12 Most Unique College Scholarship Winning Tips

12 Most Unique College Scholarship Winning Tips

Scholarship money, aaahhh… those coveted checks that are awarded to ease the pain of college tuition, not to mention books, housing, food, and all the other expenses that come with university living. There are beyond thousands of scholarships available to students of all levels from middle school to currently enrolled college students. With so many scholarships available, why is it that most students assume they will never win one? Or worse, what about the student who has applied for oodles of scholarships and still hasn’t won any?

Believe it or not, it’s not IF you apply, but HOW you apply that may make or break your chances of winning a college scholarship. The high school valedictorian with a 4.2 G.P.A. might seem impressive, but if his scholarship application is even a day late, he will NOT win. How about the student that worked in the soup kitchen, ONCE. Is that truly helping others? Creating a scholarship application that SHINES in every way is the key to winning scholarship money. How is a student to do that? The following 12 Most unique college scholarship winning tips will get you started:

1. The early bird gets the… scholarship?

Most students will apply for college scholarships in the spring of their senior year of high school. They have already been accepted at a college and are being pressured by their parents to find a way to help pay that huge tuition bill that looms in the distance. The scholarships with fall and early winter deadlines have LESS competition simply because FEWER students apply for them. Apply EARLY and OFTEN, letting no scholarship deadline pass you by!

2. Impress right out of the envelope!

Have you ever opened an envelope sealed with extra tape, crinkled from over stuffing, and/or smudged as a result of a leaky pen or wet weather? Yikes! Using a proper-sized large envelope, sealing it carefully, and hand delivering it to the post office will give your application the extra edge over the others that seem to scream: I DON’T CARE!

3. Claim a clean email address!

cutesexybaby@abc.com may seem sweet and innocent, but the 65 year old scholarship judge will probably not think so. CarolineGSmith@bmail.com is clean, does not make insinuations, and allows the judges to read the applicants name one more time, making that student more memorable without a lot of extra effort.

4. Use the social media Grandma test!

Just like email addresses, social media usernames and postings can be searched for and seen by scholarship judges. Tweeting how you hate school, using profanity, and then announcing that you sure hope you win the scholarship you just submitted, will backfire. What is posted on the internet does not go away and students need to use social media to share their strengths, talents, good works, and accomplishments. If you don’t want your Grandma to read it, don’t post it!

5. Personalize each scholarship deadline!

Students are so busy these days with sports, extra-curricular activities, jobs, volunteering (hopefully), and academics. As you find each scholarship, make your personal deadline at least two weeks before the actual one. Submitting scholarship applications consistently early will ensure that no deadlines are missed and all required materials are gathered and included without any last minute scrambling and frustration.

6. Cash-in on local scholarships!

Like early scholarships, local scholarships have less competition. Find as many local scholarships as possible, even creating situations that qualify you to apply. Local credit union offers a scholarship? Open an account, and then apply. Is the Lions Club holding a scholarship competition but no one in the family is a member? Call them and see if someone from the local chapter will sponsor you. Be polite, eager, and excited about college and they will be more inclined to help you. You may even find out that you or a family member does NOT have to be a member to apply for the club’s scholarship.

7. Go high school website hopping!

Most high schools list local scholarships on their websites. Don’t settle for just your high school’s list, go to other area high school websites and see if you qualify to apply for any of those scholarships. You can also go to college websites in your state to find scholarships offered to any student residing in that state. Read the guidelines for each scholarship carefully, making sure you don’t have to be an admitted student to qualify to apply for the scholarships.

8. Label yourself!

Create labels with your name, address, phone number, and name of each scholarship to stick on ALL pages of each scholarship application. When scholarship judges have stacks of applications to read, pages often become separated, and trying to find the rightful owner is an easy reason for the application to get put into the reject pile.

9. Read the newspaper!

Most newspapers have a “Names in the News” section announcing local accomplishments and awards won by area residents. Start reading this section daily and write down the names of local scholarships won by students who live around you. You will soon have a very long detailed list of local scholarships to apply for the following school year.

10. Resist the urge to text-type!

Although more and more people are using texting as a form of communication, resist the urge to text-type in your scholarship applications. A scholarship judge will have NO patience for an application filled with lack of punctuation, non-use of capitalization, and abbreviations that they have to guess at. YKWIM? (You Know What I Mean?)

11. Get past the first 30 seconds!

When a scholarship judge has piles of applications to wade through, the first glance at each application can make or break its chances of being placed into the possible winners pile. Having NO blank spaces, ALL required materials in the proper order, and nice neat paperwork will keep your application out of that dreaded reject pile.

12. Know the numbers!

Unless the scholarship guidelines specify a certain income level, go ahead and apply for the scholarship if you feel you have financial need. Don’t assume you or your parents make too much money to apply. Some organizations consider any income under $100,000 as needy. Need I say more?

There’s no denying that smart students win college scholarships. If you apply for each scholarship SMARTLY, use creative methods of finding them, and submit complete and thorough applications, you will automatically increase your chances of winning.

What else can you do to impress the scholarship judges?

If you liked this article, please give it a thumbs up  in Stumbleupon. Thanks!

Featured image courtesy of stock.xchng.

