Attending college is a dream for many, as it can offer enhanced job security and prospects. For example, the U.S. Department of Education reports that a worker with a bachelor’s degree will earn $1 million more over a lifetime than a worker with no postsecondary education.
Even with all that college offers, completing years of postsecondary education is often difficult for some students to finance. According to a report by USA Today, college costs hit minority students and their families (the study analyzed Hispanic and Black families) much harder than White families.
However, the cost of college doesn’t have to fall entirely on an underrepresented student’s shoulders. There are many college scholarships available to help lower tuition costs. As an underrepresented student, you can follow certain strategies to help maximize the college scholarships you receive.
In this article, we’ll cover how to apply for college scholarships and ways you can simplify the process.
How Many Scholarships Should You Apply For?
As many as you can! There is no “limit” you need to follow. Colleges will not care about how many awards a student applies for. Just make sure your scholarship search doesn’t interfere with your schoolwork and everyday life.
How To Pick The Right Scholarship For You
Realistically, you can’t apply for every award out there. You should narrow your search to make the best use of your time.
Here are some things to consider as you’re selecting awards to apply for:
- The source: What kinds of awards are you interested in? Most are distributed by the government or colleges, but outside organizations offer them as well.
- Your interests: Stick to college scholarships that fit your educational interests. If you don’t yet know what you want to study, look for awards that aren’t limited by an intended career path or major.
- The basic qualifications: Before you start applying, carefully read all of the qualifications. If you don’t meet one of them, you should look elsewhere. There is no sense in wasting your time on completing an application for a scholarship you don’t apply for.
How To Apply For Multiple Scholarships At Once: A Quick Guide
Are you still wondering how to apply for financial aid? The process may seem intimidating at first. However, with the right planning, you can simplify the process and apply for multiple at once.
Follow these 5 steps for maximizing your college scholarship search and securing the most funds possible for your education.
Step 1: Start early.
A lot of high school students make the mistake of waiting until they’re juniors or seniors to start applying for scholarships. Don’t let this be you!
It’s never too early to start applying for financial aid for college. As soon as you step into high school, it’s time to start. Even students who are only freshmen or sophomores in high school should start applying as soon as possible.
Arguably, filling out your first scholarship application for college will be the hardest step. Once you get familiar with how the application process works, you’ll become more efficient at filling out future application forms.
Give yourself plenty of time to meet deadlines and submit all pertinent information.
Step 2: Assemble all your documents.
Applying for school scholarships can make you feel like a secretary rather than a student. For each one, you’ll have to complete an application form and fill in all of the sections correctly.
Depending on the specific financial aid you apply for, students may also have to provide:
- A copy of your ID or passport
- Copies of your transcripts
- A statement of purpose (also called a letter of motivation)
- Letters of recommendation from teachers or counselors
- A resume or CV (curriculum vitae)
- Standardized test scores
Some college scholarships will ask students for further documentation like their guardians’ financial information.
To make the application process go as smoothly as possible, assemble all of these documents in one place. Keep them in a dedicated file on your computer. It may take some time, but it will be well worth it in the long run.
Whenever a new college scholarship opportunity arises, you won’t have to go digging for a certain document. Everything you need will be available right at your fingertips.
Step 3: Find college scholarships that have similar requirements.
Ever heard of the phrase, “work smarter, not harder?” This should apply to all facets of life, including school scholarship applications!
Students should look for college scholarships that have similar requirements. You can recycle your essays and short responses when appropriate. Rather than rewriting a whole essay, make tailored changes to have the best chance at standing out.
Step 4: Make it a part-time job.
While we’ve titled this article “How to Apply for Multiple Scholarships At Once,” you can’t complete the process in a single day.
It often takes several months to secure enough scholarships to pay for college.
To ensure you get as much money as possible, make your scholarship search a part-time job throughout high school. Look for new opportunities during any free time you have.
While applying for school scholarships is important, never make it your full-time career as a student. Unfortunately, you can’t put “proficient at applying for financial aid” on your school scholarship applications. Leave yourself enough time to complete your schoolwork and participate in extracurricular activities.
Step 5: Don’t become discouraged and seek help.
There are many other students in your position applying for financial aid. Don’t become discouraged if you don’t win the first few you apply for. Stay persistent and focus on securing funds you can use to achieve your educational goals.
Don’t hesitate to seek outside help. Your parents and peers can motivate you on your journey to pay for college. School counselors are often more than happy to help students navigate the logistics of scholarship applications.
Attending college can help students start their adult lives on the right track. At college, you’ll gain a priceless education, make lifelong connections, and set yourself up for a successful career. A lot of students, especially those from minority backgrounds, may be intimidated by attending college. Tuition costs can be daunting and may discourage students from even applying.
Luckily, there are thousands of scholarships available to help underrepresented students go further in school. Here at GrantEd our goal is to help you find scholarships so you can pay for college with peace of mind. Sign up today so you can join the thousands of students we’ve helped in an efficient search for postsecondary school funds.