The process for how to apply for scholarships online will likely appear easier from hindsight than it will at the outset. This is because, unless you have previous experience with applying for scholarships, the process is unlike anything you will ever be required to do in any other area of your life. With scholarships, you are applying for financial aid that you will not have to repay. The process of applying for scholarships online is a competitive arena as college tuition continues to rise and the new breed of internet-savvy students scours the web searching out sources of untapped scholarship funds. But you can learn how to apply for scholarships online now and get a jump on your competition before you even leave high school.
The first step you will need to take is to research scholarships that you are eligible for. You will be looking for scholarships you can apply for based on your academic merits, your athletic or musical prowess, your ethnic or cultural background, your significant achievements to date, your language proficiency, your gender or religious preference, and many other factors besides. If your parents or you have organizational or company affiliations, you will also want to seek out scholarship opportunities through these venues. Gather a list of all the scholarships you think you have a chance of winning, using other online tools like FastWeb, Scholarships.com, and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) website to find additional sources of scholarships as well. Once you have your list assembled, it is time to begin the applications process.
First, make yourself a spreadsheet that lists out the requirements of each scholarship so that you can be sure your online application will be complete and you don't forget important information such as references, letters of referral, or academic history. You can then systematically note the expiration date of each scholarship, filling out the ones that are closest to the deadline first. Also remember that you will want to have several references standing at the ready as most scholarships require one or more letters of reference from each applicant's close circle of acquaintances. After you finish completing the online application, ask a friend or family member to review it with you and help you to proof it. Ensuring that your application is error-free before you submit it ensures your application won't be discarded at the critical moment because of an error or an omission of important required information.
Finally, do not stop applying for scholarships until you have run out of ideas or you have won some aid. Scholarships can be competitive, but many are issued in annual or even semester installments, which means that if you do not win it this time, check the eligibility requirements to see if you can reapply next semester or next year. If you have not heard anything, do not assume that this means it is bad news. Rather, look on the website and call or write to the listed contact to find out when you will hear a decision on your application.