So you’ve chosen your career path, submitted your college applications, and you’re looking forward to attending your dream school – congrats! Now there’s just one more little detail: paying for your higher education. Chances are your parents put some money away to save for this very day. Even if they did, they might not have saved enough; or, you might want to pay your own way. One of the best ways to get financial aid is in the form of scholarships.
Scholarships are provided by the school you’re interested in attending (or already are attending), third-party organizations and non-profit groups, and the government. Regardless of where you get your scholarship, they all have one thing in common: you don’t have to pay it back. These are essentially ‘free money’ awards that go toward your college tuition.
Sounds pretty good, right? Not so fast: they aren’t given to everyone. You have to apply for a scholarship, and the review process is thorough and comprehensive. Simple errors on your application can hurt your chances of winning. Here are four mistakes to avoid in order to have the best chance of winning that scholarship and moving forward with your college program:
- Using the “apply to everything” method: Some students apply for every scholarship imaginable hoping someone will give them a scholarship award. While this will increase your volume of applications, it will not necessarily increase the chances of you winning on. A better method is to apply for scholarships that play to your strengths. Artists, for example, should seek out scholarships that allow them to showcase creative abilities; students involved in community service should seek scholarships that allow discussions about dedication. Whatever your strength is, search for scholarships that allow you to let your passions shine through.
- Not proofreading: The competition is fierce and simple, preventable errors are enough to make you lose out. Always proofread your own work and then have a friend, family member or teacher proofread it for you. It’s critical to ensure that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes on your application or essay.
- Submitting an incomplete form: Review the scholarship’s instructions thoroughly to make sure you have followed them to the letter. Some scholarships request extra paperwork such as transcripts or reference letters. If you don’t include them with your application, it will quickly get looked over for an application that is complete.
- Letting your grades slip: Some scholarships are known as ‘renewable,’ meaning that students receive money each year. In order to receive the money, you’ll have to meet the eligibility requirements – one of those requirements is usually to maintain a certain grade point average. If you let your grades slip it’s possible that your scholarship could get revoked. When you qualify for a scholarship, the government or third-party needs to know that you are serious about your education. They are going to want proof that you are a responsible student who wants to continue the right path. The study, keep your grades up and don’t give them a reason to revoke it.
IDS Honor Society can help you find ways to pay for your education via scholarships. Visit the website today to learn more.