If there’s one thing college applicants should know about applying for scholarships, it’s that sooner is always better. When students start preparing early, they have a much better chance of getting great scholarships than those who wait until the last minute. Students can even benefit from thinking about scholarship applications as early as sophomore and junior year.
Here are some of the best ways to maximize your chances of securing scholarships early.
Do research on your scholarship options now.
Investigating scholarship opportunities early on (and carefully taking note of all deadlines) will give you more time to fill out applications and do what’s necessary to become the best candidate possible. Many scholarships require demonstrated interest and/or achievements for a student to be eligible, so it’s a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to scope these out and work on fulfilling these requirements.
Start getting relevant and meaningful experiences to include in your scholarship application.
Seeking out social, academic and work-related opportunities is a great way to beef up your scholarship (as well as your college résumé) and show sponsors that you’re a worthy applicant. Volunteering is especially impressive on a scholarship application, as it shows that you are socially conscious and that you care about making a difference in your community. Other worthwhile activities include student government, debate, the arts, part-time jobs, internships, athletics and academic clubs. Getting involved in activities like these communicates to sponsors that you are passionate and active in your community.
Your grades matter when it comes to scholarship acceptance!
Of course, doing well in school should always be a top priority. Many scholarships are academic-based, and all sponsors want to choose students with demonstrated interests in their education, as this indicates that they will succeed in college. Earning good grades, getting involved with academic opportunities at your school and securing great letters of recommendation from your teachers are all excellent ways to show sponsors that you’re a top-notch student.
Guidance counselors at your high school can help you start your search for scholarships.
A major part of a high school guidance counselor’s job is helping students find and apply for scholarships. Visiting your guidance counselor can result in a wealth of opportunities and information you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Guidance counselors can also help you gauge your eligibility for scholarships and can give you valuable tips on how to become a better candidate.
Apply to more scholarships than you think you should.
Even among the most accomplished applicants, the decision to give a scholarship to one student over another can be like a roll of the dice. Because of this, it’s a good idea to apply to as many scholarships as you reasonably can — even small ones can make a big difference as you plan to fund your bachelor’s degree. A surprisingly good way to find scholarships is to look to your parents’ employers — many companies offer scholarships to children of employees.
In addition to scholarships, it also helps to research other financial aid opportunities offered by the particular colleges you plan on applying to. Marymount University offers a wide variety of undergraduate scholarships for students of many backgrounds and interests. Following these tips and getting started on scholarship applications early will help you in financing a college education.