1. Start planning early!
- It can be easy to miss deadlines so make plans early. Start looking as soon as possible and make a list of deadlines.
- Compile your resources. Get your letters of recommendation. You can always update them but at least you have them if you have a quick turnaround. The people who write your letters of recommendation should know you and be able to speak to your strengths. This could include but not limited to teachers, club advisers, counselors, principals, religious leaders, employers, scoutmasters, etc.
- Get involved! These scholarships want to know how you've been involved in your school and community. Join a club, volunteer, and work towards leadership positions if you can.
- Scholarships are not just available your senior year in high school. Most are offered for students in their junior and senior years but start looking early!
2. Write a great essay. Spend time thinking about the question. Understand what they are asking and what they are looking for. Do your research. Who is the scholarship from? When writing, make sure you pay attention to your grammar and spelling. Get someone else to proofread and edit after your 2nd draft.
3. Brag about yourself. One of the biggest mistakes people make on resumes and applications is that they don't think things are important or they forget about their achievements. Brag, brag, brag! Make sure you include all of your activities, leadership roles, and awards.
4. Perseverance is key! If you don't get a scholarship, don't give up. Keep applying! You definitely can't get scholarships you don't apply for.
5. Don't forget private scholarships. What organizations are you involved with? Check and see if they offer scholarships! This could include employers, unions, professional organizations, etc.
6. Never pay for a scholarship search! That is the first sign of a scam.