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12 Awesome Scholarships to Apply for in Alabama

Alabama isn’t just known for its Southern lifestyle and downhome cookingit’s also known for its renowned universities! Top schools like the University of Alabama and Troy University attract thousands of students per year…but the cost of attendance doesn’t come cheap.

For example, at the University of Alabama, one of the largest public school in the state, in-state students can expect to pay $10,780 for tuition while out-of-state students pay roughly $28,100. Similarly, in-state student at Troy University pay around $7,584 per year for tuition while out-of-state students pay $15,168. Keep in mind that tuition prices vary from school to school and depending on if the institution is public or private. Luckily, scholarships can help ease the burden.

Benefits of Scholarships & How to Apply

The best part about winning scholarships? The money is yours to keep and you never have to pay it back! Plus, there are thousands of scholarships out there for all types of people in all different situations. But where can you find them?

The best place to start is Going Merry! We match you with the scholarships you qualify for and then allow you to apply directly through our site to save you time and effort. The next step is to speak with your high school guidance office or college financial aid office. They’ll have plenty of info on local scholarships and awards that you qualify for.

For more information on applying to scholarships, check out our step-by-step guide and our expert tips on making your scholarship application stand out from the rest.

scholarships in alabama

12 Scholarships in Alabama

1. CollegeCounts Scholarship

These scholarships in Alabama are awarded to first-time freshmen who demonstrate financial need and a strong desire to make a difference. Applicants must be Alabama residents and must enroll in a college or university within the state. Four-year students receive $4,000 while two-year students receive $2,000.  

Amount: $2,000 to $4,000

Provider: Office of State Treasurer

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) U.S. Citizen, (b) Residency in Alabama, (c) Plans to enroll in a Georgia college or university, (d) Financial need, (e) Minimum GPA of 2.75. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

2. The Two-Year College Academic Scholarship

Not based on financial need, these Alabama scholarships are a great opportunity for students with a knack for academics. These generous awards cover full tuition plus books for students attending an accredited two-year school within the state.

Amount: Up to the cost of full tuition + books

Provider: Alabama Commission on Higher Education

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, Two-Year Community College Students

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) Academic Achievement, (c) Attending a public, two-year institution in Alabama. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

3. Linly Heflin Scholarship

Designed for Alabama women pursuing a four-year degree, recipients of this award receive $6,000 per year for four years or until graduation (whichever comes first).

Amount: $6,000 per year (Up to $24,000)

Provider: Linly Heflin Unit

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Female, (b) Residency in Alabama, (c) Plans to pursue a four-year degree, (d) Financial need, (e) Minimum GPA of 2.5, (f) Minimum ACT of 23. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in alabama

4. GEAR UP Student Scholarship

High school students who participated in the GEAR UP program are eligible to apply for these full-tuition scholarships in Alabama. Applicants should be intending to study at a technical or community college within the state.

Amount: Full Tuition

Provider: Gear Up Alabama

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) Intention to attend an Alabama technical or community college, (c) Participation in Gear Up. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

5. Alabama Concrete Industries Association Foundation Scholarship

The Alabama Concrete Industries Association Foundation (ACIF) awards two $8,000 scholarships per year. The awards are granted to college seniors majoring in architecture, engineering, and building sciences at universities within the state.

Amount: $8,000

Provider: Alabama Concrete Industries Association Foundation (ACIF)

Who Can Apply: College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Majoring in a field mentioned above, (b) Attending an Alabama university. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

6. Alabama Home Builders Foundation Scholarship

Students pursuing an education related to residential building at a junior college, technical school, or university within the state are eligible for these scholarships in Alabama. Some examples of commonly accepted majors are civil engineering, drafting and design, masonry, landscaping, and sustainable construction.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Alabama Home Builders Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors, Technical School Students

Requirements: (a) Majoring in a relevant field, (b) Residency in Alabama. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

7. Cabaniss, Johnston Alabama Law Foundation Scholarship

This scholarship, granted by one of the oldest law firms in Alabama, was established in 1987. It’s geared towards students entering their second year at accredited U.S. law schools, even ones outside of Alabama.

Amount: Up to $5,000

Provider: Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal

Who Can Apply: Law students entering their second year

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) Attending accredited U.S. law school, (c) Academic excellence. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in alabama

8. The Junior and Community College Performing Arts Scholarship

Students with a talent for the performing arts can apply for these generous, full-tuition scholarships in Alabama. Recipients should be full-time students attending accredited junior or community colleges within the state. The winner will be decided through competitive auditions. Students can contact the financial aid office at their intended school for more information.

Amount: Up to the cost of full tuition + books

Provider: Alabama Commission on Higher Education

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, Junior College Students, Two-Year Community College Students

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) Major in performing arts-related field, (c) Exceptional talent. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

9. The David Womack Memorial Alabama LGBT Scholarship

These Alabama scholarships are awarded to gay and lesbian undergraduate students throughout the state. An essay with a maximum length of five pages is required for the application and recipients can use the money at any accredited school in the United States.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: IanThom Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) LGBT status, (c) Attending a public, two-year institution in Alabama. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

10. The William Verbon Black Scholarship

Endowed by Mrs. Delia Black in 2007, these scholarships in Alabama aim to help full-time students at the University of Alabama School of Law. Applicants should be Alabama residents.

Amount: Varies

Provider: Alabama Law Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) Enrolled in University of Alabama School of Law. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in alabama

11. Suzy Spiceland Michelson Memorial Scholarship

Graduating Calhoun County seniors who are involved in either Track & Field or Cross-Country can apply for these running scholarships. Applicants should also demonstrate involvement in school and community activities.

Amount: $500

Provider: Anniston Runners Club

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Alabama, (b) Participation in track & field or cross country, (c) Involvement in school and community activities. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

12. Alabama Funeral Directors Association Scholarship

This niche scholarship is geared towards students studying funeral service at an accredited mortuary science school. Applicants must be sponsored by a current member of the AFDA and should have plans to work in Alabama upon graduation.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Alabama Funeral Directors Association (AFDA)

Who Can Apply: Students intending to or currently studying at mortuary science school

Requirements: (a) Acceptance into accredited mortuary science school, (b) Plans to service the public working in Alabama, (c) Minimum GPA of 2.5, (d) Residency in Alabama, (e) AFDA sponsorship. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in alabama

Soon you’ll be able to apply to all of these on Going Merry (let us know in the comments section if there are others we should include). In the meantime, we already have thousands of scholarships which you can apply for directly.

Just fill out your profile, see what we match you with, and click apply! It’s that easy.

