A great way to spend free time during summer break is applying for scholarships. Sure, the beach is fun, but graduating college without any debt is even more fun.
Jordan Crandell, Student Service Group Manager said, “Students should create free online profiles on sites such as Fastweb[.com], Scholarships[.com] and Cappex[.com] to help find scholarships. They can also search for scholarships on ORU’s website.”
However, he advises students to be aware of sites or scholarships that require a form of payment to participate. This is often the first sign that a scholarship is not legitimate.
When applying for scholarships there are five general tips for a successful submission:
1. Plan in advance
Crandell advises students to plan for scholarships six months in advance. Scholarships may contain many components; recommendation letters, transcripts, essays, and applications.
Finishing every requirement for a scholarship may take anywhere from one hour and several weeks. Proper planning for scholarships takes away the stress of applying and makes it a fun journey instead of strenuous.
2. Keep a list of available recommenders
There is only one thing worse than having to ask for a recommendation at the last minute; being asked to write a recommendation at the last minute.
One way to guarantee a canned letter is by not allowing enough time for recommender to create something that will impress the readers. Instead of a letter that is colorful and shows personality the letter will read as such: Insert students name here is a wonderful candidate for insert award here.
I think this student would be a terrific choice yadda yadda yadda. The poor souls who have to read the recommendations immediately recognize that it is canned, which tells the readers you waited until the last minute and thus are probably not chosen for the scholarship.
3. Keep transcripts on hand
Every new semester it is important to make a trip to the registrar and fill out the form for five official transcripts.
After receiving them immediately put them in the glove compartment, or anywhere else that can be easily accessed.
There will be one last minute scholarship. No perfect amount of preparation will prevent that.
There is no greater frustration than finding the perfect scholarship and the only thing stopping the completion of the application is the wait time for an official transcript. Eliminate all frustration simply by always having transcripts easily accessible.
4. Edit your work
If an application makes it to the final stages of the competition there is a good chance a human will read the essay.
That person will read quickly and if there is blatant grammar and spelling mistakes the application will find its way to the trash with every other essay that did not have spell check. Keep in mind there is a small chance a machine will read you essay.
That machine looks for keywords that the awarder has decided are the most important. Research the company and the requirements for the scholarship. It will not hurt to sprinkle keywords throughout the essay just for good measure.
5. Submit Early, Submit often
Turn the application in early. It shows initiative and planning. There is a greater chance to lose in a scholarship than win.
That is why it is imperative to apply to as many scholarships as possible. To be success with scholarships it is important to live with the philosophy that not everyone will say no, but many will.
It usually only takes a few good scholarships to cover a significant portion of tuition.