Navigating the Scholarship Landscape: Best Practices for Finding and Applying to Scholarships.

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Scholarships are a great way to help offset the cost of higher education. The average student leaves school with over $30,000 in debt, according to Scholarships are awards that do not have to be repaid and can help students pay for their education without taking on more debt than necessary.

Identify what types of scholarships you are eligible to apply for.

The first step in the scholarship application process is to identify what types of scholarships you are eligible to apply for.Say’s Dr. Julian Mitton, this means determining what your interests are, who you are as a person and how those things align with the goals of different organizations that offer scholarships. There are many different types of scholarships available for students, including:

  • College-specific or school-sponsored scholarships
  • State-based programs
  • National associations or organizations offering awards based on membership (such as Rotary International)

Get organized and create a plan.

Before you can even begin to think about applying for scholarships, you need to get organized. The first step is to create a plan that includes all the sources of funding available to you and your family. This includes:

  • Your school’s financial aid office (they may have scholarships available or be able to help).
  • Your parents’ employers (some offer tuition reimbursement programs).
  • Organizations you’re involved in at school or work (many companies sponsor employee organizations).

Keep track of deadlines.

Keep track of deadlines.

You can’t apply for a scholarship without knowing the deadline, so it’s important to keep track of all of your deadlines. There are two ways to do this:

  • Use an online calendar or checklist that allows you to enter the information in advance, then reminds you when it is time for action (e.g., Google Calendar)
  • Ask someone who knows about scholarships and what they require (e.g., guidance counselor)

Follow the submission process carefully.

Follow the submission process carefully.

There are many reasons why scholarships are not awarded, and one of them is that students fail to follow instructions. In order for you to be considered for a scholarship, you will need to submit an application that meets the stated criteria. Follow all directions carefully and be sure to read all materials in their entirety before completing your application. If there are any questions or concerns about anything on your application (such as eligibility requirements), ask someone at your school’s financial aid office or talk with someone who has applied before you (like an admissions counselor).

Apply early and apply often!

The best way to find scholarships is to apply early and apply often. The earlier you start researching scholarships, the more likely it is that you’ll find one that fits your needs.

Apply for a few scholarships in January, then again in February–and keep going until the end of summer! It’s not uncommon for students who apply later than March or April not only miss out on their first choice scholarship but also don’t receive any offers at all because they didn’t have enough time to complete all their applications before deadlines closed.


To be successful, you need to be organized, diligent and persistent. The key is to start early and apply often so that you don’t miss any opportunities. By following this advice, you’ll be well on your way toward finding the money for college tuition!

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