10 Helpful Scholarships for Students in Utah

The Beehive State is known for more than just its bees: Utah is also a great destination for pursuing higher education. Tens of thousands of students call top universities like the University of Utah and Utah State University home each yearbut attending school here doesn’t come cheap.

Utah residents can attend the University of Utah for about $8,382* per year and Utah State University for roughly $6,800*. For out-of-state students, those prices rise to $26,298* and $20,450* respectively. Luckily, paying for school doesn’t have to break the bank; scholarships can help.

*tuition only

Benefits of Scholarships & How to Apply

The best part about winning scholarships? You never need to pay them back! That’s rightscholarships essentially provide you with free money for school. Plus, there are scholarships available for all different people in all types of situations.

The best place to start is Going Merry! We match you with the scholarships you qualify for and then allow you to apply directly through our site to save you time and effort. The next step is to speak with your high school guidance office or college financial aid office. They’ll have plenty of info on local scholarships and awards that you qualify for.

If you’d like more information on scholarships and how they can save you money on college tuition, check out our step-by-step guide on applying for scholarships and our list of tips on making your application stand out from the rest.

scholarships in utah

In the meantime, here are 10 awesome scholarships in Utah:

1. Utah Jump$tart Coalition/America First Credit Union Scholarship

The Utah Jump$tart Coalition uses advocacy, research, and education to promote financial literacy among K-12 youth. In order to apply for these scholarships in Utah, applicants must create an informative YouTube video on avoiding college debt.

Amount: $1,250

Provider: Utah Jump$tart Coalition & America First Credit Union

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in Utah, (b) Senior in High School. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

2. Utah New Century Scholarship

These Utah scholarships are designed for high school students who either complete an associate’s degree before their high school graduation or complete a specific math and science curriculum. Students can complete the associate’s degree through schools that are part of the Utah System of Higher Education, including Dixie State University, Salt Lake Community College, Snow College, Southern Utah University, Utah State University, Utah Valley University, the University of Utah, and Weber State University. The scholarship itself can be used at a four-year institution within the Utah System of Higher Education as well as at Brigham Young University and Westminster College.

Amount: Varies (Maximum $1,250 per semester)

Provider: Utah System of Higher Education

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Minimum high school GPA of 3.5, (b) Minimum Associate’s degree/math and science curriculum GPA of 3.0, (c) Residency in Utah. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in utah

3. Horatio Alger Utah Scholarship

Students who have overcome obstacles and demonstrated success at facing adversity in their lives are eligible for these scholarships in Utah. Horatio Alger members, many of whom have overcome obstacles themselves, fund these generous awards.

Amount: Up to $10,000

Provider: Horatio Alger Association

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Commitment to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in the United States, (b) Critical financial need, (c) Involvement in co-curricular and community service activities, (d) Minimum 2.0 GPA, (e) U.S. Citizen. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

4. Utah Association of Independent Insurance Agents Scholarship

The Utah Association of Independent Insurance Agents grants a minimum of 3 scholarships in Utah to high school seniors each year. The best part? Applicants don’t need to be entering into an insurance-related major as long as they meet the basic requirements. 

Amount: $500 to $2,000

Provider: Utah Association of Independent Insurance Agents

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors

Requirements: (a) Minimum 3.0 GPA, (b) Participation in extracurricular activities in school, work, community, or church. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in utah

5. RMCMI Engineering & Geology Scholarship

The RMCMI, founded in 1912, is a non-profit organization that aims to promote Western coal through education by sponsoring educational programs relating to coal mining technologies and production techniques, mining management and safety, and laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to coal mining and other energy-related issues.

Amount: $5,500 (over 2 years)

Provider: RMCMI: Promote Western Coal Through Education

Who Can Apply: Upcoming College Juniors & College Seniors

Requirements: (a) Residency in one of eight RMCMI member states (Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, or Wyoming), (b) U.S. Citizen, (c) Intention to develop a career in the coal industry. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

6. RMCMI Technical Scholarship

Another scholarship sponsored by RMCMI, these scholarships in Utah are awarded specifically to students pursuing an education in a technology-related field that can benefit the coal mining industry.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: RMCMI: Promote Western Coal Through Education

Who Can Apply: College Freshmen

Requirements: (a) Enrollment in a technical program at a two-year school, (b) U.S. Citizen, (c) Intention to use skills in the coal industry, (d) Residency in one of eight RMCMI member states (Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, or Wyoming). For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in utah

7. APWA Utah Chapter Scholarship

Full-time public works employees who plan on pursuing education relating to public works or engineering can apply for these generous awards. The organization also awards two scholarships to full-time graduate students studying Water Resources Engineering.

Amount: $2,500

Provider: APWA Utah Chapter

Who Can Apply: Graduate Students or Full-Time Public Works Employees

Requirements: (a) Job in a relevant career field or studying for a graduate degree in a relevant career field, (b) Studying a field related to engineering, public works, or Water Resources Engineering, (c) Residency in Utah. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

8. Bervin Hall Scholarship

These Utah scholarships are for students pursuing an undergraduate safety degree program. First priority goes to students who are Colorado Chapter ASSP member, Colorado residents, or ASSP Region II members in the states of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Students currently living within ASSP Region II are considered next.

Amount: $1,000

Provider: American Society of Safety Professionals

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate Students

Requirements: (a) Completion of at least 60 undergraduate semester hours if pursuing a Bachelor’s degree or 24 undergraduate semester hours if pursuing an Associate’s degree, (b) Full-time or part-time status, (c) Pursuing a safety degree program, (d) Minimum 3.0 GPA. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in utah

9. Stephen T. Kugle Scholarship

ASME student members attending a public college or university in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, or Wyoming are eligible for these generous scholarships in Utah. Strong participation in the organization is a major factor in the decision-making process.

Amount: $3,000

Provider: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

Who Can Apply: College Juniors, College Seniors

Requirements: (a) U.S. Citizen by birth, (b) Attending an accredited school in one of the states mentioned above, (c) ASME membership, (d) Minimum 3.0 GPA. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

10. ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Scholarship

Amateur radio operators who are legal residents of Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Colorado are eligible for these scholarships, which can be used at any fully-accredited college or university in the United States.

Amount: $500 + Membership

Provider: ARRL Foundation

Who Can Apply: High School Seniors, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors

Requirements: (a) U.S. Citizen, (b) Residency in Rocky Mountain Division state, (c) Letter of recommendation from sitting officer of an ARRL-affiliated club. For more information, please visit the scholarship website.

scholarships in utah

Soon you’ll be able to apply to all of these on Going Merry (let us know in the comments section if there are others we should include). In the meantime, we already have thousands of scholarships which you can apply for directly.

