Look Back for OpportunitiesThough high school is a distant memory, a speck on your rear view mirror, you may wish to inquire about the scholarships available to you as an alumnus. Many schools still offer financial opportunities to students even though they may have graduated. Contact your former guidance counselor or simply ask the guidance office. Consider reapplying for scholarships that you have attempted to secure in the past. You may still be eligible for some of the ones you previously applied to, and if so you’ll likely be able to use many portions of the application from the year before, saving you time. If you know a teacher who specializes in the subject you’re studying, they may know of paid internships or work opportunities that could add to your resume.
Look to Your College for ScholarshipsConsult your college’s financial aid page for scholarship options, especially those specific to your major. As an international student, you may have fewer options within the university. However, many scholarships cater to students studying outside the US, usually by region. Pay specific attention to your major. Intra-department scholarships may be available and will likely have far less competition than broader ones.
Plan and Search at HomeWith so much free time, you should likely set a schedule for the rest of the year in regard to your scholarship options. Many scholarships you may find will not be due for a few months. Despite bookmarking them, you may forget to apply after so much time. To make sure your application is submitted, create a calendar of due dates. That way, when semester two becomes busy, you won’t forget to submit the application.
Save Time on Your ApplicationsMany scholarships ask similar questions, such as those that inquire about your reasons for studying your major or the extent of your community service. Oftentimes, a standard essay can be employed for multiple scholarships. As you encounter different word limits, you can tailor this essay to suit the word or page count. Aside from saving time, this method ensures that your essay will be the best-written essay possible. You’ll be more likely to succeed in your application with a revised, well thought out essay. Also, most scholarships will have standard questions- your name, college, major, etc. Filling out these forms may be time-consuming, but the questions require little thought or effort. Therefore, work this chore into your relaxation time. As you watch a movie or eat dinner, fill out an application or two. However, if an open response question arises, don’t be lazy. Every aspect of the application counts, so anything that’s not clear-cut should receive your full attention.
Stay Positive to Stay FocusedAfter several applications, you’ll hopefully have a strategy for scholarship applications. Don’t let the first few difficult questions discourage you. Additionally, you will not win every scholarship you apply for. From the over eighty applications I sent in, I only won five scholarships. Despite the odds, scholarships are immensely helpful. The money from those five scholarships was essential to paying my college tuition. I spent much time applying for scholarships, but it was definitely worth it. With an entire winter break before you, I suggest you invest the effort and time as well.
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