All aspiring college students dream of winning a scholarship. The prestigious awarding of scholarships may be a rare occurrence, according to common knowledge, but that doesn’t make it an impossible feat to achieve. Whether it’s a one-time scholarship, a full-ride, or a renewable one, they are all equally important and can save you a considerable amount of money.
In order to win a full scholarship, students have to prepare just as diligently as they would for their college admission. This means that they’ll have to properly research all available college scholarships, make a clear plan that will include the requirements, deadlines, and overall expectations that they must meet.
In this article, we’re going to take you through the 7 steps of finding and winning a full scholarship. Let’s get to it!
- Understanding the Difference Between Scholarships & Grants
According to statistics, more than 1.7 million private scholarships and fellowships are awarded, with a total value of more than $7.4 billion. Scholarships might as well be the Holy Grail of American college students. We’re basically talking about free money being offered thanks to one’s talents and excellence. Keep in mind that scholarships are awarded based upon merit. When students excel, they have higher chances of securing a scholarship.
Meanwhile, the eligibility for a grant has nothing to do with merit. It has everything to do with financial needs. Low-income students are encouraged to submit as many details about their financial situation as possible with the help of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA.
Do keep in mind that some scholarships might require a FAFSA application as well. It’s important to do extensive research on the exact requirements.
- Finding the Right Scholarship
The best way to find the right scholarship is to check out the website of the college one wants to apply to. They can also use external sources such as FastWeb. Students have plenty of options to choose from and should take their time to weigh them.
Making sure that applicants match with several scholarships increases their chances of winning one. Also, look out for scholarship scams. Applicants will never have to pay money to win a scholarship. It only works the other way around. Finding trustworthy sources should be the main goal whensearching for scholarships. Also, financial literacy should definitely help avoid several scams.
- Paying Attention to the Requirements
Students should create checklists with the requirements for each scholarship they’ve applied for. That way, they will know exactly what is expected of them so that they won’t be caught off guard.
It goes without saying that extracurricular activities, volunteering, various other talents, and social endeavors will help an applicant get ahead. Paying attention to the details always works out in one’s favor.
- Being Aware of Deadlines
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Nobody wants to apply for a scholarship while being pressured by time. It’s best that students prepare early on for their desired scholarships by taking their time to fill in the applications correctly, doing their research beforehand, and making sure that they’re aware of how inflexible scholarship deadlines can be.
It’s best to submit an application well ahead of the deadline. Why? Because it secures one’s place among other applicants and might help make a statement about one’s levels of discipline and punctuality.
- Nailing the Scholarship Interview
It’s common sense that scholarship interviews can be nerve-wracking and intense for a young one. However, they should reflect on possible questions that might occur. Why do you deserve a scholarship? Tell us a little more about yourself. What are your strengths? Weaknesses? What’s your career goal? They’re all valid, important questions to ask oneself.
By being mentally prepared for the interview, the students will be less likely to stutter, get mind blanking, and ultimately make a not-so-great first impression. Dressing appropriately is also an important detail.
- Writing Wholesome Scholarship Essays or Cover Letters
Just like a college application, scholarship applications require either an essay or a cover letter. A student should make it their mission to come across as coherent, expressive, attentive to details, and as dedicated to great storytelling as possible.
Spelling and grammatical errors should be avoided at all costs. Proofreading multiple times should do the trick. However, we recommend that students ask their friends or family to proofread the text as well. Sometimes, applicants get so used to the text as a whole that obvious flaws simply don’t catch their attention anymore.
- Securing a Full Scholarship
As African-American people, we should all be made aware of scholarships that are dedicated to our community, as well as to first-generation college students. For example, The Gates Scholarship provides the full cost of attendance for minority, high school seniors that come from low-income households.
This particular scholarship exclusively targets African-Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans. Full scholarships are a sign of excellence and speak of a desire to showcase one’s merits. Although most full scholarships are highly selective, it’s important to keep in mind that such dreams can indeed come true.
The Conclusion Is…
Scholarships might not be easy to win, but they’re not impossible either. In order for a student to get their hands on a full scholarship, they need to do plenty of research, be on time with the deadline, have a stellar essay or scholarship cover letter, make an outstanding first impression, and lastly, understand how to properly secure their dream scholarship. We are confident that even more African-American students will get scholarships from now on!
We’ve created a great tool that will allow students to successfully apply for their desired scholarship. Meet the ScholarPrep Organizer! It is specially designed to help students get a better understanding of each section of the application and keep all relevant materials in one place! Get yours today and you’ll be surprised to find out that winning a full scholarship is indeed possible.