In our last blog, we shared with you how to get scholarships from colleges. Earning scholarships directly from colleges can be a great way to get a lot of free money to pay for college expenses; but scholarships also come from other areas.
In this blog article, we are going to share with you five important strategies for pursuing scholarships outside of colleges, also known as “outside” scholarships.
Use scholarship databases
Scholarship databases can be a great way to locate scholarships. Popular scholarship databases include fastweb.com, scholarships.com, and unigo.com. These scholarship databases can help you filter through the thousands of scholarships so that you can quickly find the ones that best fit you.
Be strategic in looking for scholarships
Even though the scholarship databases can be a great way to filter through scholarships fast, you still have to be strategic in selecting the ones that ideally fit you. Instead of applying for a simple leadership scholarship with one winner in a national pool, focus on scholarships where there are numerous winners and the criteria is more narrow.
For example, if the scholarship is regional instead of national, with contestants having to be in a narrow age group with a specific talent, then this scholarship might be better to apply for being that the list of participants will be much less. Instead of casting a wide net pursuing every possible scholarship out there, be more strategic in your search.
Understand what the criteria is for each scholarship
Each scholarship will be offered by a different company, organization, or private donor. Scholarships will also have different criteria. It’s important to learn about the company, organization, or private donor to learn what the values, philosophies, and mission statement are. That way you can determine if the scholarship is a good fit for you, and you can position your application more strategically.
Presentation is important
It’s not only what you write in your application, but it’s also how you present yourself. It’s important that each scholarship you apply to be well packaged and put together. Focus on presentation and attention to detail. Scholarship admissions committee members will evaluate your application not only by how what you write, but also how you present yourself.
There are thousands of scholarships available and as you begin applying to the ones that best fit you, it’s important that you have a system to organize everything. This includes which scholarships you are applying to, the deadlines, and follow-up steps. Many scholarship databases have built-in organizational systems, but you should also develop your own. You can use an Excel spreadsheet for example to keep track of everything.
There is a lot of free money available to students if you take action and pursue all of the opportunities available to you. We hope the strategies we have outlined here in pursuing outside scholarships will help you get a lot of the free money to help pay for college.
Dr. Jeff and Dr Brian Haig