If applying for scholarships feels like a super daunting task right now, that’s probably because you’re in the early stages of the process. Combing through college resources, filling out forms, penning essays, and shooting videos. It sounds like one giant headache, doesn’t it?
At this stage, you probably have all sorts of questions, like where do you look for college scholarships? What kind of scholarships are out there? What is a need-based scholarship and how is it different than a merit-based scholarship?
Take a deep breath! To help you save a bunch of time and frustration, we’re diving into all your most-pressing scholarship questions.
1. So, Is Niche Legit or Not?
While searching for college scholarships, you may have stumbled upon a website called Niche. Formerly known as College Prowler, Niche gives away $2,000 in scholarships each month — no essay required.
IKR? Your cramped hands could positively weep with joy at the idea of not having to type up another scholarship essay. Well, good news! Niche is 100 percent legit and people really do win each month. While you definitely should be on the lookout for scholarship fraud (better safe than sorry), rest assured that Niche scholarships are the real deal.
2. When Should I Start Applying for Scholarships?
The sooner the better! Although colleges generally have similar deadlines for accepting scholarship applications, this isn’t necessarily true for all of them. You can apply for scholarships year-round. The key to winning more scholarships is simple: apply early and often. Don’t let up — not even after you get into your dream college.
3. What Kinds of Scholarships Are Available?
Literally, so many! You’re probably most familiar with the idea of merit-based scholarships, which are scholarships given to students based on their academic achievements (i.e., having amazing grades). The second most-popular type of scholarship is a need-based scholarship, which is awarded to students based on their financial need.
Other types of scholarships include creative, sports, major-related, first-generation — the list is endless. Don’t know where to begin your search? Start local. You’ll have a higher chance of winning because the scholarship has a smaller pool of applicants.
4. What Should I Submit with My Application?
The short answer: anything that makes you look good or stand out. Include details that will make funders want to choose you over another applicant. Do you have unique interests that are related to your studies? Add them in there. Remember: This is your chance to shine!
Don’t forget to read the application instructions carefully and include necessary documents such as transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, etc. You may also want to keep SAT and ACT scores handy if you can’t remember your scores.
5. Got Any Tip for Writing a Killer Scholarship Essay?
How much time you got? If you’re serious about crafting a killer essay, pay attention to your writing. Don’t repeat the essay prompt in your essay. Avoiding saying “I am” on repeat. Proofread your stuff. Don’t skimp on the details, especially when it comes to your leadership activities. Or, you know—you could just apply to Tallo’s no essay scholarships (we offer two each month!) and skip the essay writing altogether. You can find ‘em under the opportunities tab in your Tallo profile. What are you waiting for? We promise, it’s super easy!
6. This Is Tedious AF — How Do I Make It Go by Faster?
Many organizations and colleges tend to ask similar essay questions. To save yourself some time, you can use your previous scholarship essays as a starting point. Don’t copy it word for word. Even though scholarship essays are similar, they usually have a few important differences. Be sure to tailor your previous essay to meet the specific requirements for the new one.
7. I WON! What Do I Do Now?
Go to Disneyland! Just kidding. But in all seriousness, the first thing you should do after being awarded funding is to sit down and write a scholarship thank you note. Not only is it a courteous thing to do, it also makes the donor feel good — and when donors feel good, they continue giving their support.
If you’re raking in the donor-funded scholarships, avoid using the same letter for multiple donors. Take the time to write a thoughtful note to each one. If you have good handwriting, a handwritten note is a nice gesture. Just make sure it’s legible!
Don’t Give Up
When it comes to applying for scholarships, keep in mind that it might take a while to see the fruits of your labor. Be patient! You’re not guaranteed to win. But one thing is certain: You’ll never win unless you apply!