“Quick Tips” to Nail Scholarships!
I feel the frustration
of thousands of high school seniors who don’t know how to work the scholarship
circuit. It’s not like high school
students have handbooks or take classes in how to strategize and map out
scholarship winnings, right? So, I
created this “quick tips” guide to help you nail this process!
Tip One – Get your Ducks in Row. You’ll need electronic
and hard copies of your most recent official transcripts, and at least three
letters of recommendation. You’ll also
need mailing labels, and lots of 9x12” envelopes. Although most scholarships have already moved
to an online application process, there are still many organizations that
require you to mail your docs with a given post-mark deadline. Be ready.
Additionally, get a professional email address and use this address
exclusively for scholarship applications.
Using an email like pap[email protected] or [email protected]
is not appropriate for scholarship applications! Finally, get a conservative outfit pressed
and ready to go for interviews. Many
times you’ll be notified with very short notice for an-person interview with a
scholarship panel. Don’t get caught off
guard – run to Ross or Marshalls and get a simple black and white (or grey and
white) uniform. Tip: don’t wear spikey 4”
heels or tennis shoes!
Tip Two – Create a Basic Spreadsheet.
Scholarships have different deadlines and required materials. To make this process as simple as possible,
you need to document the scholarships you’ve identified as “contenders.” List them by deadline date, or alphabetical –
whichever is easiest to manage. Use this
as your “check off list” so you don’t miss deadlines!
Tip Three – Start Local, go National. Your best
bet to nail scholarship dollars is to start with local organizations. I’m talking about your town’s Rotary Club, Toastmasters,
Kiwanis, Key Club, Chamber of Commerce, and even local city utilities (gas and
electric, phone company, etc.). Run to
your high school counselling center where they typically post flyers or have
updated guidebooks with listings of local scholarships. Tip – Many national organizations will have
local chapters, such as LULAC.
Tip Four – Prioritize by Odds. It’s
logical that your odds of winning a local scholarship are much greater than the
competitive national scholarships, yes?
Your biggest mistake is spending lots of time focused on these national
competitions where your odds are low, versus investing time in the local
opportunities where your odds are high. Secondly,
review the eligibility criteria to assess your odds. Does your experience and GPA make you a strong
candidate? I’m not recommending that you
don’t apply to competitive, national scholarships! I’m saying to weigh the pros and cons,
calculate your odds, and invest your time in those with the most likely payout.
Tip Five – Beware of the Time Wasters &
Scammers. I’m not a fan of national clearinghouses like
Fastweb. In all of my years of coaching
students through the scholarship process, I’ve yet to meet any student who has won any of these gimmicky type
scholarships. You’ll recognize these as
the “no essay scholarship” or a “lottery” type not associated with any academic
criteria. These are essentially
marketing sites where you’ll be required to register and create a profile. Also, any scholarship organization or websites
that requires you pay a fee to apply for the scholarship is going to be bogus. Learn more about scholarship scams and traps at [Scholarship Traps].
Read the fine print. There are many scholarships that require you
to work for the organization after you graduate from college! Yikes.
Unless your goal is to work for Hertz Rental Car Company, or spend two
years working for a national defense contractor, you’d better make sure you are
not getting more than you bargained.
If you enjoyed these tips, like this page or share on FB or Twitter! To read more of my tips regarding college admission or writing Personal Statement or Scholarship Essays, see my books here:Quetzal Mama Books on Amazon
Stay tuned for the next blog article regarding tips on nailing the scholarship essay! Good luck -- Quetzal Mama
Posted January 14th, 2015 by Quetzal Mama