3 Super Smart College Scholarship Strategies
These college scholarship strategies will help keep applications out of the reject piles!
College is increasingly so expensive that parents and their students are desperate for finding ways to help pay for it. I helped my son win over $100,000 in college scholarships and want to help you too. How did I do it? Read my story here.
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~ Monica Matthews
Successful college scholarship winners don’t just fill out an application and mail it to the organization sponsoring the award. Rather, they have written a memorable essay, carefully followed all application directions, and have applied for as many scholarships as they possibly can in the years leading up to college and while in college.
Successful scholarship winners focus their attention on the following three actions that students looking to win money for college cannot ignore.
Make an impact with the scholarship essay – The essay is the heart of the scholarship application, allowing the judges to get to know students on a deeper level. To write a successful scholarship essay, students need to fully understand the question being asked and answer it completely, while not going over the required word count.
A fun test to see if the question is answered and understood is for students to have a trusted adult read the essay without knowing the essay prompt or question. If they can tell the student what was being asked, the question has been successfully answered.
Students need to avoid starting their essay response with repeating the question or the standard, “I need this scholarship money because…” Instead, starting the essay with a “hook” or something that draws the reader in and entices them to want to read the entire essay is a much better way of becoming memorable to the judges and advancing to the next level of the scholarship competition.
You may also like: 5 Tips for Rocking that College Scholarship Essay
Follow ALL application directions – Most scholarship application guidelines are very detailed with what students are supposed to include in the packet and some even request the paperwork to be arranged in a specific order. Some allow extra materials to be included (scholarship resume, award certificates, etc…) and some are very clear on what exactly is even allowed to be sent. Students need to print off a copy of the scholarship guidelines and check off each piece of required material as they arrange them for sending.
Paperwork that is forgotten or omitted usually results in an immediate disqualification of the whole scholarship application.
Following directions sounds like a small task, but scholarship judges repeatedly see applications of students who do not bother to read the guidelines and do what is asked of them.
Scholarship winners are meticulous about following all scholarship directions perfectly and double-check that all required materials are included before sealing and mailing their application packets.
Start early to find and win more scholarships – When college acceptance letters start being received by students in the late winter or early spring of their senior year of high school, there is a desperate rush to apply for scholarships. Unfortunately, many deadlines have already passed, as scholarships are available for students to apply for all year long and not just in the spring. In addition, there are scholarships for all levels of students and not just high school seniors.
Learning how to find and apply for college scholarships early (middle school is a great time to start, but early high school is good too) allows for more scholarships found, more applied for, and a greater chance of winning money to help pay for college. Also, scholarship applying should not end when college starts, as there are plenty of awards available to students while they are in college. Parents can play a huge part in the scholarship process by partnering with their students and helping them and encouraging them each step of the way.