Scholarship Applications

Have you applied to various scholarship programs, but just don’t seem to be lucky enough to win? You are not alone. The majority of students apply to handful of scholarships and then give up. Although you may not win every scholarship on your list, we’ll give you some helpful advice on how to spot a scholarship scam, tips for writing a winning essay, and how to put together a smart scholarship strategy that will move your applications from the trash can to the winner’s pile. Just remember one thing — you can’t win if you don’t apply!

scholarship portfolio tips

5 Items to Include in Your Scholarship Portfolio

Students are heading back to school, which means one thing — scholarship season is about to go into full swing. With the majority of scholarship deadlines falling between October and April, now is a good time to gather the necessary documents required for many of these programs. You will find that having these items available in a central location, otherwise known as a scholarship portfolio, will not only make the scholarship application process easier, but also less stressful. In general, the following five items should always be kept up-to-date and included in your scholarship portfolio.

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personal statement

The Do’s & Don’ts of Writing a Personal Statement

You probably already know that personal statements are commonly used during the college admissions process. But, did you know that many scholarship programs require them, as well? Unlike your résumé or essay, this component of your application is often used by committees to get a better understanding of who you are as a person. Think of it like an extended Super Bowl commercial where you have a limited amount of time to grab your reader’s attention. If you have all the right elements, your reader will be interested in learning more about you, which may lead to an interview, or better yet…winning the scholarship!

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scholarship organizer

Stay On Track With a Scholarship Application Organizer

When you start working on scholarship applications, you may find that it’s very easy to lose track of which programs you have already applied to and which ones you still need to complete. Many scholarship search tools provide a way for you to manage the scholarships within their own databases, but what happens if you use more than one resource to locate scholarships? It can be pretty time consuming jumping from website to website trying to figure out what’s next on your scholarship agenda. The best way to keep track of everything on your plate is to create a system to organize it all in one place. You could use the old-fashioned system of office folders, but I personally prefer using an Excel spreadsheet to ensure I never miss a scholarship deadline. If you’ve never created one before, don’t worry; it’s very simple. Just follow these steps and you’ll soon have your very own scholarship application organizer.

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scholarship essay tips

3 Ways NOT to Start a Scholarship Essay

If you ask students what they hate most about applying for scholarships, most of them will tell you that writing essays is the worst part (Well, that and not winning them, but that’s a topic for another post). And, it doesn’t matter if the essay requires 250 words or several thousand; most students would simply rather spend their time searching for ‘no essay’ scholarships than sit down and write another scholarship essay. Unfortunately, most scholarship providers aren’t willing to hand over free money for college without a little effort, and that’s where the essay comes into play. It not only gives providers more insight into your life, but it also helps them weed out potential candidates, especially when several have similar academic records. For those scholarship programs that don’t even consider your grade point average or financial need, the essay is the one thing that will set you apart from the other applicants. With so much riding on the line (no pun intended), it’s important to grab your reader’s attention immediately, which means you have  about two to five sentences to impress the committee or else your essay is headed to the ‘denied’ stack. If you want a shot at having your entire paper read, there are three things you should avoid using in the introductory paragraph of your essay.

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scholarship interview

How to Answer Common Scholarship Interview Questions

If you read my recent post, “5 Tips for Successful Scholarship Interviews,” you already have a good idea of what to expect during the scholarship selection process, including the common scholarship interview questions you might receive. But, do you know how to answer those questions? Some of them may seem rather simple, but your answers could ultimately make or break your chances of scoring the award. Remember, this is your one and only chance to impress the scholarship review board or committee chairperson, so you’ll need to have a game plan before entering the arena. But don’t worry — I have a few tips to help you ace some of the most frequently used scholarship interview questions. Here are five that you are likely to receive during most of your interviews.

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