4 Steps to Designing a Path to Scholarship Success

Starting your scholarship search doesn't have to be intimidating. You can start applying to scholarships with ease by following these four easy steps.

With the extra time students have to really dig into the scholarship search, there’s tremendous opportunity to reduce your future college costs. Design a routine that can serve you both now and after the coronavirus pandemic has passed with these simple steps!

As a scholarship expert, I’m often asked, “Do I have to treat my scholarship search like a part-time job?’ The answer is no. If you’re smart about how you use your time, you can expedite scholarship applications quickly.

We’re all busy people with full daily routines; you may be actively balancing academic assignments, extracurricular interests, a job, and/or family responsibilities, so adding another responsibility to your to-do list might sound difficult. But you have the opportunity to design a plan that works for you so that starting and continuing your scholarship mission doesn’t need to be a burden on your calendar. It can easily be woven into your weekly schedule in small increments of time with these four steps.

Step 1: Use your “ready-to-go material”

Dig out your old papers, projects, essays, and poems that you‘ve completed for past homework assignments. I call this “ready-to-go material.” So many students believe the scholarship myth that everything they apply to must relate to their future career. That’s false. You can win a scholarship related to poetry and use it toward your engineering degree. Your “ready-to-go material” could be a goldmine for you because your time has already been spent completing it and new material doesn’t need to be created. 

Step 2: Design your weekly scholarship plan

What’s an amount of time you can dedicate to the scholarship search each week? Look at your weekly schedule and start with spending 30 minutes three times a week to search and apply for scholarships. If you set an amount of time that easily fits into your schedule, you’re more likely to do it again the following week. New routines always start with small actions we can easily repeat. Focus on applying to one scholarship each week using “ready-to-go” materials and one additional scholarship that requires a bit more effort. By committing to expediting two scholarships weekly, you can apply to over 100 scholarships a year.

Related: Scholarship Search Spreadsheet Template

Step 3: Get help from your home team

There are many ways your parents can help you with your scholarship search. Parents can assist with contacting relatives to find out if there are scholarships available from your family members’ companies, unions, clubs, or organizations. They can also help you research what local scholarships are given out in your town or county and find out who the decision makers are for them.

Although parents might want to help by completing applications or drafting essays, it’s essential to remember that those are your tasks to complete. This is your money mission, and it’s important you take ownership of it.  

Step 4: Look to the future

Finally, gather criteria information about scholarships that pertain to students a year or two older than you. There are plenty of scholarships out there that are available for current college students only. Knowing the criteria in advance can help you make informed choices about how you use your time outside the classroom to qualify for the most opportunities in the near future. 

Related: The Ultimate List of Easy Scholarships

There’s always an opportunity to win more money for school; you just have to do your research and apply for scholarships in which you best fit the criteria. The scholarship search doesn’t have to be a daunting and all-encompassing job. Delegate tasks to yourself in manageable increments so you can take advantage of designing your path to scholarship success. 

You can start looking for free money for college right now using our Scholarship Search tool!

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About Jean O'Toole

Jean O’Toole is an educational consultant and author of the bestselling book Scholarship Strategies: Finding and Winning the Money You Need. Over the past 15 years, she has helped tens of thousands of students in the United States. Individuals collectively have been awarded millions of dollars by applying Jean’s scholarship strategies. In 2008, Jean co-founded Connections101, a company specializing in providing motivational tools for scholarship searching. It is her goal to empower students to design their paths to their future without college debt. Visit Connections101.com for more information, and follow Jean on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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