Doing Scholarships the Right Way: Tips on Application
Like getting a ton of free money? Of course you do!
Those lines might sound like the beginning of an un-reputable online advertisement but the truth is there are plenty of scholarships aiming to do just that; hand you free money to support your education.
So how do you score some of this free cash? Start by applying to any and all scholarships you can. The more you apply to, the higher your odds of receiving an award.
If you’re not sure of your eligibility for a scholarship, apply anyway. Many scholarships are not given out due to lack of applicants. Even if your eligibility is hazy you may be the lucky winner by default. This was the case when Sandro Rocco, Niagara College Photonics alumni, applied to the Walker Technology Grant.
“I wasn’t entirely sure if I qualified but I thought why not give it a shot, a lot of people don’t bother,” he commented.
“Turned out I was the only person to apply for the scholarship so I won. The award was really helpful and got applied directly to my tuition” Sandro continued.
Some students shy away from scholarship applications because they feel their grades aren’t high enough. However, plenty of scholarships are handed out as a result of achievement in other areas including extra curricular involvement, athletics or charity work. Financial aid and area of interest are also taken into consideration when handing out scholarships.
Lara Muldoon, Relationship Manager with StudentAwards.com noted, “There are scholarships available that have nothing to do with academic performance or volunteer experience. We have awards for everyone, from people of specific ethnicities to people that are tall ”.
Take time out of your schedule to make great applications. Prioritize and spend time on scholarships that are most applicable to your skills and experiences.
When asked what differentiates a successful candidate from an unsuccessful one Lara responded, “the number one thing is to be really passionate about your subject, pick applications that really speak to you, most providers are looking for students not with great marks necessarily but with a path in life that they are really passionate about”.
Remember that scholarship application is not limited to your first year of studies. Many students stop applying after their first year thinking that the majority of scholarship funding is reserved for new students. This is not the case; many awards are reserved for students in their second, third and fourth year of studies. StudentAwards.com commented that while the majority of their application pool stems from grade 12 students, their user demographic spans between 13 and 30 years of age.
Students are sometimes intimidated by the amount of work involved in applying to scholarships, but by using an incremental approach and developing decent time management (yes, it is possible) you will be able to handle the stress and hopefully reap the benefits of scholarship application.
Many online scholarships allow you to save your work in their own word processors, making it easy to finish one or two parts of the application at a time.
Having a stock application template done in advance is another easy way to save time and minimize stress while scholarship hunting.
Have a thorough list of your skills, past experiences, awards and academic achievements on hand as part of your application template. This go-to list will make a world of difference in the quickness of your application process.
Also, prepare a general, but flexible essay that highlights your personal qualifications and can be tweaked to fit specific scholarship criteria.
Keep your audience in mind when filling out applications.
If you are applying to an academic scholarship be sure to use academic language and keep the tone of your writing as professional as possible.
In contrast, some scholarship review panels are looking to see a more personal response. For these, don’t be afraid to use a less formal language and be sure to highlight your own opinion, giving judges a better understanding of your personality.
Just like that summer job, it is never too early to start the search for scholarships! So good luck and happy applying!