Tips for Finding and Receiving Scholarships

By Holly Schoch , last updated December 22, 2011

Finding a way to pay for college can be an extremely daunting task, but scholarships can be a nice way to lighten the load for students and their parents. However, for other graduating seniors and individuals who can't afford college, scholarships are the only way they can even entertain the thought of attending a decent school. Luckily, there are a number of different ways you can find and obtain scholarships. Some won't require much work and others may require extensive preparation. How much you get back will depend on how much you put in.

Fastweb.com is the perfect way to find scholarships. All you have to do is fill out a profile and Fastweb will find the scholarships that best fit the criteria provided. The great thing about Fastweb is it takes the work out of finding scholarships. However, Fastweb scholarships tend to be essay scholarships, which are significantly harder to get compared to merit and financial need-based scholarships.
If you are a strong writer, you are one step ahead of everyone else. However, if you are like a vast majority of students out there, writing may not be your strong suit. Don't let that get you down. Writing, like anything, takes practice and, just like with everything else, there are certain rules you must follow in order to create something that the judges will deem appropriate for the competition.
When writing a scholarship essay, read the instructions or the prompt carefully. A major part of the decision making process will be whether or not you answered every part of the question and whether or not you strayed from it in anyway. After you've decided how you might answer the question, create an outline. Make sure each point you put on your outline addresses each part of the question. Don't try and get fancy with your language. Regardless of how intelligent you are, you have to make sure you write in a simple, concise, and intelligent manner. You don't want your meaning to be lost simply because you tried to use sophisticated vocabulary and complex sentences. On the same note, you don't want to write flowery sentences filled to the brim with metaphors and similes, because this will also hide the meaning of your sentences. Once you've written your essay, provide someone with the prompt and then have them proofread your essay, preferably someone with strong writing and editing skills.
You can also talk to your guidance counselor about scholarship opportunities. Local colleges, universities, grants, and scholarship funds will report directly to your high school guidance counselor. These are the types of scholarships that won't be on websites like Fastweb. Because local students are given preference, it drastically increases your chances of receiving scholarship aid. It's all about numbers. The more scholarships you apply to, the better your chances of receiving one! Create profiles on all of the scholarship websites, such as Meritaid.com, Scholarships.com, Finaid.org, and others like these will help you to find the scholarships that best suit you.
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