Applying for Scholarships: Top 10 Tips for Success

African American students in computer lab researching scholarships.

Applying for scholarships can be the most rewarding yet challenging experience you may face as a student. Applying to college takes time and effort, but applying for scholarships can add an extra layer of stress if you are not prepared or organized. Thankfully, there is a system that makes the process of applying for scholarships easier and less stressful! This guide includes several tips that will help you figure out when to start your scholarship search, how many scholarships to apply for, and how to keep yourself on track.

1. Start early.

The earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to apply for scholarships. You’ll also have more time to research and find the ones that are right for you.

If it’s possible for your child to start applying for scholarships in their junior year of high school, or even freshman year of college, then do it! The earlier they begin, the more likely they will get accepted into some prestigious colleges because of their ability to pay for tuition through various scholarships.

2. Apply for as many scholarships as you can; apply for several scholarships.

You should apply for as many scholarships as possible.

Some people say that it is a waste of time applying for scholarships that are very competitive and require a lot of work. If the scholarship requires a lot of work, then you might get tired and give up. However, I think that you should try your best when applying for those scholarships because they may be the ones who can help pay for college. The worst thing about them is that they will not give you any money if you don’t put in enough effort!

Another reason why it’s important to apply for as many scholarships as possible is because there are more opportunities out there than just one or two! We have seen so many people who applied once or twice only, but never got anything from those applications! Don’t let this happen to yourself – keep trying until someone gives you something back 🙂

3. Make sure your grades are up to par.

When you are applying for scholarships, make sure your grades are up to par. If you’re not sure about this, ask your college counselor or even the school itself. You will want to be in a good position when it comes time for scholarship applications so that the applications go smoothly and easily. If your grades aren’t great, focus on improving them before moving on to completing any other activities like writing essays or filling out forms that require proof of academic performance. If you have good grades then you will have a better chance at getting scholarships than someone with poor ones!

4. Read the scholarship application thoroughly.

When you apply for scholarships, it is important to read the instructions and questions carefully. If a question asks you to write an essay on a topic of your choice, read the requirements for length carefully. Also, be sure that you understand what you need to do in order for your application to be considered complete. For example, some applications require two letters of recommendation from current or former teachers, counselors or employers; others may require transcripts from high school and/or college with GPA calculations attached; still others may only ask that you provide basic contact information such as name and address along with a brief essay stating why you believe yourself qualified for this particular scholarship award.

The best way to ensure that your application is complete is by reading all directions before writing anything down!

5. Create a system to keep track of your applications.

  • Use a spreadsheet or calendar to keep track of your applications.
  • Keep an eye on the deadlines for each application, and record it in the spreadsheet or calendar.
  • Record whether your application has been submitted, reviewed, and/or denied (or withdrawn).
  • If you’re waiting for a response from a scholarship committee member or organization representative, record that too!

6. Be flexible and update your application frequently.

The scholarship application process is an ongoing one. You can update your application as often as you like, but keep in mind that there are deadlines for submission, so be sure not to wait too long before applying.

When updating a scholarship application, make sure to include any new information that may be relevant. For example, if you have taken a new class or have recently changed majors (or even schools), this could affect your chances of receiving a scholarship award. If this happens, be sure to update the information about yourself on the application form and submit it again right away!

7. Be prepared to write a personal essay for each scholarship.

Personal essays are an opportunity for you to tell your story and explain why you’re a good candidate for the scholarship. It’s also a chance for you to demonstrate your writing skills and provide some insight into who you are as a person. The essay should be written in third person, so it’s best if you avoid using “I.”

You might think that this requirement is limiting, but there’s actually plenty of room for creativity when writing personal essays! You can focus on any aspect of yourself that fits with the prompt or topic they’ve given you: what activities have shaped your academic experience? What do your friends and family like about you? How will attending this particular school benefit your future career? What challenges have shaped who are today?

Think about what makes YOU unique — not just compared with other students applying for the same scholarships, but all of humanity! Remember: these essays could help get YOU into college (or grad school)!

8. Have an alternate plan if you do not receive some scholarships applied for.

If you don’t receive scholarships you applied for, be sure to ask for feedback on your application. Most scholarship providers will offer this service at no cost. This will help you know what areas you need to improve or strengthen in order to win more scholarships in the future!

If your essay was not selected, ask for feedback on it as well. Scholarship providers are usually willing to give suggestions on how they would have scored your essay differently if they had seen it before scores were finalized.

If your grades were not high enough but other factors such as leadership roles and community involvement were strong, discuss these with the scholarship provider and see if they can make an exception in cases like yours where there may be extenuating circumstances (such as a recent illness or accident).

9. Have someone proofread your essay/application before submitting it!

Proofreading is an essential step in the application process. When applying for scholarships, the essay is your opportunity to demonstrate that you are a good fit for the award and can do what it takes to succeed. It’s important that this be reflected in your writing!

For example: If you’re applying for a scholarship related to athletics/sports/activities, it’s good practice to have someone who knows about sports proofread your essay before submitting it. A friend or family member who has been involved in athletics since childhood would be ideal; otherwise, try asking someone else from your community center or gym if they’d be willing to help out (and if so, make sure they know how much their opinion matters!).

10. Applying for scholarships can be tough, but this post gives you some tips on how to succeed with the scholarship hunt!

Applying for scholarships can be tough, but this post gives you some tips on how to succeed with the scholarship hunt!

  • Proofread your work carefully. The best way to do this is by reading it out loud and having someone else edit it for you.
  • Apply for as many scholarships as possible and apply early. Most scholarships only accept about 25% of applicants so having more than one application in the running gives you a better chance at winning one!
  • Don’t forget about community service opportunities or volunteer work that could help put your efforts into perspective. Colleges are seeking students who have demonstrated leadership qualities, good citizenship and community spirit by working hard outside of school hours during high school years too: volunteering at soup kitchens or delivering meals-on-wheels might be just what we need to stand out amongst other applicants at our dream schools down south next semester!


We hope these tips have helped you to feel a little bit more confident about your scholarship application process. As we mentioned before, the scholarships with less competition are often just as valuable and prestigious as the big ones out there—so be sure to consider all of your options when making your list of applications. Having good grades and being prepared will go a long way towards helping you get the most out of this experience, so double-check yourself each step of the way and don’t worry about asking for help if needed! Good luck on your journey towards achieving financial independence through education!

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