National Scholarship Month is sponsored by the NSPA to raise awareness about scholarships. The goal is to educate future college students on scholarships and encourage them to look for free money to cover their college education.

November is National Scholarship Month, making this the perfect time to ramp up your knowledge about scholarships. But what exactly is National Scholarship Month? What happens during this time and why does it matter? How do I start looking for scholarships? We answer all of these questions and more so you can maximize the benefits of scholarships and earn some free money to pay for college.

What Is National Scholarship Month?

National Scholarship Month is sponsored by the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA). The intention behind this idea is to set aside at least one month in the year to raise awareness about scholarships. Although most current and future college students would likely have heard about scholarships, many students don’t exploit this resource fully. This may be due to several different reasons, from not understanding how they work to believing in the many scholarship myths floating out there.

National Scholarship Month aims to remove these prevailing obstacles and encourage students to look for free money to cover the cost of their college education.

Why Does It Matter?

College tuition is expensive for most American families, and financing a college education can be exceptionally stressful. And, the cost of college keeps increasing every year (although it has leveled out this year compared to last).

While taking student loans is a convenient way to get money to cover the cost of tuition, the cost of borrowing can be high. More often than not, students take more than 10 and sometimes even 20 years to clear their student loan debt. And by the time the debt is cleared, they would have paid several times more than they borrowed because of the accrued interest over that period.

Scholarships offer a less expensive alternative to getting money for college without the high-interest rates. Scholarships are completely free. All you need to do is put in the effort to find opportunities you qualify for and submit an application.

Every year, organizations of all sizes offer scholarships for various reasons. Unfortunately, many students don’t fully understand how scholarships work and leave millions of dollars of free money on the table.

During National Scholarship Month, the National Scholarship Providers Association increases its efforts to educate and encourage students to apply for scholarships. At College Raptor, we’re committed to doing the same.


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10 Important Things to Know About Scholarships

1. The Number of Scholarships You can Apply to Is Almost Limitless

There’s no limit to the number of scholarships you can apply to or the amount of money you can win. This makes it worth spending time and effort looking for and applying to as many opportunities as you can. Use these tips to apply to as many scholarships as you can during National Scholarship Month.

2. It’s FREE money.

Whatever money you earn is yours to keep. You don’t need to return any of it nor do you have to pay any interest on it.

3. Eligibility and Terms Vary by Scholarship

Every scholarship has specific eligibility requirements and terms and conditions. Don’t give up if you don’t qualify for the first few opportunities you come across. As you keep searching, you’re sure to find several scholarships that you are eligible to apply to.

4. Scholarships are Available for all ages and Education Levels

There are scholarships available for every education level, from scholarships for high school juniors to scholarships for master’s programs and everything in between.

5. There are Many Types of Scholarships (Need and Merit Based)

Not all scholarships are reserved for athletes or students with good academic grades. You can find hundreds of unique scholarships listed on College Raptor, none of which have anything to do with grades and scores. Didn’t find anything on that list you can apply to? Here’s another list of unique scholarships and one more.

6. Look for Scholarships Early (And Often)

Start looking for and applying for scholarships early. Make sure to note application windows and deadlines for submissions. When you find an opportunity you qualify for, work on your application and submit it as early as possible.

Don’t wait until the last minute as you’ll have so many other things to do and the deadline could slip by, causing you to lose out on the opportunity. Organizations do not accept or consider any applications that come in after the deadline.

7. Have a Good Mix of Scholarships That You’ll Apply For

Your scholarship list should include both, large and small awards. While larger awards are wonderful to win, they tend to be more competitive and harder to win. On the other hand, smaller awards are less competitive and easier to win. Ultimately, every scholarship dollar you win means less you’ll need to take out in student loans.

8. Read the Fine Print

Read through the instructions carefully. Comply with all guidelines and formatting if specified. The ability to follow instructions is one of the factors the panel will take into consideration when assessing your application.

9. Not All Scholarships Require an Essay

The most time-consuming part of applying for most scholarships is the essay. If this is acting as a deterrent to looking for free money, don’t let it. There are many easy to apply to scholarships that don’t require applicants to write an essay. All you need to do is spend a couple of minutes filling out your details and submitting the application. The winner is then chosen through a lucky draw, which means all applicants have an equal chance of winning.

10. Don’t use the same essay for all scholarships.

Yes, writing a scholarship essay can be time-consuming. After all, the essay is often used as the deciding factor when comparing two equally matched applications. That means you want your essay to be outstanding.

When you’ve taken the time and trouble to write a winning essay, it’s tempting to submit it to multiple scholarships. Don’t do that. Every scholarship that requires an essay will have a different prompt. Your essay needs to answer that prompt and it should be unique. Taking shortcuts and submitting a common essay to several scholarships could cost you free money.

READ MORE >> “Why Do You Deserve This Scholarship?” Tips and Samples

How To Start Your Scholarship Search

We recommend navigating and applying for scholarships in 6 important steps:

  1. Always apply for FAFSA first.
  2. Find scholarships that interest you and that you are eligible for. An efficient way to start your search is by exploring a good scholarship database.
  3. Make note of the deadlines.
  4. Collect your recommendation letters.
  5. Write your scholarship essay.
  6. Submit your completed application on time!

With more than 17,500 scholarships listed, College Raptor’s Scholarship Finder tool is a great place to start your scholarship search. You can find scholarships of varying amounts based on various criteria, from need-based and merit-based awards to scholarships for nontraditional students and more. Start your search now during National Scholarship Month and bookmark the page you can return to it and look for scholarships throughout the year.


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