Monica Matthews

http://how2winscholarships.com

Monica Matthews is the Scholarship Expert at CollegeExpertPanel.com and author of How To Win College Scholarships. When her oldest son was a senior in high school and applying to his dream school, she panicked at the thought of paying the high cost of his college tuition. Instead of relying on loans, Ms. Matthews spent her time researching what it takes to win college scholarships and developed a unique method of applying that set apart her son’s applications. As a result, he won over $100,000 in scholarship money, allowing him to go to college for free. She now devotes her time and talents helping other parents and students learn how to create winning scholarship applications.

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22 comments
Kim Phillips
Kim Phillips

Some good tips. Curious about the exclamation points on each subhead...?


scholarshipguru
scholarshipguru

#7 is a great tip, as many guidance counselors post scholarship opportunities on the school's website or include a link to a monthly scholarship flier. It's also important that students realize they can apply for scholarships well before senior year. Many are unaware that scholarships are available as earlier as elementary and middle school, but most will be open to high school freshmen and older.

AidScholarship
AidScholarship

@optimz Thank you for sharing my 12 Most Scholarship Winning Tips article!! Have a great night!! :)

dbvickery
dbvickery

Argh, went through scholarship activities with one daughter, and the next one will start next fall. Learned a lot from the first; however, I hate the FAFSA!! My oldest didn't get a dime, and she was 2nd in her class with ivy league test scores, editor of HS paper, and volunteer.

#4 is crucial, and it is the one point I constantly point out to any HS/college student who will listen ;)

Al Romero
Al Romero

Monica,

Congratulations on all your fine efforts! You truly are an inspiration for all of us.

Your Mother and I are very "proud" of you.

God Bless,

Dad

Susie Moyer Watts
Susie Moyer Watts

As a private college counselor, I am always looking for tips to help students win scholarships to pay for college. Since college has become such a major expense for families, scholarships have become an even bigger part of the financial aid process. Even though they may not always provide a lot of money, every little bit helps.

Susie Watts

http://www.collegedirection.org

1grannie
1grannie

Are these tips also for use for a student who has completed one full year of college, but is due to be dropped from her fathers health insurance due to being age 19.?

susansilver
susansilver

Great advice, here one that I wish I had known when applying for college. I only earned one scholarship and it was the one no one in my family thought I would get. I think my tip would be to lead with your passions and drive the point home about why getting the degree will meet the goals of the organization.

WineEveryday
WineEveryday

I love #8.. when my daughter would go to College fairs, she had business cards to hand out to the rep's. It was easy for the rep to follow up with her questions, and they remembered her when she went for the college visit!

#1 is so true, my daughter applied early & got big scholarship!

AidScholarship
AidScholarship

@Kim PhillipsThanks, Kim!  The exclamation points are just my enthusiasm for everything to do with scholarships showing through.  :)

AidScholarship
AidScholarship

@scholarshipguru Thank you!  High school websites are getting more and more complex and scholarships shared by guidance counselors are a great source for students.

AidScholarship
AidScholarship

@dbvickery Thanks! I am dedicated to getting the word out on the importance of #4!!! Social media is not going away and students need to learn how to use it to showcase their talents instead of giving us SMH (Shaking My Head) moments. Good luck with your daughters and keep working towards helping them win scholarships!

WineEveryday
WineEveryday

1grannie ~~ The new Healthcare Initiative that was passed includes coverage for adult 'children' up to the age of 26. Please call your HR department AND your insurance company to learn about getting your student covered!

AidScholarship
AidScholarship

Yes! There are scholarships available for all levels of students. My college junior is still applying for, and winning, scholarships! Make sure the student takes advantage of scholarships from his or her own college. Colleges offer tons of scholarship money to students who take the time to find and apply for it.

AidScholarship
AidScholarship

@susansilver You are so right about leading with your passions! When they are your true passions, your feelings come alive in the essays and are felt by the judges! Great tip!

AidScholarship
AidScholarship

@WineEveryday Congrats to your daughter! My son also had cards made and uses them for internship fairs on-campus and other occasions in which he would like to be remembered and contacted easily. Vistaprint is a great company for nice, inexpensive student "business" cards.

Kim Phillips
Kim Phillips

@AidScholarship @Kim Phillips I find it distracting and sort of RAH RAH to the point of maybe seeming spammy. In the past, 12Most hasn't allowed periods on subheads, but now !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is okay. I was going to share the post but the feel of it seemed more promotional than informational.

Kim Phillips
Kim Phillips

@AidScholarship @Kim Phillips Everybody is (or should be) enthusiastic about their product. I've always said that if it's not interesting without exclamation points, adding them won't make it interesting. Let the words speak for themselves. I would have shared the article but for that. 

AidScholarship
AidScholarship

@Kim PhillipsFor the record, it was me.  I will admit to feeling very "RAH RAH" when it comes to helping students win college scholarships.  :)

AidScholarship
AidScholarship

@Kim PhillipsI have to somewhat agree with you.  I don't remember even adding all those exclamation points to each point, but must have.  I wrote this article a few years ago and it looks like 12Most recently re-published it.  I'm going to look back at my notes because now I'm wondering if they added the exclamation points in for this new release of the article.  I appreciate your feedback!

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