No one is going to track you down to give you a scholarship; you must do the legwork yourself. So when you find awards with eligibility criteria that you can meet, contact the provider and request a scholarship application packet. Whether you have to request the application via email, phone or by sending in a self-addressed stamped envelope, DO IT. There's just no other way to get the ball rolling than to take the initiative and be assertive in requesting information.
Most scholarship providers set deadlines, and you must adhere to them. Make sure you submit all required all materials well before the deadline. If the scholarship deadline is approaching and you have not yet received the application packet that you requested earlier, follow up with the provider and request the application packet again. You do not want to miss a deadline, as few scholarship providers will consider late applications.
Good organizational skills can pay off: literally!
- Keep your scholarship applications ordered by deadline date.
- Give yourself plenty of time to complete and send them in well before the due date.
- Keep letters of recommendation and transcripts on hand so you don't have to obtain new ones every time they are required for an application.
- Make copies of your completed scholarship applications before sending them in, and file them in folders labeled with the deadline date and the mailing address and phone number of the scholarship provider.
- Call before the deadline to see if your application was received in good order. If it got lost in the mail (glitches happen), you still have an extra copy you can send in.
The scholarship search process doesn't happen overnight. You must be diligent about looking for new scholarships to apply for. Plan to spend several hours each month reviewing the programs with deadlines approaching, preparing application packets, and getting your applications in the mail on time. Then the cycle should begin again:
- Find scholarships that you're eligible for
- Obtain application information
- Apply in an organized, timely manner.
Finally, believe in yourself and in your chances to win scholarships. Hard work and time spent on the scholarship process will pay off eventually. Keep your chin up and think about how great the reward will be if you can win even one of the scholarships you're trying for! After all, your education depends on it!