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Enhance Your Scholarship Winning Skills

Enhance Your Scholarship Winning Skills

It’s all about the hunt for money that isn’t yours, the money that will fund your dreams and who doesn’t love the competition?

Alison Graham

January 23, 2014

To those who clicked on the link to read this article, I thank you. You have assured me that I am not the only one who gets very excited about scholarships and I am not as crazy as I once thought.

As you can tell, I love scholarships. It’s all about the hunt for money that isn’t yours, the money that will fund your dreams and who doesn’t love the competition?

Unfortunately, the biggest scholarships have the fiercest competition and, let’s be honest, most of us could use some help with sharpening our edge.

Here are some tips about how to win over that tough panel of scholarship judges:

The Essay

So many scholarships have essays and they are usually the hardest part of the application – and the most important.

A good essay is your key to winning, which is obviously why we start here.

1. Write about something unique.

I recently listened to an NPR broadcast about college admissions essays and the host had a guy on air who reads them for Georgia Tech.

His best advice: don’t do a mission trip essay. When the scholarship readers pick that up, they guess exactly how it is going to end and what it is going to say.

Of course it was a great experience, and of course it changed you forever, but it is too common. You want and need them to remember you, and the best way to do that is to be unique.

Try writing about a funny story from your childhood, why you hate your middle name or why your birthmark is an important part of your identity.

This doesn’t mean you get to be silly. Try to be serious, but different.

2. Ask someone to proofread it.

There is no way that you should submit an essay that only you have read!

I do admit that I have done this multiple times and I can tell you that I have never won those scholarships.

Please, I beg you, get someone to read it: your mom, dad, sister, cat, anyone! (OK not your cat. Trust me, it doesn’t work.)

The Process

1. Apply to as many scholarships as you can.

My mom and I have a favorite saying that goes: You can’t win if you don’t buy the lottery ticket.

Although a little weird and quite telling of my mom and I, it does apply here.

You can’t win that scholarship if you don’t even apply.

So just go for it!

2. Do it for yourself.

Don’t apply for a scholarship because your parents want you to, do it because you want to do it and win the money for your own education.

Trust me, the judges can tell if you actually care about the scholarship and they want to give the money to kids who actually want it.

The Obvious

1. Actually put effort into it.

Enough said. (This section is called “The Obvious” for a reason)

2. Follow the directions.

Double spaced? Check.

Mailed to the correct address? Check.

Again, obvious.

Good luck with those scholarship applications. I know you will all do swimmingly writing about your birthmarks.

And, as always, may the odds be ever in your favor.


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