Just fill out your profile, see what we match you with, and click apply! It’s that easy.

5 Awesome Scholarship Essays That Worked

When it comes to paying for college, scholarships are the best form of financial aid since they offer students free money that never needs to be repaid. But let’s face it: completing scholarship applications, especially the essays, can feel overwhelming. Not to mention, the essay is arguably the most important part of the application and should take up the majority of your time.

Not only is it your chance to let your personality and life experiences shine through, but it’s the one part of the application that gives you the opportunity to stand out from other applicants. For more information on writing a killer scholarship essay, check out our list of helpful tips.

The best way to get an idea of what scholarship committees are looking for is to look over the scholarship essay examples of past winners. Take some time to analyze the writing style, think about the strong points, and consider how you can improve. It might seem like a tedious task, but luckily we’ve already done some of the work for you.

scholarship essay examples

Here are 5 winning scholarship essay examples that have actually worked:

1. Financial Literacy for Hispanic Women by Rosaisha Ozoria

“Twice a week I head down to volunteer at the Los Sures Social Services office, situated next to the local senior citizen home, to help at the food pantry. We distribute food to people in my neighborhood. Many are familiar faces. Many are middle-aged Hispanic women with children dangling from their hips like grass skirts. These women are there as a result of their culture and lack of financial knowledge. In our Spanish culture, patriarchy prevents women from preparing for themselves as much as they should. This leads to Hispanic women having little or no money management skills. Financial illiteracy is a major issue in my neighborhood, and that is why I hope to give Hispanic women a chance for a better future through financial education.

While I was volunteering I met a woman who happened to live in the same building as my aunt. Unemployed with two young children, and a husband earning minimum wage at a fast food restaurant, she struggled to get by every day. I thought to myself – many in my community are just like her. Then I realized I could do something to help. How? I can start a financial literacy program, which teaches Hispanic women to earn and manage money. Once a woman becomes financially literate, she is capable of making good personal and profession decisions, empowering her to improve her family’s financial well-being. Moreover, such a program will help Hispanic women become competitive employees, even in a slow recovering economy such as the one we are experiencing now.

Participating in the 2013 Women’s World Banking Global Meeting in Amman, Jordan gives me access to invaluable resources that will help me achieve this goal. I hope to find mentors from a roomful of inspiring, experiences leaders who will offer me their guidance. Also, meeting accomplished women from other countries means access to new ideas and unique perspectives. And if I am lucky, I may even come across individuals who can provide financial support to jumpstart my financial literacy program for Hispanic women. Lastly, I will tell my idea to everyone I meet in Jordan, a baby step to help Hispanic women rise from poverty.

The world continues to change rapidly, especially with globalization. It is about time that Hispanic women strive for gender equality. Thus, it is essential that Hispanic women increase their roles and knowledge in finance. The women in my neighborhood shall no longer be left out. I will task myself to help these women become better, stronger and most importantly, take control of their lives. I want to be involved so that they can save themselves from any unforeseen financial crisis. This is a tremendous goal, but for me, it is an opportunity to make a difference – in my neighborhood and for my Spanish community.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

First of all, the introduction paragraph of this essay thoroughly summarizes what the reader can expect to find in the body of the essay. This helps create structure and avoid confusion. In fact, the entire structure of the essay is very clear and logical. Having a clear structure ensures that the reader can follow your ideas without a problem.

Besides the structure, Rosaisha is clearly passionate about the topic at hand and isn’t afraid to express it through her writing. Additionally, she connects it to her own life by using personal examples. Using personal examples and showing your emotions can give you an edge over other applicants.

Lastly, even though Rosaisha discusses a sad and difficult topic, she keeps the tone light and inspirational. Rather than dwelling on how terrible this situation is, she expresses hope and her desire to make a change in the world. It’s important to keep in mind that an essay can be happy even if it’s about a sad or difficult topic.

2. Who is a “Good” Doctor? by Joseph Lee

“Had you asked me the same question one year ago, my answer would have been vastly different to the one I will give today. In the summer of 2012, with my first year of medical school completed, I embarked upon my last official summer vacation with two things in mind: a basketball tournament in Dallas and one in Atlanta. My closest friends and I had been playing in tournaments for the past 10 summers, and it was a sacred bond forged together in the name of competition. However, two weeks before our first tournament, I became instantly and overwhelmingly short of breath. Having been born to Korean immigrant parents, I was raised to utilize the hospital in emergency cases only, and I knew this was such a case. A few scans later, doctors discovered numerous pulmonary emboli (PE), caused by a subclavian deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and just like that, I was lying in a bed of a major hospital for a life threatening condition.

Fast forward a few months, and I am lying in a similar bed to treat the underlying cause of the sublclavian DVT: a first rib removal. There is little that can adequately prepare someone physically, emotionally or spiritually to undergo surgery; and my thoughts continued to race in the days following. In addition to the expected physical pain, isolation, fear and frustration were a few of the emotions I experienced in the four day ordeal. The procedure went according to plan thanks to a skilled surgeon and his team, but the attributes that made the doctor “good” went far beyond his ability to operate.

“Wow. I’m glad you are feeling better” and “I can’t believe you went through that” are common reactions people have when they see the scars on my upper chest. Quite frankly, the past nine months have been difficult, literally full of blood, sweat and tears. But through it all, I have been able to maintain my positivity and gratitude knowing that I have gained the invaluable experience of being a patient and discovering the vulnerability and trust that patients give their doctors. Patients indulge information to doctors that they may have never told anyone in their life and in doing so, place a great deal of trust and responsibility in the hands of a doctor. Many patients will not understand the mechanism of disease behind their condition and anticipate that the doctor will explain to them and their family why it is that they are feeling the way they are and ultimately heal them. And that is precisely what my surgeon understood: the privilege of being able to care for patients and the intimacy of the doctor-patient relationship. And as I awoke to the care of my worried parents, the first thing they wanted to discuss was the details of the procedure that was methodically and patiently explained to them by my “good” doctor.

In study after study, patients have reported dissatisfaction with their medical care, not because of lack of knowledge or health outcome, but because their doctors did not show enough warmth in the encounter or listen to the patient’s questions and concerns. There are few times where a patient and their loved ones are more vulnerable and in need of compassion than when dealing with a hospitalization. And for some doctors, a patient may be another item on a checklist, but that patient is someone’s mother or father, son or daughter, sister or brother. My “good” doctor understood this and would often say “If you were my son…” when discussing treatment options, reflecting on the type of care he would want for his family and treating me similarly. Such ideals are rooted in love and compassion for patients, not as clients in the health care system, but as fellow human beings striving to make something of themselves and the world around them (I).

