges want to know about your accolades and talents. Outlining your skills as well as talents will give the judges a much better perspective of who you are.
5. Do Not Shy Away From Scholarships That Require Essays
Many students tend to shy away from scholarships that need essays, but one of the elements that can easily help you to stand out from the crowd is a well-polished essay. When writing an essay for a scholarship application, follow the same guidelines as you would for your college application essays. Remember to meet the requirements for the essay topic, word count, and formatting.
6. Have a Good Recommendation Letter
A recommendation letter can help to boost the chances of your scholarship application being approved. You can ask your teacher, coaches, or mentors to write you a recommendation letter, just ensure it is relevant to the type of scholarship you are applying for. Be selective with who writes your recommendation letter, and only select people who have positive things to say about you.
7. Join an Honor Society or Academic Student Group
An academic-based student group or an honor society will offer you a chance to boost your resume and meet new like-minded people. You may also be awarded the opportunity to network with leaders and receive membership benefits which include access to exclusive scholarship opportunities.
Some of the best organizations that you can join include the Tri-M (Music), National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS), Science National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society (NAHS) and National Honor Society (NHS). In exchange for a membership fee, these societies usually offer their members exclusive benefits which include opportunities to study abroad, awards, networking opportunities, internships and access to various job banks. Furthermore, most honor societies offer memberships that last a lifetime, and this may include permanent access to multiple job banks.
8. Proofread Your Application
It is important for students to submit scholarship applications that are grammatically correct and error-free. Take time to go through your work in order to correct grammatical mistakes and errors. As much as self-proofreading of your application is essential, get someone else to go through your work or make use of online proofreading websites such as Grammarly.
9. Practice Interview Skills
Note that most scholarships usually require an in-person interview with the applicant. It’s not easy to be a great interviewee, and as a high school student, you need to perfect this by practicing your interview skills. Teach yourself how you can effectively answer questions in regards to who you are, your achievements, background, aspirations, etc. Be aware that as much as professionalism is required during interviews, you must be socially equipped so that you can confidently answer questions. Remember that there is no wrong or right answer during interviews, and all you have to do is to be yourself.
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