Apply for Scholarships

The only way to have a shot at winning scholarships is to apply for scholarships. You’ll hear it from us time and time again – apply early, and apply often. If you miss a deadline and send your application in late, you go to the bottom of the pile. If you skip out on an award because you think you don’t have a good shot at landing that award, you could be missing out on an opportunity for some generous funding, and free funding that you won’t need to pay back. Browse through our site to find helpful tips and advice on the scholarship application process. The more scholarship information you have, the more prepared you’ll be to start the process and land your share of the free money out there to supplement your financial aid package for college. Even better, take a few minutes to conduct a free, college scholarship search to find scholarships for which you may be eligible.

The Scholarship Search

You may feel like scholarship awards are too competitive for you to be eligible for many, but someone has to win, so why shouldn’t it be you? There are ways to improve your chances at landing a scholarship, even if it’s the most competitive scholarship with the biggest reward. Target academic scholarships if you have a stellar GPA and standardized test scores, but also make a list of what makes you unique and make sure to include those characteristics when you’re filling out your profile or looking to outside sources for potential scholarship sources.

Once you’ve got a good list going of scholarships you're eligible for, it’s time to go over those results and make the ones with approaching deadlines and those you feel you have the best shot at winning your top priority. (If you don’t match the criteria of an award, don’t apply. There are too many scholarships out there that will fit your unique student characteristics that you shouldn’t be wasting your time on awards you don’t fit the eligibility requirements for.) Don’t be shy about contacting scholarship providers and declaring your candidacy for this year’s winner. Be sure you contact each provider in the manner they've requested, whether it's email, fax or formal letter, as it’s important that you follow the directions of any scholarship application to the letter. To maximize your scholarship application output and the scholarships you'll receive, be sure to start as early as possible, usually in October of your senior year of high school. Also, be sure to keep your profile up-to-date so you can find out about new opportunities and send them a scholarship application.

The Application Process

When you’re ready to start applying, it’s important to get organized. One of the most important steps once you find an award that interests you is to read the directions, qualifications, and fine print carefully (an award you have to pay for to receive could be a scholarship scam). You may even find some of the work you do can be applied to multiple scholarship applications – such as an essay or writing sample. (Be sure you read the directions for those essays carefully, though. Make sure you’re answering the essay question accurately and thoughtfully, as many judges will look to those essays to narrow down a long list of applicants.) Start working on those essays early, and ask teachers or your peers for honest feedback.

If it sounds too easy, that’s because it actually is easy to apply for scholarships. Some may require that you to put in some time, but once you've completed an application or two you might find it will get easier and take less time with each additional one. Don’t psych yourself out or let yourself get overwhelmed by all you need to do before you graduate high school. Start early and work diligently and it will pay off. And remember: you’re not alone. Many students feel unprepared when they’re starting the process, but with a little research, preparation and help from, you could be on your way to an impressive financial aid package.

Begin Searching for Scholarships Now!

Read what one of our Virtual Interns, Jessica Seals, has to say about pursuing and applying for scholarships.

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Last Reviewed: March 2018