Unfortunately, the ordeal of living with a chronic illness or undergoing a major operation extends beyond the confines of the hospital. Whether it is creditors harassing patients for medical bills, prescriptions that need to be refilled, or lifestyle modifications that need to be made, the health care experience doesn’t end when a patient walks out of the hospital doors. It often takes merely a minute, as in the case of the “good” doctor who told me that as a student I could apply to get the procedure financially covered by the hospital. Such foresight in anticipating financial concerns and directing me on the next steps to be taken provided relief in the surmounting stress.

Lastly, the “good” doctor understands that as our patients are human, so are we. This means we will make mistakes, some of which can result in life-threatening consequences. With that said, the “good” doctor practices humility and honesty, apologizing and sharing as much information with patients as possible. Although no one strives to make mistakes, they will happen, and how one reacts to them is a distinguishing feature of the “good” doctor (II).

Of all the qualities I tried to explain in what makes a “good” doctor, there was no emphasis on skill and knowledge. And while being able to fulfill the duties of making the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment plans is expected, the intangibles of love, compassion, foresight and honesty is what makes a doctor, “good”. I learned such lessons in the purest manner possible, by being a patient myself, and will use them to guide me in all future patient encounters, as I strive to be a “good” doctor.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

This essay immediately pulls the reader in and makes him/her want to know more. We want to know how Joseph’s definition of a good doctor has changed and also why it has changed. Hooking your reader from the beginning is the best way to make sure they keep reading and a solid structure, like many of these scholarship essay examples have, is the best way to ensure there’s no confusion along the way.

One of the strongest points of this essay is that Joseph takes a negative personal experience and shows what he learned from it and how it caused him to grow as a person. This provides the reader with a different perspective and makes the essay much more interesting overall.

3. Life Happens Scholarship by Emily Trader

“When I was seventeen years old, my father lost his battle with kidney failure and cardiovascular disease. As long as I shall live, I do not believe that I will ever forget the first moment I saw my father’s once vibrant face in that cold and unforgiving casket. I won’t forget his lifeless and defeated hands, or how his pale lips would never utter another joke or speak to his grandchildren. Even though the day of his funeral was undoubtedly the worst day of my life, I wish I could relive it just to be with him one more time. Since that moment, I have felt as if all of my grief and longing resides underneath my skin with nothing to relieve the pressure. On September 8th, 2016, I lost my voice of reason, my confidant, my cheerleader, and my best friend.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had lost so much more. Upon my father’s passing, he left us with funeral and medical expenses that his insurance would not cover. Because he did not have any form of life insurance, the financial burden of his death was now the responsibility of my mother and me. Even though my mother works night shifts as a neonatal nurse and her commute is nearly two hours, she was forced to pick up extra shifts to support my family. Though I already had a job and I worked about ten hours a week, I now work anywhere from twenty-five to thirty-five hours a week, and I am also a full-time high honor student. Even though the death of my father forced me to realize the importance of cherishing time with my family, I do not see them very often because of our busy schedules. I also sacrificed my social life and the joy that every senior in high school should experience. Instead of football games and homecoming, I had to deal with mourning and the possibility that I would not attend college because of my family’s financial troubles.

If my father had a life insurance policy, we would not have to work ourselves to the bone and sacrifice our physical and emotional well-being to keep up with expenses. I would not have to worry so intensely about the future of my education on top of the crippling grief that I have felt over the last five months. If this devastating experience has taught me anything, it is this: financial planning for these situations is absolutely invaluable. I will not soon forget the stress and despair that I have experienced, and I now realize that to have a life insurance policy is to throw your surviving family members a crucial lifeline. Though no one can ever prepare you for the trauma of losing a parent, life insurance allows you to grieve without the constant stress of financial burden, and for that reason, it is an absolutely essential precaution.

I love and miss you so much, Dad. Thank God I will see you again.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

Throughout her entire essay, Emily shows strong and very real emotions connected to the death of her father. Although the tone of this essay is sad, it helps the reader connect and empathize with the experience that Emily went through and gives a real glimpse into her thoughts and emotions.

On a structural level, the first paragraph immediately pulls the reader in because of the amount of interesting detail involved and the body of the essay follows a logical flow and structure. One major point you can take away from these scholarship essay examples is that maintaining a clear structure is half the battle.

4. Bio-Rad Scholarship Essay by Lauren Croda

“I could not believe my eyes. Before me were fifteen massive jugs of Martinelli’s cider, needing to be consumed by my family of nine in just three days. My mother, the science volunteer for my second grade class, needed the bottles for a science project. As my mother came in biweekly to do hands-on projects with the students, I became immersed in science. My class, and myself, marveled at the sights before us. Our lessons were filled with sucking eggs into bottles, dissecting owls’ poop, and even completing a circuit using wires attached to a student’s capped front teeth. The possibilities for amazement were endless.

Experiencing science at an early age, I became enthralled with each new experiment, captivated by the chemistry of it all. I watched longingly as my older siblings created their science fair projects. Too young to enter the school science fairs, I took to my family. Force-feeding different animal food to my siblings and parents, I graphed their favorite types. While I was only six, my family has never forgiven me; my “experiments” remain the family joke. Nevertheless, I have progressed from my dog food days, leaving taste tests for DNA gel electrophoresis experiments.

While many find themselves turned away from the complexity of science, I have found myself mesmerized by it. This difference in opinion has spurred from my upbringings in science, feeling connected to science at an early age. By entering into hands on experiences at an impressionable age, I realized that science was not only for experienced technicians in lab coats, but for anyone.

In order to encourage interest in science, students need to experience early interactions. By gradually assimilating into the world of science, children can find themselves capable of mastering science. Additionally, elementary years constitute the most impressionable years of a person’s life. By experiencing science at such a young age, one can find themselves, like me, passionate about science for a lifetime.

Many science teachers find themselves unable, or unwilling, to teach using hands- on experiments and demonstrations. When learning the chemical formula of NaHCO3 (aq) + HC2H3O2 (aq), one feels themselves distant from these complex, boring symbols. However, when taken off paper and into the classroom, this distant formula reveals the ordinary household products able to create an exhilarating volcanic eruption. Hands-on learning experiences are vital to gaining interest in science, showing students that what they learn on paper operates not only in the books, but in everyday life.

By focusing funds on the creation of science labs in elementary schools, students can relate to science not as a foreign concept, but as a fun and intuitive way to learn about the world around them. Without interest and participation in science, the world could not continue. From roller coasters to doctors, science affects every aspect of life.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

The essay opens with a strong opening line simply stating “I could not believe my eyes”, immediately pulling the reader in. As the paragraph continues, the lighthearted and engaging tone keeps the reader interesting and also allows the reader to see Lauren’s personality.

