How to Win College Scholarships


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Don’t apply for scholarships until you read these 3 winning tips!

Scholarships abound on the internet, but there are specific strategies students MUST follow if they want to increase their chances of winning. (Post updated November 2019)

Read these winning tips before applying for any college scholarships!

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.

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated a tiny bit if you make a purchase after clicking on the links. The Savor Summer College Scholarship winners thank you!

College Scholarships: Learn How to Apply S.M.A.R.T. to Win More with Monica Matthews

Students and their parents who are looking for college scholarship money can easily get overwhelmed. I know, I’ve been there! Learn the step-by-step method that I developed to help my son go to college and graduate 100% debt-free here >>

Today’s scholarship post is a guest post from Jose (JR) Vazquez, The College Money Man. Enjoy!

Applying for college scholarships is a process that takes time and energy and comes with a learning curve. No book can give you 100% insight on this topic, and I always encourage parents and students to search everywhere for all the data worth having on how to get it right. But if I had to choose three things I wish I had known when I started, it would be these:

  • Don’t Recycle; Re-purpose
  • Find the Right Recommender, for the Right Scholarship
  • Let Others Proofread Your Essay

[Not sure where to start in the college scholarship process? Start HERE.]

Don’t Recycle; Re-purpose!

It is often said that the essay you took hours to write can be used multiple times with different scholarships. I read that as well when I first started. However, what I didn’t know (mainly because I didn’t take the time to check further), was that scholarship essays do not all want the same things.

Many scholarships do ask for the pro-form a standard essay: Life-Story, Accomplishments, Goals, 1-3-1 format. However, some require summarization in under 500 words. Others want only your goals, or how your experiences led you to your major/career path of choice.

You have to be ready to keep your main essay on standby, and truly tailor it to the scholarship you are applying for. Often it can be as simple as moving around the order of sentences, or removing unnecessary content. Whatever you do, never use the same essay, the same way, every time without some alterations.

It’s not about recycling your essays; it’s about re-purposing to the needs of that scholarship.

You may also like to read: 3 Top Reasons to Recycle College Scholarship Essays

Find The Right Recommenders, For The Right Scholarships

Let be honest: Not all recommenders are equal in the eyes of others. You may think your Pastor is a stand-up guy and that a recommendation from him is gold. For some essays that may be true. But think about this; imagine for a moment you want to apply for a scholarship from an organization with a more secular audience. Let’s say, it is a business organization that focuses on offering scholarships to people in marketing fields. 

The letter of recommendation sent needs to focus on your aptitude in school, in business, and your work ethic. That’s pretty straightforward, right? However, now you have to pick the recommender.

Be sure to read: 6 Hardcore Hacks for a Great Scholarship Letter of Recommendation

It’s important to keep in mind, that it doesn’t matter that your local Pastor is well respected in the community. If a letter of recommendation is written by both that Pastor, and the President of the local chamber of commerce, and they match word for word, which one do you think the judges would give preference to?

We often forget our audience will read more than our essays. Even after you take the time to tailor your essay to your audience, it’s important that the letters of recommendation back up and support your essays and stay on message.

About How to Win College Scholarships, “Monica’s writing, tenacity, and depth of knowledge in her area impressed me. She has really taught herself the ins and outs of educational finance and applied it to her own life. I had her on several episodes of my podcast, and she has always been an outstanding speaker and guest.” JR Vazquez 

Use this college scholarship tip to write a stronger essay and impress the judges. THAT is how scholarships are won!Let Others Help Proofread Your Essay

The only thing I can guarantee anyone reading this now is that the first draft was not perfect. Nor was the second, nor third drafts. To be honest, it could still be mistake-ridden right now. However, I have far less at stake here than I do when applying for a scholarship.

I cannot tell you how many hours I spent combing through my essays and materials looking for typos, only to find them a week or more after the application was submitted!

My mistake was in not having the humility to trust someone else to read my work! I just couldn’t abide the idea of being criticized.

The problem was, is I didn’t see the value in allowing others who cared about my success get involved. Boy did I screw that up! I can’t imagine how many scholarships I didn’t win based on minor errors.

I have literally sat in rooms with scholarship judges as they read essays. Both as a judge, and as a fly on the wall as a part of a psychology project I did as an undergraduate. Trust me when I say judges see every error applicants make in fine detail.

Nothing escapes them. So when you or your college-bound teen write their essay, be sure to check it, then let two to three others do so as well. It’s better to compete on the merits, than on grammar.

BONUS: Get your FREE copy of my 10 BEST COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP TIPS that will show you how to find and win more money for school by clicking here now

Win more college scholarships with these tips from a winner!A Little Wiser, A Lot Older

Now that I am a lot older and a little wiser, I learned the hard way about the importance of these three lessons. Once I did, however, the aid came in like a flood in my sophomore,  junior, senior, and graduate years.

If you simply take the lessons I learned the hard way, and apply them from the start, you or your college-bound teen may have better results than I did the first time around!

Add scholarships to your list using this resource

Jose “JR” Vazquez (AKA The College Money Man), earned three degrees without paying for them out of pocket. With over $250,000 in financial aid and scholarships to his credit, JR decided to take the lessons he learned and share them with others.

Thank you so much, JR, for your wise words of scholarship wisdom for my readers! 

Scholarships abound on the internet, but there are specific strategies students MUST follow if they want to increase their chances of winning. Click To Tweet


3 Scholarship Actions Students Must Take Before Applying
How to Win College Scholarships - Guides for Parents and Students
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BONUS: Get your FREE copy of my 10 BEST COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP TIPS that will show you how to find and win more money for school by clicking here now

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