The 10 Best Methods to Secure a Scholarship
After the stress of applications and GRE testing, it’s disheartening to have to suddenly shift your focus towards figuring out how to finance your education. Fortunately, with a bit of planning, you can make graduate school affordable by applying for scholarships. Keep reading to find out the best ways to make sure you can secure scholarships and earn free money!
1. Have A Story
Most scholarship applications ask you to briefly describe any challenges you have overcome and how they have better prepared you for school. Spend a few minutes brainstorming about your life and thinking of how to best explain your experiences.
2. Be Honest
Scholarship selection committees want to hear YOUR story, not a made up story! It can be easy to want to exaggerate to make your application seem more impressive, but this is morally wrong and even illegal! The New York Times reports that, in 2008, a Yale student was arrested after it was discovered that he had lied on his application to the prestigious Connecticut university. It is always better to be slightly less impressive and honest rather than impressive and a liar.
3. Earn Good Grades
Of course, excellent grades are needed if you want to earn scholarship money. Make a study schedule, stay focused throughout school, and meet with your professors often to ensure you earn the highest GPA possible. Never settle for less than your best!
4. Be Involved
Grades are important, but so are extracurricular activities. Find a few activities that you are passionate about and then pursue them to the highest levels. Value quality over quantity and always look for leadership positions.
5. Apply For Specific Scholarships
Oftentimes, scholarships will be designed for a certain type of student. For example, there are many scholarship funds for students with certain college majors, ethnicities, or even disabilities! Think of what makes you unique and then search for scholarships based on that. For example, if you took a GMAT prep course this year, you could try applying for this scholarship from MBAInsight.com.
6. Apply for Everything
While you should apply for scholarships particularly geared towards you, you should also recognize that the hardest part of winning a scholarship is filling out the application. If you are qualified for a scholarship (even barely), try applying. If you are looking for “easy” to apply for scholarships, you may want to try this short list. Also, no essay scholarships are no brainers as well!
7. Dress for Success
If the scholarships you’re applying for require an interview portion, be sure to look the part. Monster.com offers some great suggestions about how to dress for an interview so that you can express yourself while still nailing all the questions you’re asked!
8. Talk to Former Recipients
If you’re applying for a scholarship with a large prize pool, it may be beneficial for you to talk to some former recipients. Ask them what they did best on their application and try to emulate that on your own.
9. Keep Looking
The search for scholarship money should not end once you start classes. There are awards available for students in nearly every level of education, so keep applying for scholarships until you have no more tuition left to pay.
10. Be Yourself
As cliche as it sounds, being yourself is really the easiest way to secure scholarship money. Keep your sense of humor, tell your story well, and work hard so that you can get the best financial aid package possible!
Now, you’re on your way to securing a scholarship! The best part is scholarships could add a boost to your resume, so don’t forget to tell prospective employers and graduate mentors about your success. A scholarship not only means you can worry a little less about finances, but you can also show your smarts and commitment to education.