Time is money, they say, and you’ll need to spend plenty of time to earn scholarships. Many students are intimidated by the time commitment that comes with scholarship hunting. After all, you’ve got to balance that with the college search, studying for the ACT or SAT, participating in extracurricular activities, doing regular school assignments, and then pesky personal things like eating and sleeping. Who has the time?
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you manage your scholarship time and efforts.
Start Looking for Scholarships Early
You don’t have to be a second-semester senior to apply for scholarships. In fact, there are scholarships out there available as early as elementary school! Start hunting ASAP. The earlier the better, as scholarships can really stack up and help ease your financial strain.
Dedicate Time to Looking for Scholarships Consistently
Pick a time for scholarship hunting and stick to it. It can work within your schedule—an hour on Wednesday nights when you don’t have soccer practice or Boy Scouts meetings. A half hour on the weekends between ACT tutoring and speech competitions. Whatever works for you, set aside time to look for scholarships regularly.
Only Apply to Scholarships You’re Eligible For
This might sound like a no-brainer, but you should only apply to the scholarships you’re qualified for. And that means entirely qualified. If you match up to all the eligibility requirements but have a 3.4 GPA and they require 3.5, do not apply. You’re wasting your time.
Focus Your Scholarship Search
There are scholarship opportunities for just about anything. Academic prowess, athletic talent, interesting hobbies, causes, religion, race, important causes, extracurricular activities, intended majors, and plenty more.
Pick a few things that fit you, and use those to drive your search. Want to be an environmental scientist? Look for scholarships that deal with Earth Sciences, STEM, or your particular field within environmental science! Do you really love trivia games? There are general knowledge trivia scholarships out there!
Cultivate Your Essays
A number of scholarships may require you to submit essays, but if you’re applying to 5, 10, 25+ scholarships then writing that many essays is unfeasible. Instead, write a few essays that cover common prompt topics and then instead of writing a new one, simply edit an essay, tailor it to this specific scholarship, and submit.
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