Getting a scholarship is like getting free money you can use for college. The trick is finding the best scholarships to apply for. While thousands of scholarship websites generate huge amounts of traffic, and though they often sound enticing and exciting, the odds of actually receiving a scholarship from one of these sites are slim. Below are a few tips to help you best utilize university web sites and to guide you from applying for scholarships to accepting your award.
Are you part of a church group, or a member in a national club? There are many scholarships that go unnoticed. Finding them is the hard part. Simply Googling “scholarships” brings up thousands of pages. When searching, be sure to add keywords. For example, if you are a national honor society member, try searching “college scholarships national honor society.” Do your parents work for a large corporation? It won’t hurt to try looking up the company's history in giving out scholarships. Scholarships like these have less competition, so your odds are higher. This brief questionnaire can help you find personalized scholarships to apply for.
Do not rush through the application process; this is the part they are judging. Ask someone you don’t know to read through it. There are also online sources you can use to proofread your essays. Whoever it is to edit it, don’t let them change it so much that it takes your voice out. Also, the application may require a signed and sealed transcript, a letter of recommendation, and past awards- so make sure that you have those required documents beforehand.
Accepting the Scholarship.
It never hurts to be generous and grateful. If your scholarship comes through a university, you will most likely have to log into a portal and go through the financial aid page to accept your award. If it comes from an outside source, you may receive your award in a variety of ways. Make sure to verify the scholarships terms before applying, because sometimes it isn’t worth the hassle.
Things to consider:
Some colleges drop financial aid if your private scholarship exceeds EFC (estimated family contribution) or unmet financial need. On your college's website it should tell you the policy for scholarships not provided by that college.
If you receive a scholarship that isn't associated with that college, talk to your financial aid officer and see if your scholarship can be applied toward your unmet need and if there is extra remaining, see if you can apply it to lower your loans if you have any.
You can never apply for too many scholarships. It may be a hassle to keep up on all of them, but it will pay off (literally) in the end.
Don’t be afraid to ask to defer your scholarship for any reason. If you can give a valid reason for not accepting it right away, admissions offices should be able to let you take time to decide.
Scholarships are usually merit-based, so even if you get a scholarship at a university you don’t plan to attend, you can still use it on your resume. Prestigious scholarships count for a lot in the future, even if unused.
Applying for scholarships should be an exciting process that can help you get ready for college. If you have further questions, contact the Financial Aid & Scholarship Office at SUU .