Do you have a student who is planning to attend college or university next year? If they’re considering applying for a scholarship, it’s an ideal time to start researching options. Check out Tutor Doctor’s tips on how to start your scholarship hunt off on the right foot!
1. Make a list of your accomplishments and interests. Try to put together a collection of achievements you are proud of, as well as personal interests or endeavors that make you unique. This can include hobbies, career interests, cultural values, community volunteer efforts, and more. Having a breakdown of your strengths and skills will help you to narrow down the search process when hunting for scholarships.
2. Start your search and sort your options into categories. You can divide your scholarships into three groups:
- University specific scholarships. Some scholarships are tied to specific colleges. If you have a list of schools or universities you are planning on applying to, this is a great place to start. When you find a university that you’re interested in, visit their website or contact the school itself to find out what specific resources are available for prospective students.
- Major specific scholarships. If you have a particular major or career path you are planning to pursue, search for scholarships associated with this field of study.
- Personal scholarships. This category not only includes other academic scholarships that don’t fit into the above categories, but also scholarships available to cultural, ethnic, and religious groups as well. We would also include scholarships that are awarded for community achievements and personal interests in this category (for example: volunteer work, performance arts, etc.).
Tutor Doctor Tip: Online research is definitely the most convenient way to look for scholarships, but don’t let that limit you! We also recommend checking out local newspapers, community events, libraries, etc. School career counselors and university student centers are also great resources for scholarship hunters, but due to public health concerns make sure to call first to verify these locations are currently open.
3. Decide how much time will be needed for each application. Some scholarships are going to take longer to apply for than others. For some options, you may only need to fill out a form. Other scholarships may require writing a lengthy personal essay or even obtaining letters of recommendation in order to be considered. Once you have a list of scholarships you’re interested in, estimate how long each will take you. You also want to consider the value of your own time – if a scholarship is going to take a long time to apply for but isn’t offering much, you might want to skip it for now. On the other hand, if a scholarship is very difficult to apply for but offers an impressive award, it’s probably worth your time!
4. Create a schedule or agenda of upcoming due dates. Once you have a general idea of the scholarships you’ll be applying for, make a calendar or agenda of dates. Different scholarships will likely have varying requirements, so it’s a good idea to keep track of important dates.
5. Brush up on your essay writing skills. As we mentioned earlier, many valuable scholarships require including a personal statement or applicant essay. It’s always a good idea to brush up on your writing skills, especially considering you may also be required to write an essay for admission to the university itself. For tips on writing applicant essays, check out our blog “Helping Students Pick A Unique College Admission Essay Topic.”