Plus, the easy-to-follow structure means there’s no room for confusion. Furthermore, the real-life examples used throughout the essay make her passion for science even more obvious and engaging. If you’re passionate about the topic at hand, don’t be afraid to let it shine through! It just might be the difference between an essay that worked and one that didn’t.

5. Why College Is Important to Me by Nicole Kuznetsov

“As a child, my life had structure. Coloring books had lines, letters took on very specific shapes, and a system of rules governed everything from board games to the classroom. I found comfort in the fact that my future had an easy-to-follow template: elementary, middle, and high school, college, job, family retirement, “happily ever after” ending. When I graduated from elementary school I was told I completed 25% of my education. During my middle school graduation, I was told I was half way there and I know I’ll be told I’m 75% done when I throw my cap in the air this June. College was always factored into the percentage and the overall formula for life. And I never questioned its importance. I always figured it is important because it is necessary.

Going to college makes sense. From helping my parents land stable jobs after coming to America to giving my brother the chance to gain work experience at some of the top financial firms, college educations have shown their worth in my family. Yet I didn’t think about what actually goes on inside the magical universities until I entered high school. Applying to the Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering was the first time I had actively made a decision in my education. With the encouragement of my parents and favorite science teacher who recognized that I would excel in the challenging environment of like-minded students, I applied. Four years later, I can confidently say they were right.

My class of twenty-six has shown me the benefits of a collaborative rather than a competitive environment, especially the impact that camaraderie with my peers has on our collective learning experience. Each student has an inspiring level of passion and motivation that made me excited to learn, work on projects, and participate in discussions both in and out of the classroom. I used my education to gain skills and open doors for myself such as an internship at my local hospital. I gained confidence in my abilities to communicate with individuals from strangers my age to practicing professionals. I was thinking longer and harder than I ever had before to solve individual problems and large-scale challenges. In all honesty, I was having fun.

Looking back on my years at the Academy I realize how big of an impact the school made on how I view education. I wasn’t coming to school to mark another day off my calendar and inch closer to finishing the next 25%. I came to school to learn and question and push myself. Now, as a senior, I’m excited. I’m thankful for the sample that my high school gave me of what learning is supposed to be like and thankful that it left me wanting more. I’m entering college in August with a new understanding of its importance. It is important because it is what I want for my future.”

scholarship essay examples

Why It Worked:

Firstly, this essay is chock full of personal examples, which scholarship committees love. Making your essay more personal can seriously put you ahead of the competition. Similarly, discussing your own goals can make your essay unique – show why you deserve to win over the other candidates.

Also, like many of the other scholarship essay examples here, the introduction paragraph is engaging and interesting. It gives us a new perspective on following a life path that seems determined and how Nicole learned new and unexpected lessons along the way.

Were these scholarship essay examples helpful? What are your best tips on writing a winning scholarship essay? Let us know below!

13 Tips to Bring Your Scholarship Essay to the Next Level

Applying for scholarships would be a piece of cake if it wasn’t for the essay, which often forces us to reflect on ourselves, who we are as people, and what we’ve accomplished so far in life. While it can be the most difficult part of the application, it’s also the most important part.

The scholarship essay is your chance to make a case for yourself and to show the committee why you deserve to win. It gives you the chance to show your personality and what you’re most proud of in life. Your scholarship application should inform, but your scholarship essay should persuade. Scholarship committees read hundreds, or even thousands, of essays, so making your application stand out from the rest is crucial.

But how?

Luckily, you don’t need perfect writing skills to make it happen. With a few scholarship essay tips and tricks in mind, you can easily bring your scholarship application to the next level.

Here are our 13 scholarship essay tips to help you succeed:

scholarship essay tips

The Planning Phase

1. Plan Far in Advance

If you wait until the last minute to write your scholarship essay, the quality will likely suffer. To make sure that you have enough time for the planning phase, create a calendar with the deadlines for all the scholarships you want to apply for. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time for brainstorming and proofreading!

2. Know Your Audience

The best way to give the scholarship committee what they’re looking for is to actually know what they’re looking for. Figure out who their ideal candidate is and how you fit into that picture. But be careful not to cater to their expectations too much.

Don’t sacrifice your voice and personality to fit the bill. Rather, take a look at your strengths and then determine how you can spin them to become the ideal candidate.  

3. Follow the Instructions

It might seem like one of the more obvious scholarship essay tips, but many applicants make their first mistake before they even begin – they don’t read the directions. Exceeding (or not meeting) the word count can hurt your chances since it shows that you didn’t prepare your essay as well as other applicants. Also, double check to make sure you’re responding thoroughly to all parts of the prompt and that you’re following the correct scholarship essay format.

4. Choose a Topic That You’re Interested In and Passionate About

Your topic can have a heavy impact on how well your essay turns out. If you choose a topic that bores you, you’ll likely bore your reader too! Try and choose a topic that you’re passionate about or that interests you in some way rather than a topic that you feel you should write about – that way your personality and excitement can shine through in your writing!

scholarship essay tips

The Writing Phase

5. Create a Strong Introduction

Since the introduction is what draws the reader into your essay and convinces them to keep going, it should be one of the strongest parts of your essay. Instead of starting off with a general overview, why not hook your reader in with a surprising first line?

For example, which of these two opening lines pulls you into the story more? Which one makes you want to keep going?

My first time traveling abroad was during a family vacation to Mexico in 2010.

It was 2010; I had just crossed the border into Mexico and my life was about to change.

The second sentence gives the reader something to look for; it makes them curious about not only how your life changed during your trip but also why it changed. It gives the readers unanswered questions and they have to keep reading to find the answers.

Overall, you’ll want to give your reader a quick preview of what they can expect from your essay – think of it like the written version of a movie trailer. Why should they keep reading? 

6. Keep a Good Structure

After the introduction, it’s important to make sure that your reader can follow along with your essay without too much effort. Creating a basic outline is a great way to make sure this happens!

To create an outline, first organize your thoughts. Write down the main points that you definitely want to cover in your essay. Next, organize those thoughts into various sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. Your ideas can either be in sentence form, short phrases, or simple words – whatever you prefer! Lastly, make sure your ideas flow in a logical order and, if necessary, add more detail under each point. Check out this source for more information.

Also, try to avoid going off on a tangent by trying to take the time to determine which information is relevant and which isn’t. If it makes it easier, try creating a basic scholarship essay outline before you start writing. 

scholarship essay tips

7. Show Emotions

Connecting with an audience through writing can be challenging but, when done right, it can create a very powerful connection between the reader and the author. Showing your emotions is a great way to do that and to get the reader personally invested in your essay. Showing emotion can help the reader see you as a person, rather than a faceless author. Even though it’s crucial, it’s one of the scholarship essay tips that people tend to ignore the most.

