Whether you’ll be entering college for the first time or are currently attending an institution, it’s never too late to keep an eye out and apply for scholarships to help fund your education. Below are some helpful hints when searching for and applying for scholarships.
1. Always start your research ahead of time: Many scholarships have deadlines in the fall to spring. While this is a busy time for most students in high school and college, you never want to wait until the last minute to apply for scholarships. You want to make sure you fill out applications correctly and in full – as well as submit your best work for any essays required. In some cases, submitting late can prevent you from receiving the maximum amount for which you are eligible.
2. Take advantage of smaller, local scholarships: There are many local, small scholarships for which you may be eligible and the competition is less. You most likely won’t be awarded that one big scholarship that will cover all your expenses. A number of smaller awards will add up and can help you cover your expenses.
3. Double check your eligibility: You don’t want to waste your time on an application that is not going to help you. Many scholarships have restrictions on who can apply. Whether it’s a GPA requirement, age or field of study, it’s important to pay attention to these requirements before you begin gathering the necessary materials and writing essays.
4. Make a scholarship plan: This step is especially important if you are applying for multiple scholarships. The best way to ensure you make the deadlines and avoid stress is to plan everything out. Focus on deadlines, requirements, and additional materials you may need to submit such as letters of reference which may take time to get.
5. Meet with an academic counselor: It is never a bad idea to schedule a time to meet with someone at your high school or college about scholarship applications. They often have insight about the kinds of scholarships that are out there for which you may be eligible – either based on your hometown, major or extra curricular activities. They can also help you gather materials and give you insights about the process.
6. Take time to write your essay: This piece really sets you apart from other applicants. If you rush your essay, don’t proofread it, and put little effort in, it shows. Since many scholarships have specific criteria, don’t simply reuse the same essay. You will need to tailor each essay for every scholarship you’re applying for. So give yourself a good amount of time to put thought into it, write, rewrite and edit to increase your chances of receiving a specific scholarship.
7. Be aware of deadlines: The last thing you want when applying for scholarships is to miss a deadline. Making a scholarship plan as noted above will help with this. Even so, keep track of those deadlines so your hard work will not be in vain.
When you begin to think about and apply for scholarships, it can seem to be a difficult and confusing process. But, it does not need to be. Scholarships are meant to help you improve the financial burden of getting a higher education. There are many out there, but with due diligence and care, you can take advantage of these opportunities to help you graduate with a degree with lower debt or even debt-free.
Scholarships At Norwalk Community College
At Norwalk Community College, the NCC Foundation awards more than $1.5 million in scholarships each year. The NCC Foundation also offers a LEAP Transfer Scholarship Program that provides financial assistance to high-achieving NCC graduates who go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree upon transferring to a four-year college or university. To learn more about scholarships offered at NCC, contact us today.