I can vividly remember my entire senior year of high school as a year of ups and downs. Oh, and plenty of scholarship applications. You’d think I’m lying, but I must have applied to at least a hundred scholarships! Over time, I learned some tricks to finding legitimate scholarships and how to throw together an impressive application in less than a day. So, I thought I’d share with you guys!
WHERE TO FIND SCHOLARSHIPS
This part is probably the most stressful because it can be difficult to look for real scholarships. But, you can always start somewhere.
- START locally and reach out to your school administrators and counselors to see if there are any scholarships that the school offers. THEN move onto district scholarships. THEN move onto city scholarships. THEN move onto county, state, country, and worldwide scholarships!
- Check out Biola's scholarships!
- Look for big companies that give out scholarships. Taco Bell and McDonalds have a yearly scholarship application that is open to everyone.
- Be careful of spam! There are many scholarships that ask for your email and use it to spam you. Be sure to check if the foundation or company you are applying toward is real.
- FastWeb is a great site to find scholarships!
BEFORE YOU START APPLYING
- To avoid clutter in your main email account and to keep better track of your application status, create an entire separate email for your scholarships.
- When requesting for your high school/college transcripts, request at least two or three unofficial and official transcripts at a time. It’s also helpful to have a digital copy of them since most applications are online now (the Genius Scan app is very helpful at changing documents to digital copies for free).
- I recommend requesting multiple people for letters of recommendation. Sometimes, people can take some time to get back to you. It’s important to note that some applications require specific letters of recommendation for their scholarship, so a generic recommendation letter can be altered accordingly to fit the scholarship.
- A LOT of applications will ask for all your awards, activities, small achievements, community service hours, etc. Make a Google drive folder with all of this information in it, so it’s easy to access and use.
- Take pictures of any awards that you have. I had some swim awards and took pictures of them. It serves as proof of your awards and adds more professionalism to your application.
- Many scholarships will have essay prompts that are very similar, so keep all of your essays accessible. You can simply alter some information and paragraphs to fit another essay prompt, and you save time!
- Keep a Google document of EVERY scholarship you apply to, so you know how many you have done. It’s also nice to list upcoming ones on the same document and keep track of due dates.
- KEEP ALL OF YOUR FILES. Seriously. You never know when that 150-word explanation of your trip to Yosemite will come in handy.
- This is when you wait to hear back. Most foundations let you know when you will hear back from them. In most cases, they get back to you on time. However, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to them through an email or phone call. There’s no harm in being proactive!
- Honestly, just pray and trust that all of your hard work will pay off! God works in mysterious ways, and this is a wonderful way to practice trust with Him.
- Continue looking for more scholarships! They usually go year-round, and you never know when a new one could be offered.
- Keep up to date with your school administrators or the financial aid department! They are always willing to help.
I wish you all the best of luck with your scholarship endeavors. It can be tiring and tedious, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a try. Don’t worry about other people applying, just focus on the gifts God has given you. Trust that God will provide. He has for me. HE WILL FOR YOU.
-Blogger Holly Changsta