Let’s face it: college isn’t getting any cheaper and loan rates are rising whether we like it or not. Why not alleviate some of that unnecessary stress by applying for scholarships to help pay for your education now? Need a kick in the pants to get started? Keep reading on to learn where to begin, get tips from the pros and apply for some very unusual college scholarships!
Where to begin
By filling out a quick profile on Scholarships.com you can begin your search for that money! The website does its best to connect you with scholarships you’re actually eligible for, but isn’t perfect and you’ll need to do some narrowing down. For example, in the time it’ll take you to read this post, you could have already applied for the Zinch Weekly Three-Sentence Essay Scholarship. The current one, “One of Robert Frost’s most famous poems tells about a man who takes the road less traveled. Tell about a time when you also chose the less-traveled path,” takes just a few minutes to submit.
Consider beginning your search in your college or university’s website. If you’ve already declared a major you may want to go straight to that department website to check for area-specific scholarships and awards. Oftentimes, departments will require just one application and essay for multiple entries (score!) and you can save time while applying for as many as you’re eligible for.
Tips from the pros
“If you have to pay money to get money, it’s probably a scam,” Michelle Singletary quotes author Mark Kantrowitz in her March 13, 2011, post for the Washington Post, “Get real on scholarships.” Kantrowitz is the author of Secrets to Winning a Scholarship and advises students and parents not to apply for scholarships that cost money. He also advises that you apply for every scholarship you’re eligible for. Be realistic though, and consider focusing your energy on local scholarships with a smaller amount of applicants, and thus a larger chance that you’ll win.
If you really want to win that scholarship you’ve spent hours working on, here are ten things not to do when applying, as compiled by Scholarships.com.
- Mail the envelope without the application enclosed
- Submit an incomplete application
- Forget to include your name and/or address
- Submit an illegible or unintelligible application
- Send the application with insufficient postage
- Submit irrelevant or inappropriate supporting documentation
- Submit a dirty or stained application
- Apply for an award when falling short of the minimum requirements
- Make a number of spelling errors
- Be rude or abusive to the judges
Unusual scholarships: Do you qualify?
Don’t have a 4.0 or parents who are veterans of the military? Not to worry — you may be eligible for one of more unusual scholarships available!
- If you’re a woman and at least 5’10”, or a man and 6’2” or above, you could qualify for the Tall Clubs International scholarship! Only catch, you must be under 21 years.
- Is your last name Zolp? Nope? Mine either. But, if it is and you’re Catholic, you may consider checking out Chicago’s Loyola University to accept your scholarship!
- Speak Klingon or another language? The Kor Memorial Scholarship awards a student who is pursuing a degree in language studies.
Now that you’ve got a few tips to get started, what are you waiting for? Begin your search! And, please, do your English teacher proud and have someone proofread your application before you submit.