We all have vulnerabilities, so don’t be afraid to show them. Likewise, write about your passions and the forces that drive you to succeed in life. Scholarship committees don’t expect you to be perfect and want to see how you’ve grown as a person and handled the obstacles that life has thrown your way. In fact, opening up about times where you felt nervous or scared demonstrates maturity and self-awareness – two great qualities for a scholarship applicant to have.

8. Use Real Life Examples

Instead of telling your reader about your experiences, show them. Don’t be afraid to provide real-world examples of your experiences and/or how you’ve changed as a person. Nearly every applicant will have a somewhat similar response to the essay prompt and your personal examples are your chance to transform your essay from generic to unique.

9. Keep the Tone Inspirational & Positive

One of the most important scholarship essay tips is based entirely on your perspective and tone. Nobody wants to read a depressing and self-pitying story. Even if you’re writing about difficult or sad events in your life, try and keep the tone positive and inspirational. Rather than just writing about how you were negatively affected by an event, focus on how you grew from the experience and overcame the obstacle.

10. Stay Away from Dreary & Boring Conclusions

Most people use the conclusion to simply paraphrase their entire essay…but don’t be afraid to think outside of the box! Do something surprising and innovative. Make your essay interesting and attention-grabbing from the first letter until the last period.

One great way to bring your conclusion to the next level is to leave your readers with an interesting question for them to think about. For more ideas, check out these helpful tips.

scholarship essay tips

 

The Editing Phase

11. Proofread and Ask for Help!

As much as we like to believe that we’re perfect, we all make mistakes…which is why it’s so important to take the time to proofread your essay. One great way to find mistakes is to read your essay out loud. For more ideas, check out these helpful tips.

Once you’ve taken the time to proofread your own essay a few times, have someone else do it for you. Asking a family member or friend for help can provide you with a different perspective on your writing and a second set of eyes might catch a mistake that you didn’t.

12. Take Advantages of Resources

When it comes to writing, you don’t have to do it completely on your own. If you’re in college, most schools have a writing center that offers free feedback and guidance to students. They might even have some insightful scholarship essay tips that you (or we!) didn’t think about. Some high schools, communities, or libraries might also have similar services.

Other than that, the internet can be a great source of information. If you have a specific question, try doing a simple Google search. Also, one of the best writing resources out there for students of all ages is the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). Check it out here.

scholarship essay tips

What else?

13. Reuse Essays When Possible!

While it might seem impossible to write a new essay for every scholarship application, you don’t necessarily have to. A lot of scholarships use very similar essay prompts – meaning you can either use the exact same essay or slightly change it rather than writing a new one altogether. Plus, reusing essays allows you to put more time into perfecting one or two essays. 

What are your best scholarship essay tips? Let us know below!

12 Essential Tips for Winning More Scholarships

It’s no secret that scholarships are one of the absolute best ways to pay for college, but how in the world do you get started? With nearly every scholarship application requiring an essay, letters of recommendation, and a plethora of personal information, starting the process and figuring out how to get scholarships for college can be overwhelming.

At the same time, with the cost of school on the rise each year, scholarships are becoming more and more important. Unlike student loans, scholarships don’t need to be paid back and they offer free no-strings-attached money. Winning scholarships can significantly reduce (or even help you completely avoid) the burden of student debt and increasing interest rates after graduation.

Despite how fantastic they are, students are often puzzled about how to get scholarships. Where should you begin? When should you begin? Which scholarships are worth your time? How many should you apply for?

The questions can start to become overwhelming and even scare some students away. Luckily, applying for scholarships really isn’t all that complicated when it comes down to it! With a little dedication and perseverance, you can be well on your way to winning scholarships of your own.

Check out our 12 best tips on how to get scholarships and make your applications shine!

how to get scholarships

1. Go Local

While national scholarships generally get more visibility and press online, local scholarships usually offer better chances. You’ll only be competing against other students in your area rather than thousands of students all over the nation. Not only that, but you’ll be supporting local initiatives in your community that represent awesome causes.

Your high school guidance counselor or college admissions office should have plenty of information on local scholarships that apply to your situation. If not, try searching for “scholarships + your state/city” on Google or using a scholarship search engine, where you’ll likely be able to find lists of scholarships. Did we mention that we have tons of state-specific scholarship articles on our blog? 

Going Merry also makes finding local scholarships a piece of cake (really, what don’t we do?). Simply head to your profile and click on “scholarships” then “local scholarships” to see what’s going on in your area.

2. Find Your Edge

Scholarship providers spend countless hours reviewing scholarship applications and essays that are responding to the same prompt. Unsurprisingly, a hefty majority of applications are forgotten. The memorable have the best chance of winning. Just like in marketing, search for what gives you an advantage over your competition and use it.

Start by creating a list of your strengths. What are you good at? What are your friends always asking you to help them with? Then, figure out how to highlight your strengths throughout your application, specifically in the short answer and essay questions. Show the scholarship committee why your skills make you the perfect candidate for the award.

Your life experiences can also make your applications stand out. You’ve likely experienced events or challenges that are different from others: brainstorm a list and use it to your advantage.

how to get scholarships

3. Make Your Essay Shine

Another way to make your application shine is to approach the essay from a unique angle. As long as you’re thoroughly answering the prompt and using your best writing skills, there are no rules saying that you can’t put your own unique spin on the essay (unless your application does, in fact, have specific instructions not to do this!).

But what exactly does it mean to put your own unique spin on an essay? Basically, take your own life experiences and incorporate them into your writing. For example, let’s imagine that the essay question is “why do you want to study medicine?”. It’s safe to say that a good majority of the applicants will respond with something along the lines of “I want to help people.” While it’s a perfectly acceptable reason, it doesn’t make for a very interesting essay.

Instead, try approaching the essay differently by telling a story about a doctor you once had, the first time you felt inspired to study medicine, or a dream you have that medicine can help you achieve. It’s okay, and even recommended, to take some time and reflect before writing the essay. The deeper you can dive into your personal dreams and goals, the better.

If you’d like more tips on how to write an amazing essay, check out our step-by-step guide on applying for scholarships.

4. Seek Out Similar Applications

Let’s be real, scholarship applications can be lengthy and time-consuming. Between classes, homework, studying, and work, who has time to write several essays a week? Luckily, if you’re smart about your approach, that won’t be necessary at all.

