Education costs are at an all-time high, and landing the right scholarships could be the difference between spending years paying off debt…
… or graduating debt free.
Applying for (and winning) scholarships is thus one of the most important skills you can learn. Actually, it’s a combination of several different skills: you need to master the scholarship fundamentals, figuring out which scholarships to apply to, and perfecting the good old-fashioned scholarship essay if you want to consistently be granted scholarships.
And to keep your motivation high, we have included several case studies.
College Scholarships Today: How the Game has Evolved
There was a time in college scholarship history where you could send out the same essay thousands of times, sit back and watch the money roll in. Those days are long gone.
Today, most colleges and universities feature a long list of scholarships you can apply to. And the ease with which you can find these means, that the scholarship givers receive a record high number of applications, that you need something special to stand out.
However, this also mean that if you do stand out, you can easily apply to hundreds of scholarships.
Because it is easy to apply for a large number of scholarships and once you’ve written one fantastic essay, writing the next one gets easier.
And once you have nailed that interview, nailing the next one gets easier.
When you learn to land these cream of the crop scholarships, the rewards are huge: you will be invited to scholarship recipient dinners, very influential people will back you and give you career advice and perhaps most importantly…
… you can graduate college debt free.
Here’s how to use this guide: Click one of the chapter links below to jump to your desired chapter. The chapters are organized sequentially – so you can actually use this as a checklist too!
If you have never applied for a scholarship before – or you are looking to brush up on the basics – these resources will help you get your process off on the right foot. You’ll learn why you should even apply, what types of scholarship there are and how to apply for scholarships.
- Five reasons why scholarships are essential
- Types of scholarships
- What you need to apply for a scholarship
- How to write a winning scholarship essay
How to organize your way to success
You know there are millions of scholarships out there and just getting started can be very intimidating. The first and most boring key to receiving those scholarships is the old-fashioned tool, organization. Here are some incredible resources that will help you organize your way to success.
- Organize your scholarship search with this free spreadsheet [Lav dette selv]
- Organizing your scholarship search
- How to stay organized during the scholarship application process
- How to organize your volunteer history on a scholarship application
- Stay on track with a scholarship application organizer
Getting ahead of your competition by starting early
You have just been accepted to the college of your dreams so now would be a good time to start applying for scholarships?
The answer is you should apply basically as soon as you know you are going to college. Below are some fantastic resources that will show you why you should start your college scholarship research as early as during your sophomore year in high school.
- When should I start applying for college scholarships?
- 11th grade: College Planning Timeline
- The best scholarships for Juniors in High School
- When should High School Students start applying for scholarships?
- High school students should begin during their sophomore year
Finding scholarships, you can apply to
You know how important scholarships can be and you are organized and good to go.
But how do you figure out which scholarships to apply to? And going a step back, how do you even find these scholarships.
There are a lot of good resources out there to help you and below we have listed the best.
- The financial aid office at the college you wish to attend. Most universities also have a financial aid webpage with links to scholarships students can apply to.
- The above also goes for your high school, if you are still in high school.
- The U.S. Department of Labor’s FREE scholarship search tool
- Federal agencies have a good overview for people with special needs
- Scholarships to apply for now
How to write the attention grabbing, scholarship winning essay
If you only focus on one area in your scholarship search let it be the scholarship essay. The strength of your essay will be the single most important factor that help students win scholarships.
- Grab the reader!
- Eight steps towards a better scholarship essay
- Scholarship essay tips
- Hints and Tips for Writing a Good Scholarship Application
- How to write a scholarship essay
- A Student’s Guide to Writing a Scholarship Essay
Stuck on the essay? Find inspiration through these great sample essays
Now you know all the basics on scholarships. You know how and when to apply and you have a full spreadsheet of college scholarships you will apply to.
However, you are probably still unsure about what to write. To help you alleviate this problem we have listed a collection of the best sample essays below.
- How To Write A Scholarship Essay – Examples
- I Need a Sample Essay to Win a Scholarship
- Essay sample from San Francisco State University
Acing the scholarship interview
According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. While an interview is not public speaking per se it comes darn close. For many people, the mere thought of participating in an interview to get a college scholarship results in sweaty hands.
However, by preparing yourself for this you can get ahead of the competition. And because most people like you get cold sweat just thinking about the interview they do not even apply to these scholarships.
So, do not make that mistake. And while you are at it, check out these awesome tips that will help you get through the interview.
- 5 Tips for successful scholarship interviews
- How to answer common scholarship interview questions
- Sample Scholarship Interview Questions
- Good tips for the scholarship interview: Questions and answers
Incredible Case studies
Nothing beats a case study to show you what’s working. Here are some amazing case studies from people who did the hard work and got multiple college scholarships. Here you’ll see how other people levered organization, applying early and their essay to drive serious scholarship money their way.
- I Graduated Debt-Free with $40,000 in the Bank. Here’s How
- How I Graduated from College … Totally Debt-Free
- How I Graduated College Debt Free
- How to Get a $100K College Education and Graduate Debt-Free
These resources are really the tip of the iceberg – but in our opinion they are the cream of the crop!
Got your own favorite scholarship guide that we overlooked? Or do you have another perspective?
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.