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Tips from a Scholarship Winner

Before financial aid, loans, and grants, scholarships are the best thing to help you pay for college fees because it's basically free money!

Christina Alfaro

September 30, 2014

Tips from a Scholarship Winner
If you are anything like me, scholarships seem nearly impossible to win. Up until recently, I believed this to be true, but was proven wrong when my sister won a $500 scholarship from the Sylmar's Women's Club. “Personally I had never heard of someone winning a scholarship before and was in complete shock when I received an email informing me that I had won,” said my sister, Amanda, a first time scholarship winner.

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Although college is one of the most beneficial opportunities you can take part in to better your future, it certainly takes a toll on students' financial state. Before financial aid, loans, and grants, scholarships are the best thing to help you pay for college fees because it's basically free money! There is no stress of having to pay it back and it definitely greatly helps you leave college with less or possibly no debt.

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Of course, many people are aware of the benefits of scholarships but what they are not aware of is how simple it can be to win one. After pondering what it takes to actually win scholarships, I decided the best way to figure out what were the best tips to win a scholarship were from a winner. Luckily, I happen to have a scholarship winner on speed dial - my sister.

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Approach winning a scholarship with determination and dedication.

“I’ve applied for scholarships, at most, twice and, fortunately, I actually won. That does not go to say that winning scholarships will come with ease. You really have to be determined to win because the next person most likely needs and wants scholarship money as much as you do,” said Amanda, when asked about how difficult it was to be successful. Odds are you may not win the first, second, or even third time, but eventually you will be successful if you are truly dedicated and put in the effort. If you let one time determine whether you ever apply again to another scholarship, you will be missing out potential financial assistance.

Putting in the time will pay off.

In short, applying for different scholarships could be pretty time consuming, especially when it involves writing an essay. When asked how to look past the time issue, first hand scholarship winner Amanda shared, “It’s not easy to sit down in front of a computer for an hour or more and enter in information repeatedly only to be let down when you don’t win, but it will truly pay off and will feel greatly rewarding the day you receive a letter or email informing you of good news.” If the scholarship is simply entering information about yourself, you have it easy. Although when the scholarship calls for an essay, make sure it is of your best quality work, even if it takes time. This leads me to my next tip.

Repurpose essays for different scholarships.

Many scholarships often have the same writing prompt, which allows you to use your essays more than once. As long as your essay is of your own work, with your own original thoughts, there is no fault in simply putting to use hard work.

Whatever you do, don’t give up!

Lastly and most importantly, be persistent and apply for as many scholarships that you are qualified to apply for. There are all sorts of scholarships, from racial oriented scholarships, to photography challenge scholarship. “There are scholarships for all types of people out there; I’ve even seen some for single mothers going back to school. If you look hard enough, anyone could find one just for them,” said Amanda. I hope that with using this advice, you Fastweb users could be successful in your scholarship endeavors.

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