Maximize your chances of
Here are our best tips to help you leverage all your opportunities for
receiving the maximum number of scholarships.
- Don’t wait until January of your senior year to start looking.
- Pay attention to scholarship deadlines and keep a checklist of application closing dates.
- File your FAFSA early. Many scholarships require it. FAFSA can be filed beginning October 1.
- Avoid waiting until the deadline to apply to guard against computer or other technical issues.
- Choose your recommender carefully. It should be someone who knows you well and can speak to your accomplishments.
- Give them plenty of time and include a student bio or resume outlining your accomplishments and activities.
- The best letters of recommendation show the student’s personality and character.
- Many communities offer scholarships through clubs, organizations or small businesses.
- The chances of winning a local scholarship may be greater because they are open to a smaller group of students.
- Check with your school counselor for scholarships tied to your school and community.
- Ask relatives if they know of scholarships through their employers, clubs and organizations.
- Don’t overlook smaller scholarships. Several $500 scholarships can add up.
- Larger scholarships can be the most competitive.
- The number of scholarships you can apply to and win is unlimited.
Contact your chosen college or university’s financial aid office to find out about school specific-scholarships
- Colleges and universities often have specific knowledge of scholarships offered by their institution.
- Your financial aid office is there to help you find opportunities to fund your education.
- Some students avoid scholarships that require more work. That could shrink the application pool and improve your chances of winning.
- If you have two to four solid scholarship essays, edit and reuse those for multiple scholarship applications.
- Edit for each new scholarship essay question.
- Follow the essay word limit. Exceeding that might disqualify you.
- Proofread the essay to ensure you have no spelling or grammar mistakes.
- Answer any questions in the essay prompt.
- Find a unique perspective on the essay prompt and make your essay stand out. Be personal and passionate.
- Apply for 20 to 30 or more scholarships.
- Treat applying like a part-time job. It’s an investment in your future.
- Set aside regular times to look for and apply to scholarships, once a week, an hour each day, whatever works best for your schedule.
- Stay organized. Use a calendar and a checklist. Know scholarship deadlines.
- Not everyone is guaranteed to win a scholarship.
- The more you apply for, the better your chances of winning a scholarship.
- Continue to search for new scholarships.
- Apply for scholarships in different categories that you may qualify for, such as merit, athletic or artistic.
You could be the target of a financial aid scam. Be alert to the tactics companies use to persuade students to buy their services. Here are some of the most common claims students hear.
- Requests for personal information: A legitimate scholarship will never ask for personal information such as a Social Security Number.
- Fees: A true scholarship will not charge an application fee.
- Guarantees to win: A legitimate scholarship will not guarantee that you will win. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Application is missing sponsor information: You should always be able to find a sponsor’s contact information in the application. If you can’t find that information, be wary.