In this article, we are going to discuss everything there is to know about college scholarships and ways to win them. Just like you would prepare for college from an educational perspective, you need to think about the costs involved in that education.
For those of you who are coming into this process with no experience, let’s start from square one.
What is a scholarship?
A scholarship is a financial award to help cover a student’s education expenses. Due to the high cost of college, many high school students are constantly wondering how to get a scholarship.
It’s not as easy as putting your name in an application and hoping you win, though. You have to earn a college scholarship with a well thought out application or essay or portfolio submission. There’s no one way to apply for a scholarship, and every one of your applications should be unique, but there are ways to make sure each application reaches a high standard.
How to Apply for Scholarships
To apply for a scholarship, follow these steps:
- Know where to find scholarships - Basically, there are two types of scholarships – private and institutional. Private scholarships are provided by various organizations that are not related to schools. Institutional scholarships are awarded by colleges or universities. You can contact the financial aid office of the institution that you plan to attend to learn more about the institutional scholarships that they offer. You can also ask your high school guidance counselor for a list of local scholarships for high school students. Finally, you can search for scholarships online, at resources such as Fastweb, College Board, or Scholarships.com.
- Make sure you fit the criteria - When choosing a scholarship, pay attention to various types of scholarships that you can qualify for. For example, there are GPA-based scholarships, athletic scholarships, scholarships for families with low income (these are not the easiest scholarships to get), service-based scholarships, or scholarships offered by special organizations, e.g. for children of employees of specific companies.
- Prepare and fill in your application - Carefully review the requirements and, again, make sure that you meet the qualifications. For example, some scholarships can be limited to specific fields of study, demographic groups, or geographic regions.
- Write an essay - Many scholarships require their applicants to write an essay. The topic of the essay is typically related to your reasons for getting this scholarship, your performance in high school, or your opinion regarding the issues facing your community.
- Ask for recommendations - Scholarships often require letters of recommendation from teachers, school administrators, employers, or adults who you interact with regularly, but not your close friends and relatives.
- Be comprehensive - Include any extra information as needed, such as standardized test scores, financial aid forms, parents’ financial information, proof of eligibility (e.g. membership credentials), medical records for student and parents, military records for student and parents, and/or job and career proof for student and parents.
That is how to find scholarships and apply for them. Now we are going to share some scholarships tips that will increase your chances of actually winning a scholarship.
How to Win Scholarships
- Start early - Wondering when to apply for scholarships? Start applying as early as possible. Most students typically apply in spring of their senior high school year. But it is possible to start earlier, for example, as a high school freshman or even in middle school. As a result, you will get familiar with the process and learn how to get scholarships for college in the early stages.
- Apply for as many scholarships as possible – The more, the better. You can make copies of applications and re-use most of your scholarship essays. This will allow you to save time and get more chances for a scholarship. However, the scholarships you think you have the best shot at should be tailored specifically to those scholarships.
- Don’t be afraid of essays - Scholarships that require essays can scare off many students and thus reduce competition. If you are hesitating about whether to apply for a scholarship with an essay requirement or not, you should stop hesitating and apply. If you take some time to write a compelling essay, you will have a greater chance of winning the scholarship.
- Make your application stand out - Little things like design and font can work miracles, as visual perception is also important for those who will be reviewing your application. Besides, if the reviewers see how much effort you have taken to apply for their scholarship, they will be impressed and may become more favorable towards your application.
- Get volunteering experience - Many scholarship providers are nonprofit organizations, which are committed to helping others. Therefore, they are looking for applicants who commit time to volunteering and give a huge advantage to students with solid volunteering experience.
- Take advantage of your existing skills and talents - Being a talented writer, actor, musician, athlete, artist, etc. can also influence your chances to win a scholarship. Most scholarships are geared toward your talents, knowledge and skills. Again, you can browse websites such as Fastweb for more information on talent-based scholarships.
- Participate in extracurricular activities - Extracurricular activities and programs like STEM summer camps will not only improve your scholarship applications, but also help you unlock new skills. These new skills, in turn, will also increase your chances of getting noticed. For example, JKCP summer camps offer a range of pre-college summer programs for high school students that may also be useful when to start applying for scholarships.
JKCP Pre-College Programs That May Help
Here are some JKCP pre-college programs that may help give you experiences before applying for scholarships:
If you want to be more confident, this program is exactly what you need. It offers an immersive academic experience for high school students on the premises of Yale University. As a participant, you will take an interactive rotation of academic enrichment classes built to teach you the topics and skills needed to work on a group sustainability project.
With your group, you will create an initiative focused on sustainability and select a topic related to an environmental issue facing our local or global communities. At the end of the session, your group will showcase the work during the Project Symposium.
Enrichment is a perfect option for students who want to try several different things. The participants can create their own summer schedule by choosing one morning course and one afternoon course from 30+ classes across subjects spanning the arts, sciences, fashion, fitness, engineering, and much more. The Enrichment program works great for those who are thinking about how to win a scholarship and get additional instruction in areas that still need improvement. For example, if you want to pursue a career in writing but have problems with STEM subjects, you can choose Writing as a half day class and Engineering as your other class.
The Enrichment program is located at Villanova University. As a pre-college summer program student, you get to experience life at Villanova. From meeting your new roommate, walking to class on the beautiful campus, eating in the dining halls, and taking classes in the historic buildings, you will get a taste of what life as a college student is really like. You will love the modern facilities, air conditioned dorms, snack shops, WiFi and state-of-the-art athletic spaces.
Now You Know The Basics of How To Win A Scholarship
The next step is simple — you have to go out and apply for scholarships. For prospective college students, what kinds of college scholarships do you hope to win and do you have any advice on winning college scholarships to share with your peers?
We’d like to hear your answers. Please use the comments section as a forum for discussion.