If you are getting ready to start college in the fall as a freshman, or even if you're a current college student, you'll want to search for scholarship opportunities that will help you fund your education. We all know that the cost of a college education is higher than many can afford, but scholarships are a great source of aid to bring down that final total.
Scholarships are in high demand, but there are lots of opportunities available out there. Sometimes scholarships are limited to certain ethnic groups, family members of employees at certain corporations, etc. However, there are still lots that are available to anyone, with certain criteria to meet such as minimum GPA and essays to be written. We’ve put together a list of 4 different tips to help you put your best foot forward when searching and applying for scholarships . Take a look!
1. Actively Search for Opportunities
Waiting for scholarship opportunities to pop up is not the way to go. Talk to your high school college counselor! They get sent scholarship applications and announcements all the time and often have access to sites where you can search for various available scholarships. Be sure to start early within your senior year of high school as application deadlines will vary based on the organization that offers it. If you’re already in college, talk to your professors, other students, your advisor, etc. You can even check with the Admissions or Financial Aid office. If you don’t ask, you won’t know.
2. Turn In the Application Early
Many of us are used to waiting until the last minute to complete projects, papers, etc. When it comes to scholarship applications, you should be turning it in early! Not only do you want to avoid any setbacks that could keep you from getting your application in by the deadline (mailing delays, technical difficulties, etc.), but some organizations will contact you if you turned in an incomplete application and give you the chance to make sure all the components are turned in by the deadline. If you wait until the last minute, your application would be automatically thrown out for being incomplete.
3. Check (and Double Check) Your Application
What do I mean by this? I mean to be absolutely sure that your application is completed and fulfills all of the requirements before submitting. While some organizations may give you the chance to fix it (if it’s turned in early), many will not and you’ve just spent time filling out paperwork and writing essays for nothing because your application won’t be considered. Take your time and read through the requirements, which should be clearly stated on your application form. Create a checklist if you need to and be sure that each requirement is checked off before submitting it. If there’s a requirement on the application that doesn’t seem clear, don’t be afraid to call the organization and ask for clarity. It’s safer to ask and it shows initiative on your behalf.
If you turn in an application/essay with grammatical and spelling errors, chances are you won’t be earning that scholarship. What does it show that scholarship committee about your work ethic if you didn’t take the extra time to comb through your work for any errors? You may even want to have someone else help you proofread your work just to be sure. Sometimes the longer we look at our own writing, the easier it is to miss errors. Take that extra time and be sure you are turning in quality work.
Scholarships are free money to use towards your education, but it does take work and initiative to put together a great application that will be considered by the respective scholarship committee. Always be honest in writing about yourself and your experiences. Even non-academic experiences can be influential in an essay when it explains how it has impacted your life and potentially shapes your future. Just remember to follow the tips above to help you turn in the best application that you can. We wish you the best of luck in your scholarship search!
Did you know that HFS has a scholarship program? The Credit Union is offering seven (7) $2,500 scholarships to graduating Big Island high school seniors. Applications are available now and can be downloaded, or picked up at any branch location. Hurry, applications need to be postmarked or turned into any branch by February 28, 2019.