Congratulations on taking the leap into furthering your education or planning for someone else in your life! Whether you’re planning on going to graduate school or planning for your child, this is an exciting journey, and it’s natural to have concerns about the financial aspect of school. But don’t worry, I want to ensure scholarships are your secret weapon to making this dream a reality without breaking the bank. I’ll walk you through the when, how, and where to apply to make sure you can focus on your studies.
Step 1: Get Into Research Mode
Start by researching your field of study and scholarships that cater to your specific demographics (i.e. gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity). Next, explore the opportunities within programs you have applied to, such as scholarships associated with your school. Lastly, consider scholarships that are aligned with your hobbies and interests. Get creative, there are scholarships offered for hobbies that you may have, such as painting, writing, or even bowling, that could help with your overall tuition bill. Utilize online scholarship databases, such as Fastweb, Scholarships.com, Peterson’s, and College Board. Be sure to prospect university resources and professional organizations to find new opportunities. However, be cautious of scholarship scams and never pay a fee to apply for scholarships. Legitimate scholarships should not require any payment.
Step 2: Curate Each of Your Scholarship Applications
Now that you have your list of scholarships you plan to apply to, read the application requirements closely. You’ll want to craft your essays, entries, and recommendation letters to mirror the scholarship’s requirements. Think of your scholarship applications like a resume; each job you apply to has its nuances, so you will need to adjust to those subtleties application by application. Don’t be afraid to pour out your experiences, dreams, and why you’re the perfect candidate for the scholarship. Be sure to let your personality shine through!
Step 3: Get Organized
The time to start is now! Ideally, you want to start your scholarship hunt about a year before you plan to start your graduate program. Why? Because scholarship deadlines usually fall between November and March. This gives you enough time to research, polish your applications, and submit them without the last-minute frenzy. Put your scholarship deadlines onto your calendar and set aside time each week to work on your scholarship applications.
Applying for scholarships might seem daunting, but remember that every step you take brings you closer to your goal. By researching diligently, personalizing each application, and staying organized, you’re setting your scholarship journey up for success. Persistence pays off! Rejections are a part of the process but don’t get discouraged. With the right mindset and a proactive approach, your work will pay off.
All written content is for information purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of Zenith, unless otherwise specifically cited. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by our firm as to another parties’ informational accuracy or completeness. All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with an advisor, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation.