7 tips to help you find a scholarship
Scholarships are gifts. They don’t need to be repaid. There are very many scholarships out there; you just need to find them. There are a couple of tips and tricks to help you with that.
1. Start early on with applying for scholarships
The acquisition of a fellowship is often a lengthy process. Applicants should therefore contact possible donors at a very early stage. A lot of scholarships require an admission letter from the university. So also apply for a programme as soon as possible, as that application also takes time.
2. Have your documents ready
What you need in order to apply for a scholarship differs per scholarship. Often you at least need an admission letter from the university, recommendation letters, a valid passport and a resume. Make sure you have these documents ready. Specifically, think about recommendation letters, who are you going to ask to write them for you?
3. Read the fine print: meet all requirements and apply only if you meet them all
Never give up is a good advice, but your time is worth something. Scholarships are in high demand and if you do not meet all requirements, you end up in the “no” pile without even looking at your file. You are much better of spending your valuable time on searching and applying for scholarships where you do meet the requirements.
4. Sign up for scholarship search sites
Some scholarship search sites have newsletters that you can subscribe to. That ways you are always reminded of deadlines and new opportunities.
5. Have good letters of recommendation
Almost all scholarship opportunities require at least one to two letters of recommendation. Make sure you select people who can write you a solid letter of recommendation and provide specific details about your work ethic, drive, sense of responsibility, and other positive traits that would support your application. You’ll want to select people who can speak to your strengths and highlight things that make you stand apart from other applicants. Distinguishing facts might include your involvement with local charitable organizations, volunteer projects, or any type of academic success.
6. Watch out for scholarship scams
Applying for a scholarship generally does not cost money. Only a few legitimate scholarships ask for a small application fee. If a scholarship requires a fee, do some research to make sure it’s not a scam.
Be careful when a scholarship offers something like “this scholarship is guaranteed, or you’ll get your money back”. Scholarships are in such high demand that there is no legit scholarship that is guaranteed. Also avoid agencies that “do all the work for you”. It just takes time and effort to secure a scholarship, agencies that do it for you are just robbing your wallet.
The money is out there, you just have to search for it. Securing a scholarship takes a lot of effort, so don’t get discouraged when you do not get one on your first try.