Lots of scholarship applications are actually quite similar and, while it may feel like cheating, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using the same responses on various applications (as long as they’re relevant, of course). If it fits, you could even reuse the same essay or slightly change one that you’ve already written to fit different applications.

Applying for scholarships seems a whole lot less overwhelming when you already have half the work done! Plus, you’ll increase your chances of winning scholarships with less overall work.

If you’re not sure where to look for scholarships with essay topics similar to what you’ve already done, feel free to shoot us an email at support@goingmerry.com. Give us a list of topics you’ve written essays on before and we’ll do our best to find scholarships with similar or matching ones for you! You can also comment down below and you’ll be able to get feedback from us and fellow students.

how to get scholarships

5. Use Another Set of Eyes

Having another person, whether it’s a family member or a friend, look over your application can save you the embarrassment of unnecessary typos and also provide you with a second opinion. Often times, others can notice things about our writing that we have trouble seeing, like being too repetitive, writing too much unnecessary information, or being too boring.

Family and friends can provide helpful insight on how to get scholarships that you may have not thought about yourself.

6. The More the Merrier!

When it comes to scholarships, more is always better! There’s no limit on how many you can apply for and applying for more only raises your chances. Try setting time aside each week dedicated only to searching for and applying for scholarships. You could even try setting a monthly goal for how many scholarships you’d like to apply for (but keep it realistic).

If you only have a few minutes on hand, it’s even worth boosting your chances of winning scholarships by applying for some scholarship sweepstakes or scholarships without essays. Check out our extensive list of easy scholarships for an idea of where to get started.

how to get scholarships

7. Get a Head Start

Waiting until the last minute hardly works out in any situation, and scholarships are no exception. The best way to take advantage of as many scholarships as possible and avoid the last-minute stress is to start early!

High school students can start applying for scholarships as early as their junior year (Going Merry has a wide selection of scholarships for juniors to help you out!). High school seniors and college students can start applying as early as one year or more before the semester they hope to win scholarships for.

Scholarships are available all year with a number of different deadlines, but many deadlines fall around March.

8. Take Advantage of Going Merry

Not only does Going Merry allow you to apply for scholarships online for free, but it also helps make the scholarship application process easier by automatically matching you with scholarships that you qualify for and allowing you to directly apply to each one (just like the Common App does for college applications!). Not only does it require less effort on your part, but it can introduce you to hundreds of scholarships that you never even knew existed!

Plus, did we mention that it’s completely free for students? If you’re wondering how to get scholarships, Going Merry is a fantastic starting point.

how to get scholarships

9. Check Yourself Out Online

In this day and age, social media says a lot about who we are. Some scholarship providers might do a quick Google search of your name or head to your social media profiles to see if you’re online presence aligns with what they’re looking for. Doing a quick search of your own name to see what pops up can help you avoid any surprises.

Your social media profiles don’t necessarily need to be professional (except LinkedIn), but be careful about posts that could be viewed as negative by scholarship committees.

10. Do Your Research

On the flip side of things, doing a little research on the scholarship provider doesn’t hurt either. Not only is it a great way to make sure that the scholarship is legitimate, but it can give you an advantage on your application. Take some time to find out the type of person they’re looking for and play on your strengths to show them that you’re the perfect candidate.

It’s also worth checking to see if the profiles of past winners are available on the scholarship provider’s website. Doing your research on the type of students who won this scholarship in the past can give you an advantage during the application process. Some providers also allow you to see the winning essays, which can give you an idea of exactly what they’re looking for!

how to get scholarships

11. Plan Letters of Recommendation in Advance

When students are trying to figure out how to get scholarships, asking for letters of recommendation is often the most stressful part and requires the most advanced planning. Waiting until the last minute to ask your teachers, professors, counselors, etc. for a letter of recommendation is only going to stress them out. Make sure to notify them at least four weeks before the scholarship deadline.

Going Merry makes the process of getting Letters of Recommendation easier by allowing your recommender to upload their letter on the site so that you can reuse it for various applications. This means that you can ask for recommendations at the beginning of the school year and use them for your scholarship applications all year round!

Besides asking in advance, selecting the right person to recommend you is crucial. If you’re trying to get a scholarship for foreign language study, a recommendation from a French teacher will be much more relevant than one from a physics teacher, for example. It’s also helpful to ask for a recommendation from someone who has witnessed your academic ability and/or personal character.

12. Keep Your Eye on the Prize!

Whatever you do, don’t lose hope during the application process! Figuring out how to get scholarships can seem overwhelming and time-consuming, but it’s 100% worth it in the end. Don’t be discouraged if you find that you’re not winning as many scholarships as you had hoped.

In the end, your patience and time can help you pay for college while avoiding dreaded student loans at the same time, leaving you in a significantly better financial situation after graduation.

how to get scholarships

What are your best tips on how to get scholarships? Share them with us below!

Want to bring your scholarship applications to the next level? Check out our list of awesome scholarship tips to help you save money on college tuition!

How To Apply for Scholarships: A Step-by-Step Guide

With the cost of universities rising higher each year, it might feel like the price of furthering your education is getting out of control. In fact, between 1988 and 2017, the cost of attending a public university increased by 213% and the cost of a private one by 129%. Even after taking inflation into account, attending college is much more expensive than in the past. Nowadays, students can expect to pay around $9,970 per year for a public university and $34,740 per year for a private university. Figuring out how to apply for scholarships can save you big bucks in the end.

When it comes to paying for college, scholarships are the best option. Not only is there a scholarship for nearly everything from being left-handed to showcasing your talents on the football field to being top in your class, but scholarships are basically free money (and what could be better than that?). When you receive a scholarship, the money is yours to keep and you never have to worry about paying it back.

While the application process can be enough to scare some less-motivated students away, it’s really not so bad if you know what you’re in for (plus, Going Merry can help make the process easier!). Whether you’re applying for scholarships for the first time as an incoming college freshman or just looking for some extra cash to get you through grad school, here’s our step-by-step guide on how to apply for scholarships:

Step 1: Get Out and Search

 

how to apply for scholarships

You can’t find what you don’t look for, right? So it should come as no surprise that the first step in this guide on how to apply for scholarships is that you need to go out (or go online) and search for one.

The first thing to do when beginning your search is to decide which types of scholarships you qualify for and which ones are right for you. While a huge range of scholarships exists, they can generally be split into need and merit-based.

Need-based scholarships depend on your or your family’s ability to pay for college and are only awarded to candidates who need a little extra help financially. Merit-based scholarships are awarded to applicants based on their achievements or abilities. They may be focused on academics, art, or athletics. There’s also a large range of situation-based scholarships, such as ones for women, minorities, journalism majors, or gamers. Both need and merit-based scholarships may be offered by your college, private organizations, or individuals.

