How To Find A Scholarship That Is Right For You

Let’s face it, paying for school is expensive. Whether you’re going to school in-state or you’re pursuing your education away from home, paying for it is quite costly. Luckily, there are a few different options out there that will help you afford the costs. The most common ways are student loans and scholarships. Student loans are a great resource and while we won’t talk about it much in this article, you should definitely check out our guide to federal student loans for more information on them.

Another great resource for taking care of your school expenses are scholarships. One of the main differences between scholarship and student loans is that you’ll never have to pay back your scholarship like you would with student loans.

The only qualm with scholarships is that they can be much more difficult to obtain than student loans. While many people qualify for scholarships, not everyone is picked to receive the money.

Here’s Self Lender’s official guide to finding a scholarship that’s right for you.

Anyone Can Get a Scholarship

There’s a common misconception that you need to have near perfect grades to receive a scholarship. While that can be a big factor for some scholarships, not all scholarship providers use it as a deciding factor.

“New students don’t realize that there are countless businesses out there that create scholarships,” says Eric Brantner, founder of Scribblrs.com. “These scholarships are often essay-based. You write an essay that turns heads and you win. Now, keep in mind these scholarships are usually smaller (around $1000), but they’re much more accessible to the average student.”

One such essay-based scholarship is awarded right here at Self Lender. Our founders give away a $1,000 scholarship each year as a way to give back and to inspire the next generation of collegiate entrepreneurs. For more information check out SelfLender.com/scholarship.

Apply to Scholarships that are Specific to You

You’ll want to apply to scholarships that are specific to your skills and qualifications.

Ashley Hill, scholarship specialist and College Prep Ready, urges students to search for scholarships that are specific to students interest and skills because it will be easier for students to write on subjects they know and the process will be less stressful.

“The best place to start with searching for scholarships is on the local level. Students have the highest chances of winning scholarships on the local level because the competitive pool of applicants is lower than with national scholarship opportunities,” recommends Ashley. “I encourage students to search on local, city, county, and state levels when searching for local scholarships to make sure that they leave no scholarship dollars on the table.”

Use Every Scholarship Resource Available

You can use scholarship database websites as a good starting point for your scholarship search. Most of these websites have filtered search features that will help you find scholarships that are specific to you. These search features will speed up the process of finding scholarships that fit what you like and what yo know.

Some free online scholarship services that you can use are:

You can start by answering all the optional and required questions to find matches on these scholarship matching services, recommends Mark Kantrowitz, Publisher and VP of Strategy at Cappex.com. “Do not neglect the offline world. Look for small local scholarships on bulletin boards outside your guidance counselor office or the jobs and careers section of the local public library,” recommends Mark.

Finals Tips

Make sure that when you’re applying for scholarships that you pay close attention to the specific details of each one. It’s important that you know the due dates, eligibility rules, and exact prompts, as not knowing can result in a waste of your time.

“For example, some scholarships are need-based. In that case, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and some require that you be a full-time student,” says Scott C. Miller, director of public relations & marketing at Central Community College in Nebraska.

It’s also important for scholarship winners to know the details about obligations they must meet when they are selected to receive the money.

“For instance, it is not uncommon for scholarship winners to meet their benefactors either at a formal gathering or informally at various events,” says Scott.

Bottom Line

By using our guide and tips from experts, you’ll be more likely to be chosen to receive a scholarship. Remember to apply for scholarships that are specific to your interests, local to your area, and make sure you’ve read everything concerning the submission dates and all materials required for the application.

Now, get out there and find your future!

Written on July 7, 2016

Self Lender is a venture-backed startup that helps people build credit and savings. Comments? Questions? Send us a note at hello@selflender.com.

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