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Navigating the Infinite Scholarship Search

If you meet the qualifications, go for it; don’t waste time calculating your chances!

Paige Sheffield

January 31, 2014

Navigating the Infinite Scholarship Search
When I started applying for scholarships, I searched constantly. I just couldn't miss out on seeing every possible scholarship available. And while it’s good to keep up on scholarship information, I was forgetting something important: applying. As I searched and searched and searched through scholarships, I used up time that could have been spent applying for a few of them. I didn't want to just apply for a few; I wanted to apply for a ton, so I kept searching. But in the midst of that, I applied for even less.

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Here are some tips for navigating through the seemingly infinite scholarship search: 1. Aim High It’s easy to see a scholarship and think I’d never win that. But the truth of the matter is that you don’t know for sure and you have absolutely no chance of winning if you don’t apply.

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Sure, the chances may be slim, but you still have a chance. If you meet the qualifications, go for it; don’t waste time calculating your chances. 2. Read the Guidelines You wouldn’t want to write three essays and ask for two letters of recommendation only to find out that wait… you don’t go to a New York City public school.

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3. Don’t Disregard Long Applications
See, you could apply for that one scholarship. But, it requires letters of recommendation and essays and a log of all your service hours. Some applications may seem absolutely ridiculous, but that only means that these scholarship providers are looking for a lot, and a candidate like you could be what they’re looking for. 4. Make a List In the midst of college applications, school work and everything else, scholarship deadlines could slip right past you without you even realizing it. Make sure you keep a list of the scholarships you plan to apply for and highlight the ones that are the most important to you. 5. Know What Works For You Applying for absolutely every scholarship available is time consuming, and while it seems ideal, it could possibly reduce the quality of your work (or the quantity of your sleep)! Maybe you love making videos; search for scholarships where you can put your passions to use. Of course, apply for other types of scholarships, too, but don’t set your goal on applying for every single scholarship that you qualify for. 6. Keep Your Accounts Updated So you were looking through scholarships on Fastweb only to see that your profile still says you’re a high school sophomore…oops. 7. It’s (Not) All About the Money Even if you didn't get a high financial aid package from your college, you can still apply for some need based scholarships. Yeah, someone with more financial need might be a preference, but that doesn't mean you have no chance. 8. Apply, Apply, Apply Above all, don’t just scroll through websites. Don’t just make lists of scholarships and update them weekly. Don’t just read essay topics and qualifications. Though it may seem productive, it’s actually very counterproductive; by the end of your search, you’ll complete less scholarship applications than you would have if you just took it all one step at a time. The amount of scholarships available can be overwhelming, but you have to start somewhere, rather than trying to approach all of your scholarship matches all at once. Don’t worry about whether your ideas are as good as everyone else’s; you don’t know what other people are submitting, so don’t try to guess. Someone out there will think your ideas are fantastic. But only if you allow people to see them.

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