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How to Apply for a College Scholarship

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College isn’t getting any cheaper. So, wouldn’t it be great if you could have some - or all - of your school costs paid by someone else? College scholarships aren’t just handed out to anyone. They’re reserved for a special few. If you think you will pass muster, you need to know the best ways to apply for scholarships so you can take part in higher learning on someone else’s dime.

Look Early, Look Often
- You should take the carpet bomb approach to your scholarship search. Start the search early, and don’t leave any stone unturned. Doing so will give you the ability to investigate as many opportunities as possible, and avoid missing early deadlines. That said, you don’t want to apply for every scholarship you find. There are only so many hours in the day, and a finite amount of scholarships that fit your profile.

But First Things First - before you even look for a scholarship, you need to run a tight ship with your studies and personal life. If you don’t have the goods in the first place, what’s the point of knowing how to apply for a scholarship? Maintain a high GPA; the higher it is, the more opportunities there will be available. And while you’re at it…

Stay Busy With Extracurricular Activities - You should also be involved with extracurricular activies, whether it’s in sports, a club, or some type of community service. It’s a great resume builder for prospective scholarships.

Don’t Give up if Your Grades Aren’t Great - Scholarships are most often based on academic achievement, but there are other criteria as well. They might depend on athletic or artistic merit, community service, extracurricular activities, or on a skill in a non-academic discipline.

Write an Essay
- Not all scholarships require one, but go for the ones that do, since they receive fewer applicants. Be sure to thoroughly proofread your essay before submitting the application. And remember to keep a copy on your computer, since you can make small changes for possible future applications. Before sending off your packet, have someone with good editing skills take a look at it.

Fill Out Everything - Once you get to the point of filling out an application, pay attention to details. Make sure to fill it out completely. It seems pretty simple, but don’t underestimate its importance. If you leave anything blank, you can be overlooked. Even if a section doesn’t apply, indicate so. When you’re done, make a photocopy for your own records.

Be Honest, But Not Too Honest
- We don’t want you to lie, but there’s such a thing as being too honest. That is, if you are asked about your “biggest weakness,” don’t go on and on about it. Find a way to tell the truth, but soften the blow.

Don’t Waste Time or Money - If a scholarship sounds too good to be true, you’re probably on to something. Live by one simple rule if you are suspicious of an offer: If you have to pay money to get money, it’s probably a scam.

 

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