A Guide to Applying for Scholarships

A Guide to Applying for Scholarships

Scholarships are one of the easiest ways to earn money for college, making up 25-30% of the money people use to pay for college. However, they still seem daunting to many. There are so many to apply for, many of them even without essays. If you are interested in learning how to find scholarships and be competitive in the process, then keep reading! 

Ways People Pay for College 

There are several ways people pay for college, usually falling under two categories: free money and loans. Free money can come in the form of grants and scholarships from the college you are attending or other organizations. The main difference between the two is that grants are based more on financial need, and scholarships are merit-based. Loans are typically borrowed from private or government entities and need to be paid back.

Types of Scholarships

There are different types of scholarships for different types of people. Some are based on academic success, while others are based on athletic capability. Others target those in certain demographics, talents, and hobbies. Read the next section to find out how to find the best scholarships for you!

How to Look for Scholarships

I’m not even going to lie – there are so many scholarships out there. How does a student look for scholarships that will best fit them and their needs? Behold scholarship search engines! There are a number of free, easy-to-use websites that will help you find scholarships! Here are a few popular ones: 

Students should also keep an eye on the Hylton Counseling Canvas page! Mrs. Waugh, the college and career counselor at Hylton, does a phenomenal job of posting scholarships you can apply for today! Also, don’t forget about Naviance, another college planning tool Prince William County students have access to! 

Ways to Keep All Your Scholarships in a Row

Students have done all the research, found the scholarships they are hoping to apply for, but now they have to organize them! Put together a spreadsheet of the scholarships with the amount they offer, their deadline, and a brief description of what is needed to be done for that scholarship. Things to keep in mind are that some need essays, others don’t. Students might also need a teacher recommendation. Have the most up-to-date transcript handy as well! 

Things to Do When Applying for Scholarships

With so many applicants, how can students make their scholarship applications stand out from others and be more likely to win the money? 

  1. Take your time and put in your best effort-you’ll appreciate it later. Don’t rush through an essay the night before it is due. The outcome is likely not going to be in the student’s favor. Instead, get a head start and have a good essay ready to go.
  2. Communication is going to be an applicant’s best friend. Make sure you are talking to your counselors. Check-in with colleges you have applied to and make sure you are being considered.
  3. Apply like it is a part-time job! You want to put your best foot forward and make a great first impression. Make the manager want you to work in their business!
  4. Talk to adults and begin establishing a network in high school! The world is small-the chances you know an adult who could connect you to a mentor who can help apply to schools or prepare for your future career are high.  Establish these networks now, because the more people you know, the more success you will have in applying for scholarships.
  5. Keep applying once you are in college! People are not limited to only applying for scholarships before college, they can continue signing up while a student at university!

Things Not to Do When Applying For Scholarship 

  1. Do not apply for scholarships that have a fee! 
  2. Don’t apply blindly-read the fine print! 
  3. Only input the required personal information! 

Other Helpful Articles

Obviously, this is not a perfect list of ways to apply for scholarships. There are so many other approaches and other ways that might work better for students. Below are a few other resources to continue your research on scholarships.