Once you’ve come up with a general idea of which scholarships you might qualify for, you need to figure out where to look. The first step is to talk with a high school guidance counselor or the financial aid office at your university. Both will have experience finding scholarships that apply to your circumstances, while the financial aid office will also be able to tell you about university scholarships (you can usually find the most up-to-date information by checking out the financial aid or admissions section on the university website, too).

For some merit-based scholarships it’s also worth speaking to your teachers, e.g. if you’re looking for scholarships for French majors, chatting with your French teacher could be a great way to find them. If you have a knack for sports, it might also be helpful to speak to your high school coach! Universities with top-notch sports teams are usually willing to shell out a fair amount of money to get talented players to attend their schools.

Besides university-sponsored scholarships, there are thousands and thousands of privately-funded scholarships out there and various ways of finding them. Just like we mentioned above, the first search method is to sit down and discuss your options with a high school guidance counselor or a financial aid representative. Alternatively, a simple Google search generally turns up a fair amount of results as well.

However, in our opinion, the best way to find private scholarships is to use an online scholarship website. Going Merry, for example, helps you find and apply for scholarships all in one place. Simply create a profile and fill out your information. Based on the data you provide, Going Merry automatically matches you with scholarships you qualify for.

We save you the time of reading through various, boring scholarship descriptions and puzzling over which apply to you and which don’t. And we don’t stop there: we then allow you to apply directly to each scholarship, auto-filling your information as you do.

Step 2: Create a Calendar

how to apply for scholarships

When it comes to how to apply for scholarships, timing is key. It’s a good idea to begin applying as soon as possible…those deadlines really sneak up on you! From the start, make a list (whether in an Excel sheet or the vintage way with pen and paper), with the scholarships you’d like to apply for, their due dates, and their required documents and essays (Going Merry also has an estimate of the application time for each one).

Make sure to start your scholarship applications well in advance so that you’re not rushing to gather documents and materials.

Step 3: Figure Out the Requirements

Not all scholarships are created equal and it’s important to research the specific requirements for the scholarship you’re applying to. Luckily, scholarships are generally straightforward so everything you need will be listed out right in the description.

Here are the most common documents and materials needed for a scholarship application:

Scholarship Application Form 

It might be obvious, but a scholarship application without the application isn’t much of a scholarship application at all. Make sure to fill out the application portion thoroughly and double check for errors.

Essay 

The essay portion of the application is your chance to shine. Even if you’re not a strong writer, it gives you the opportunity to express your personality, ideas, and opinions. You only have a certain amount of space and scholarship sponsors want to see how you’ll use it. Check down below for tips on how to turn your essay from a headache into your strong point.

how to apply for scholarships

Letters of Recommendation 

Most scholarships require Letters of Recommendation from personal or professional references. When requesting a LOR from professors, teachers, guidance counselors, or personal sources, make sure to give the person recommending you at least four weeks notice. The last thing you want is a rushed recommendation or a stressed-out recommender. For many students, asking for recommendations is the most stressful part when it comes to how to apply for scholarships.

Copies of Transcripts and Diplomas 

Even if a scholarship isn’t merit-based, it may require a copy of your high school, or most recent college, transcripts and your high school diploma. You can easily get transcript copies through your high school or university website or through the Guidance or Registrar’s Office. Occasionally, scholarship applications will also require your test scores from the SAT or ACT. Prepare yourself by keeping these test-taking tips in mind

Financial Aid Information 

Some scholarships, especially if they’re need-based, might require you to submit your FAFSA form or sometimes even your parents’ tax and income information along with your application.

Resume/CV 

An up-to-date and modern resume can make a big difference when it comes to applying for scholarships. Along with your essay, you should view your resume as one of the central pieces of your applicationwhere you can highlight your skills and accomplishments. If you’re looking to take your resume writing skills to the next level, try out these tips.

Portfolio

Sending a portfolio can significantly strengthen an application, especially for art and design-related majors. If you don’t have a portfolio and feel that you might need one, don’t sweat it. It’s not that difficult to get started if you take it step-by-step.

Step 4: Rock the Essay

how to apply for scholarships

As we mentioned above, the essay can make or break the application, so it’s important to give it the time and effort that it deserves. Even if you’re lacking confidence when it comes to your writing skills, following a few simple tips can help take your essay to the next level.

Essay Tip #1: Read the Instructions

So many amazingly written essays get tossed aside simply because the applicant didn’t take the time to read the directions and respond properly to the prompt. If you take anything at all from this guide on how to apply for scholarships, do yourself a favor and make sure you understand what you need to do before you pick up the pen.

Essay Tip #2: Give Yourself Time

When you give yourself sufficient time to write the essay, you’ll be less stressed, have more time to think through your ideas, and have more time for proofreading. Rushed essays are more likely to be filled with grammar and spelling errors and usually end up being pretty boring. Plan your time out beforehand.

Essay Tip #3: Find Your Own Path

When you apply for a scholarship, you’re responding to the same writing prompt as hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of other applicants. How can you make your essay stand out from the rest? What can you bring to it that nobody else can? Set some time aside simply to think over your strengths and to brainstorm ways to make your essay stand out.

Essay Tip #4: Create an Outline

An outline can help ensure that your essay is fluid and follows a logical sequence of events. Outlines don’t always need to be detailed, even just a basic one can help you organize your ideas!

Essay Tip #5: Liven It Up

Nobody wants to read a boring, lifeless essay…much less scholarship committees, who are reading hundreds of applications! Don’t be afraid to put your personality into your writing and let your passion show through. Big, fancy words aren’t necessary either and often do more harm than good.

Essay Tip #6: Proofread, Edit, Repeat

Taking five extra minutes to proofread your essay can make a world of difference. We’re all human and, whether we like it or not, we all make mistakes. Having the correct spelling and grammar will make your essay appear more professional.

Step 5: Submit Your Materials

how to apply for scholarships

Now that you’ve gathered all of your documents and materials, the next step on how to apply for scholarships is simply to turn them in! Some scholarships should be submitted by mail while others are submitted online, so be sure to check the requirements. If you requested any Letters of Recommendation, be sure that the person providing you with the recommendation is aware of the deadline. Also, provide them with either the email address or a stamped envelope with the correct destination address on it.

Step 6: Wait!

The last and final step in our guide on how to apply for scholarships is simply to wait and, realistically, there’s not much else you can do. Most scholarships will let you know when you can expect to hear back by. Some only contact the recipients.

After submitting your application, take a deep breath and relax. Keep a positive attitude and hope that your hard work paid off!

 

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