What to Know When Applying for College Scholarships

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ScholarsHow can you win a college scholarship? Follow these tips.

Obtaining a college education can be a very expensive affair. In fact, majority of college graduates from the class of 2013 (about 70%) accumulated an average of $28,400 in student loan debts, according to a report from the Institute for College Access and Success. With the cost of tuition fees in colleges and universities spiraling out of control, most people are doing everything they can to keep the cost down.

Despite this unfortunate fact, there are still some good news in the horizon. Scholarship grants are also on the rise. A lot of corporations, foundations and private sector benefactors are chipping in to ease the burden by providing financial assistance to qualified applicants. To increase your chances of winning a scholarship, here are some tips that you should keep in mind.

Prioritize. Do your research and create a list of all the scholarships you qualify for. There are many types of scholarships available so don’t hesitate to include everything that applies to you. Students with 4.0 GPAs may choose to apply for merit scholarships while those who have strong physical and academic skills may want to apply for athletic scholarships. Additionally, there are scholarships for people belonging to certain minorities, children of military service personnel, students who have artistic inclinations and even those who are active in community service.

Write an impressive resume. Present yourself in a better light by creating a one-page portfolio of your greatest accomplishments. List all the jobs you previously held (including volunteer work, if any), membership in organizations, and everything else the scholarship committee needs to know about you.  

Make a great essay.
Most people ignore scholarships that require them to write an essay. Don’t commit the same mistake. Take some effort to write a great essay. After all, a 500 to 1000-word essay will not take much of your time. Follow the instructions set by the scholarship committee, provide specific examples, avoid spelling and grammatical mistakes, and write from the heart. Let the committee see who you are and what makes you different from the rest of the competition. Follow these tips and you can significantly increase your chances of winning a scholarship.

Be organized. Create a checklist of requirements for each of your applications and use a calendar to keep track of deadlines. Submitting your application after the deadline  means that all your hard work will only go down the drain.

Prepare for your interview.
Practice makes perfect. It can also make you less nervous. If you have to go in for an interview, dress appropriately and make sure you come on time. Be polite, stay calm and be positive at all times. Sending a thank you note after your interview can also help you make a good impression and increase your chances of securing a scholarship.