Scholarships, at their core, are competitions that allow students to show off certain skills in order to win money to help pay for college. While most people generally think of essays, there is an array of options and requirements. If you can think of something, chances are somebody is willing to give you money for it. However, since they are generally competitive, that means somebody else also wants that money. So, how can you pull ahead?
The early bird gets the worm
Scholarships are not just limited to seniors—at least, not all of them are. While some are only for college-bound students, the majority are open to students of all ages. This means that even as a freshman you could start earning money for college. This also gives you a lot of practice, which means that with every essay or competition you enter, your applications will get better. It also means if you don’t get a scholarship, you have the opportunity to try again the following year. Or, of course, you can earn more money by applying for, and winning, more scholarships. There really is no downside.
Rinse and repeat
This tip is more specifically for essays or writing prompts. Don’t be content with just one draft. Tear it apart, look for anything, anything, that might bother you, and fix it. Then have a friend or teacher do the same thing. Repeat this process multiple times. This will not only allow for a more refined piece, but will give you more confidence in your work. You want your application essays to stand out!
The search continues
There is a scholarship for everything. If you don’t like writing, that is perfectly fine! There are artistic competitions, random drawings, or rewards for your heritage—even scholarships for red-haired, left-handed violinists. So there is no need to stress over essays.
If you need help looking for scholarships that suit you, there are many resources. Besides talking to your guidance counselor or teachers about upcoming competitions, there are many websites that are specifically designed for scholarships, including CollegeXpress.com. These are free to sign up for, and they will often send you weekly e-mails with many opportunities. Most also have a section on their website where you can type in a keyword, and any related scholarships will pop up.
Now that you have some tips to help with scholarships, you can start raking in college funds!