As a college student, you’re bombarded with educational opportunities everywhere you look, whether it be through internships, study abroad trips or scholarships — especially scholarships. It seems like there’s a scholarship for just about everything under the sun because there basically is. There are scholarships for ice cream lovers, people who write with their left hand and even zombie apocalypse scenarios.
The good news is that you can apply for as many scholarships as you’d like. In fact, applying for multiple scholarships is encouraged because it raises your likelihood of receiving the tuition money you’re seeking. However, it can be difficult to work on multiple scholarship applications — especially if they’re extensive — while pursuing an education and sometimes even working.
The question becomes: How do you know which scholarships to apply for?
There are multiple things to consider when choosing scholarships. We’ll discuss three of them below:
Which Scholarships Highlight Your Strengths?
Are you witty? Are you a persuasive writer? Are you actively involved in your community?
These are all important questions to consider when applying for scholarships. No matter what, you will probably be required to write an essay or at least submit a video for your application. If you’re applying for a scholarship that asks you to defend your favorite ice cream flavor, you’ll need a creative mind and witty sense of humor. Everyone loves ice cream, so you’ll need to stand out from the crowd with a persuasive and clever defense. The same goes for a scholarship asking how you would survive in a zombie apocalypse.
If you’re actively involved in your local community, a local scholarship may be best and allow you to highlight aspects of your town or state scholarship reviewers may find relevant. You can use your knowledge of local needs and service initiatives in location-specific scholarships whether you live in Texas or Illinois.
How Much Time Do You Have?
As a college student, or future college student, time is a valuable commodity. Getting a transcript, letter of recommendation and essay together demands hours of time. While scholarships that ask for short essays without many other documents are worthwhile options, these lower-investment scholarships involve far more competition.
If you’re running yourself dry with classes, homework and personal obligations, you might find that it’s worth it to apply for a more extensive scholarship and a less time-demanding one rather than do multiple of both.
What Are You Passionate About?
Your essay submission will only be as strong as your connection to the topic. Find something you love to write about! It will make the time you spend working on your scholarship application far more enjoyable. The individual who reviews your submission will also be more likely to put your submission at the top of their long list of prospective winners.
In 2021, Delia Cote applied for the first annual Fox Pest Control Scholarship and received $2,000. While volunteering for Hope for NH Recovery — a nonprofit that helps people with substance abuse issues in Manchester, New Hampshire recover — Delia and her father created what they called the Post-It Project. In an effort to make each person in recovery feel loved and appreciated, they purchased close to 600 post-it notes, wrote inspirational messages on them, and posted them over three walls in the organization. Delia wrote a separate note of instruction next to the display: “Take one or leave one.”
Delia’s essay submission for the scholarship put her passion for her project on full display. Her words and the photos she included convinced the scholarship committee that she deserved their $2,000 reward.
Once you’ve evaluated your strength, time and passions, choose and then apply for the scholarships that are right for you! After all your hard work, you could be the next lucky scholarship recipient.