Top 5 Tips for Winning Scholarships

winning scholarships

The burden of college tuition is too harsh for a hard-working parent. No matter how much you planned your expenses and tried to save money for years before this moment came, you’re put in front a huge challenge: you have to invest thousands of dollars in a single year of education. The average annual tuition fees in a prestigious private college in the USA are $35,000, and state institutions charge around $25,000 per year.              

There are many families and students that cannot afford making such investment in higher education. That’s why the idea of a scholarship sounds incredibly appealing. The only problem is: scholarship programs are incredibly competitive. You have to try very hard to submit proper applications, achieve academic success, and commit to extracurricular activities if you want a chance to get into a program. The good news is: it’s possible. There are plenty of organizations and governmental programs that give opportunities to talented students.

The Benefits of Scholarships: High-Quality Education for Free

If you cannot afford high-quality education, then you would have to make peace with low-rated programs that don’t guarantee a bright professional future. The truth is, even the best universities don’t guarantee that, but a talented student has better chances to get noticed by recruiters if they pick Harvard, UCLA, or another reputable school.

The mere fact of gaining a scholarship is an accomplishment the student feels proud of. They start believing in their talents, and they have a motivation to expand their capacity. With that encouragement, students are pushed towards a better future.

Here are few examples of famous people who received scholarships:

  • Bill Gates won a National Merit Scholarship in 1973. He attended Harvard and became one of the most influential men of his time.
  • Edwin Hubble, a famous astronomer who played a critical role in the establishment of extragalactic astronomy, also received a scholarship. He was the brightest student at his high school. At the graduation in 1906, the principle of the school said: “Edwin Hubble, I have watched you for four years and I have never seen you studying for ten minutes… Here is a scholarship for the University of Chicago.” Hubble’s athletic skills also gained him a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford.

How did Bill Gates and Edwin Hubble get their scholarships? They were certainly among the brightest students of their generation, and that helped them get noticed. However, we have to keep in mind that there are thousands of students with similar skills and accomplishments.

How does one get noticed in all that competition? We have 5 great tips that can help a student get there. 

5 Tips that Lead You to a Scholarship

Start the Search as Early as Possible

The biggest mistake you could make is waiting. Start the search for scholarship programs before the start of senior year, and mark all deadlines in Google Calendar. Set the app to send you reminders at least a month before the application deadlines.

Focus on the scholarship your future college student is qualified for. Analyze the requirements very carefully, and encourage your son or daughter to meet them. No pressure is needed; only encouragement. Remember: you should never force your kids too hard. You need to motivate them to achieve goals they will benefit from.

Go Local

When you’re supporting your son or daughter to apply for scholarships, you should definitely encourage them to aim high. The National Merit Scholarship and other prestigious programs are worthy of a try. However, you should also be aware of the fact that the competition there is overwhelming.

Local scholarships, on the other hand, are open to much smaller groups of students. Conduct an online research and ask around: are there companies, NGOs, small business, clubs, and benefactors that offer scholarships on a local level? Teachers and guidance counselors have this information, so don’t forget to ask them for advice.

Unigo’s Scholarship Search tool can give you a list of scholarships your future college student is qualified for.

Make the Application Personal

A student has to showcase academic or athletic achievements in order to gain a scholarship. However, they need to show some personality, too. That’s why the application essay is so important. It has to be very unique, specific, and personal. Support your kid through all stages of completion. If necessary, invest in a writing course.

The essay has to explain why the student deserves that scholarship more than any other applicant. Great writers can write monumental essays even when they are inspired from the simplest experience. That’s the effect you want to achieve.

Edit, Proofread, and Be Very Diligent

You never send the first draft of a personal essay in the application. Never! That paper will need some editing and proofreading. When your kid writes it, advise them to proofread the content very diligently. Then, you can offer to check it out. The best thing to do at this point would be to hire an online editor. They will improve the quality and logical flow of the paper, so it will be ready to become part of the application.

Your kid should make sure to go through the directions for application once again and provide all necessary documents.

Don’t Get Disappointed. Don’t Give Up!

No one can guarantee you a scholarship. No matter how hard the student tries to meet all requirements and write the perfect essay, they might get rejected. If that happens, don’t be disappointed. Do not give up! Keep finding other opportunities and keep applying. Sharon Stone was awarded a scholarship to Edinboro University when she was 15 years old. If she didn’t get that scholarship, do you think she would’ve given up? No way; you can recognize a persistent person when you see one. Keep applying and keep trying.

Scholarship applications may seem overwhelming. There are too many opportunities to explore and essays to write. However, some people get the awards pretty easily. They apply and they win! That can happen for your kid, too. Devoted studying, exploring different interests, and a diligent applying process – that’s the key to winning a scholarship and working towards a bright future. Good luck! 


Today’s guest contributor is Jessica Freeman, a professional journalist and a freelance content writer at the company Australian Writings. She focuses her content writing on education, career, success, and academic topics. You can follow her on Facebook and Google+.

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