With tuition fees on the rise every year, applying for a good school keeps getting harder and harder. This is very sad given the major role played by education when it comes to modern living. Luckily, the availability of scholarships tends to make the going a little less harder. However, successfully getting a scholarship is easier said than done. You need to deliver the best of applications, be at the top of your game and hope that you're one of the few shortlisted candidates. If you want to boost your chances getting one, follow these 6 simple steps.
Step 1: Do your research
You need to realize that there are numerous types of scholarships out there. The most common ones include;
- Athletic Scholarships - Awarded to individuals talented on the field.
- Merit Scholarships - The most common and competitive type. Available to individuals who are exemplary in their academics.
- Need-Based Scholarships - Specifically designed to fund the studies of students who lack any form of financial assistance.
- School-Based Scholarships - This type is school-specific and it targets students who've applied for it.
Remember, those are just but a few examples. Schools, employers, private companies, religious groups and other social organizations are constantly offering scholarships that may just suit you. You don't have to be the best in class or on the field to get one. Just know your strengths and continuously search online on sites such as Scholarships.com or CollegeBoard.com. Eventually you're bound to find a scholarship that suits you.
Step 2: Seek counsel
When looking for scholarships, don't just blindly apply for stuff you don't fully understand. Undoubtedly, you may be anxious to get started as soon possible but beware; there are a lot of scams out there that could make your life miserable.
Approaching a career coach or school counselor would be a very good idea since such people have a ton of experience when it comes to getting scholarships. Not only do they point you in the right direction during your search, they also offer additional advice on your career choice. So think of such people as a goldmine that you need to explore. The wisdom they have is priceless.
Step 3: Apply for as many scholarships as you can
Yes, when it comes to scholarships, quantity counts. Studies have shown that for approximately every 10 applications you make, you'll only get about 2 replies. With such a high number of applications ignored, it would be unwise to place your trust on just a few. It doesn't matter how good you are. Very many variables such as over-application (too many students applying for one spot) and application loss are in play, meaning the more applications you have, the better.
Additionally, make sure to keep track of scholarship deadlines. Given their strict nature, you could lose a golden opportunity just by being slightly late. To be on the safe side, always assume the date given is when your papers should reach the recruitment panel, which means you should send your documents a week or two earlier. Trust me, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Step 4: Strive for perfection
The little details are what set you apart from other applicants when it comes to scholarships. When filling out an application or creating a resume, ensure that it's as neat as it could possibly be. After typing any document, proofread it at least two or three times to make sure there aren't any grammatical or spelling errors, or have a friend proofread it for you. Furthermore, you shouldn't forget to follow the specified format.
Apart from making it neat, also strive to make your application catchy. If you've ever volunteered for any communal activities or had any work experience, make sure to mention them. Showing that you're a person who takes initiative is sure to earn you a few nods.
If part of the scholarship application entails writing an essay or doing a test, do your best. Be original and follow the instructions to the latter. With that, all should plan out well.
Step 5: Look for references and recommendations
Having a trusted referee has its perks if you're looking to land a nice scholarship.
As mentioned earlier, scholarships come in multiple forms. Some of them would require you to at least have proof of the details on your resume, and that's where a referee comes in handy.
A letter of recommendation from one of your teachers or former employer, if you had one, is sure to do the trick. Have a seat with either/both of them and politely request them to write you a recommendation letter. If you were on good terms, this shouldn't be a hard task. Additionally, you could bring a copy of your resume or something similar with you to help jog their memories. They're also human. The more the recommendations, the higher your chances are of getting a scholarship.
Step 6: Stay positive and follow up
If you really want to get that scholarship, you obviously have to show some dedication. Don't just fill out the application and cross your fingers. You won't be doing yourself any favors.
After sending the application, follow up on it. Look for any updates online or in the paper and make sure you're always on the know-how. They say information is power, so, keep informed. Even if you don't win one scholarship, don't despair. See that as an opportunity to look for other better ones. Staying positive gives you the drive you need to get a good scholarship.
You should also learn to appreciate the effort others. Make sure to send thank-you cards to everyone who helped you in application process. You never know when you may need their help again.
All in all, you should learn to see this as just another stage in life. If you were able to learn and grow up to where you are now, this shouldn't be your stopping point. Work hard, do your best, seek counsel and stay positive, the results will eventually show. I hope this article will be your stepping stone to getting that scholarship you deserve.