Tips on How to get a College Scholarship

The college application process is always tough, and if you are pushing for a college scholarship, success is even tougher. From the activities you perform to extracurricular work, essay samples and the lengthy scholarship application process, you should always push yourself and do as much as you can to gain your scholarship. But sometimes effort is no enough – you need to be smart and you need to understand exactly what it takes to succeed.

Scholarship Search Secrets eBook
Scholarship Search Secrets eBook (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

This guide is here to help you understand what it takes, and explain the critical factors and tasks involved.

How Scholarships Work

Scholarships are very easy to understand. The two main types of scholarship are the private scholarship and the institutional scholarship; the former is offered by private companies and organizations, while the latter is offered by the colleges and universities themselves. No matter the type of scholarship, performance, effort and excellence are often the main criteria, but note that many scholarships have a much more specific criteria, for example, low-income status or foreign status. The money you get from a scholarship is similar to a grant in that you do not need to pay it back. Scholarship funding is provided to cover college costs, general spending or a mix of both.

Improving Your Chances

The bottom line is that to be successful in applying for a scholarship, you must meet the goals of the sponsor. The goals might be related purely to academia, or a number of different things, but regardless of this it is your job to not only meet, but exceed these goals as much as you can. Simply doing the ‘bare minimum’ is not enough. Check through all of the details that your sponsor provides, as this will help you understand the formal requirements they set, as well as many of the additional and less important criteria.

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If you are lucky when you leave college, you won’t have to search long for a job, but people that have little luck in finding a job will tell you how important it is to search as deeply and thoroughly as possible. The same applies for scholarships, and this means you need to be persistent and willing to work hard to unearth every scholarship that applies to you.

Getting involved with extra-curricular activities is the best thing you can do outside of your studies to improve your chances of success. Scholarships are rarely handed out for GPA alone, because grades are a very poor predictive measure of future performance and personality, while commitment and other personal aspects are. Think about getting a job, volunteering in the local community, and making more out of your personal interests and hobbies.

The Scholarship Essay

The scholarship essay is an important requirement, and you must put the effort into it if you want to succeed. Look at essay samples to find a structure and format that you like, but don’t use essay samples to think of ideas. The only way to ensure an interesting and original essay is to construct it entirely yourself. There are so many ways to approach the scholarship essay, and we recommend that you take an approach that you are happy and comfortable with. No matter the theme and style of your essay, make sure you proofread it, and make sure it is consistent with the other areas of your application.

There are a number of scholarship scams in circulation, but fortunately they are easy to spot. If they are asking for your money, then they are not legitimate, but not all of them are so obvious. Keep your head screwed on and be careful.

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By Alice Norum – You can contact her at Google+ as well.