When I attended my sister’s high school graduation a few weeks ago, I got to hear about all the scholarships her classmates had obtained. Obviously, there were a lot of entrance awards and bursaries given out by universities – probably the most common type of scholarship out there – but imagine my surprise when the MC announced that a girl had won a scholarship worth a thousand dollars just by being the patient of a local dentist! It just goes to show that you can find scholarships just about anywhere – if you know how to look for them. Here are some tips on how to hunt for those elusive awards!
1. REMEMBER: IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE GRADES!
A lot of kids get disheartened after seeing the requirements for a scholarship at many universities, but it’s important to remember that a good GPA isn’t the defining factor for many other scholarships. Awards are given out all the time for more than just high grades. Extracurricular or volunteer activities, athletic success, and leadership positions – all of these make you eligible for a host of awards, so don’t lose hope! There is a reward for your accomplishments.
2. CHECK YOUR PROSPECTIVE SCHOOLS!
Universities have a multitude of scholarships available to their potential students. Not all of them are extremely competitive, either; entrance bursaries and scholarships are commonly gifted to many incoming students on the basis of financial aid, merit, and/or grades.
3. SEARCH THE WEB!
Pretty self-explanatory; the Internet is the go-to resource for at least starting your list of eligible scholarships. To help narrow down the options, searching for local awards or awards that cater to some of your achievements (for example, athletic scholarships if you’re an athlete) is always a good idea.
4. USE YOUR NETWORK AND CONNECTIONS!
The Internet will probably give you a decent number of possible scholarships to apply for, but there’s also your local network that you can tap into to seek out potential awards! Ask your parents, your parents’ employers, your family members – anyone and everyone! It’s a great way to find scholarships that aren’t posted online, which means less people may have heard about it.
5. ASK AN ADVISOR OR COLLEGE COUNSELOR!
Advisors or counselors usually have a database of local scholarship opportunities available to a variety of students. Set up an appointment with them to talk about your strengths and achievements and, hopefully, they’ll be able to provide you with a list of awards you’d be eligible for!
6. START AS EARLY AS YOU CAN!
It’s never too early to start compiling your list of scholarships! Many awards are offered every year, with exactly the same requirements and qualifications, so you can start on your applications for them as soon as you find them. It’d also be a good way to set goals to work towards before you finish high school – whether it is better graded, a more embellished list of extracurricular or volunteer activities, or some other form of experience – if you use the requirements of the scholarships you find early on as a basis.