Scholarship Tips and Information

  • Scholarships, or "free money", are an attractive way to pay for college because you don't have to pay them back.  Scholarship awards range from a few dollars to covering the full tuition bill.  Scholarships are offered by many organizations that include federal and state governments, employers, high schools and colleges, religious groups and professional associations.

    Requirements

    Each scholarship has different requirements and uses different criteria to select the recipients. The most common requirements are academic performance, athletic achievement, financial need, religious affiliation, minority status, heritage, community affiliations, or any unique set of criteria that the providing organization may deem necessary to award the scholarship.

    Keep in mind as you investigate the different scholarships that you may be required to write an essay, pass a written exam, or complete a project demonstrating your potential.  There may be scholarships that sepcify how the funds must be used, set time restrictions for disbursing the funds, or set a ceiling on qualifying family income.  Some scholarship funds may be paid directly to the college. 

    Failure to meet certain requirements could jeopardize your ability to keep the scholarship.

    Scholarship Essays

    Many scholarship applications require you to write at least one essay.  These essays are usually shroter and take less time to wirte than college admissions essays.  The personal essay is critical to winning a scholarship because it lets the selection committee get to know you beyond your grades, test scores, and activities listed on the application.  It is also your best opportunity to make a strong and lasting impression.

    Good essays captivate readers and encourage them to care about you.  A good essay takes time to put words on paper and finesse each sentence to convey the correct meaning.  While there is no right or wrong way to write a great essay a good scholarship essay is original, states clearly why you deserve to win, has a main point, avoids meaningless information, is more than just a sob story and is honest.

    Remember

    Stay on top of deadlines and gather all pertinent documents.  Make copies of everything you submit and send applications by certified mail to ensure receipt.  Don't exaggerate your grades memberships, skills or qualifications.  Proofread your entire application, including your essay!  Typing errors and missing materials can cost you a scholarship.  Ask a parent, teacher or counselor to read your application.  Send in everything that is required for each scholarship.

    There is no magic formula for applying and receiving a scholarship but if you do the following you will be on the right track:

    • Be organized
    • Be honest
    • Follow instructions carefully
    • Proofread your application
    • Checking the Counseling Center link Scholarship Bulletin