5 easy tips to win scholarship awards
by Riggs Zyrille Vergara, Publishing Editor
With tuition increases getting higher every year, more and more students go to scholarships, awards and bursaries to cushion the burden of educational finances every year.
But what makes an outstanding scholarship application package? As someone who has a few scholarship wins under their belt and someone who’s heard a lot of tips from others, let me share a few tips and tricks to get that satisfying financial win.
1. Start early and meet deadlines
Before the school year even begins, you should start looking for scholarship opportunities from many different sources such as university sites, government sites, and dedicated national scholarship portals. If you’re entering post-secondary for the first time, look for the entrance scholarships of your potential schools.
Starting early also gives you time to screen through scholarships to determine which ones you can fit into, which ones you just can’t apply to and which ones you can work on fitting your qualifications into. Rushed applications are also just sloppy and if incomplete, may not even be accepted at all.
Use a calendar or a planner and make a schedule to meet your deadlines and to allot enough time to work on those applications.
2. Small awards count
With the huge financial burden of post-secondary education in general, it makes sense to always aim for the scholarships with huge monetary awards; but that comes with a huge pool of applicants as well. So, don’t overlook the seemingly smaller awards. They add up and they have less competition.
3. Reserve most of your time on that essay
Essays are now a staple of almost every scholarship out there. It is arguably the most important part of an application package so it only makes sense to invest a lot of your time on the essay.
One of the best ways to make your essay stand out is to make it as unique and personal as possible while still meeting what the scholarship is looking for. This is the opportunity to show what you offer as a student that cannot be shown in your resume or any other parts of the application.
Take advantage of your professors and teachers’ help when it comes to writing a great essay. Most of you might be surprised at how some of your professors are willing to help you out, even in simple things like spelling and grammer.
4. Volunteering and Extra-Curricular Activities
One of the best ways to make yourself stand out from a large pool of applicants every year is to engage in volunteer work and extracurricular activities. Explore your town or local neighbourhood and find organizations that may need your help, specifically those organizations that are related to your field of study.
Engaging in activities like these will not only beef up your resume, but will also connect you with many professionals in your field who may be of great help to advance your career plans in the future.
5. Keep Applying
Even if you don’t win a scholarship right away, don’t be discouraged. Keep applying and make note of what you could’ve done differently. Many scholarships are offered every year so it might not just be your year. Most of the scholarship’s websites also feature their winners every year. So study those winners and see what it is about them that made them the recipient that year.
Save those application packages that did not win as they can serve as your outline for the next scholarship applications you will apply to. The essays can serve as an outline and all the needed information will be of easy access to you.
Most importantly, don’t lose hope. With the overwhelming amount of scholarships out there, there will be many that will see your application as the perfect fit. Keep striving.