For many students, applying to a university may be fairly easy but the difficult part is paying for your university education. Lots of students rely on scholarships and grants from the university, government or organisations to help fund their university education. Scholarships helps you get money to pay for your tuition without having to worry about paying it back. However, searching for, finding and applying for the right scholarship can be a difficult and daunting task. This article outlines a few tips to help you successfully apply and get a scholarship.
A. TYPE OF SCHOLARSHIP
Know where to look: There are two main categories of scholarship providers. These are institutional scholarships and private scholarships. Institutional scholarships are scholarships provided by the college or university which a student attends or plans to attend. Private scholarships are independent scholarships not associated with any university or college. They provided by various organisations and associations.
Contact the financial aid office of the institution you plan to attend to learn more about the institutional scholarships offered.
Ask your high school guidance counselor for a list of local scholarships. Many high schools assemble a list of scholarship opportunities for their graduating seniors to make use of.
Search online. Once you know what type of private scholarship to look for, look for scholarship opportunities at the local, state, national, and international levels.
Search for scholarships based on academic excellence: Many scholarships are based on how well you have performed in your previous level of education. This scholarships are awarded to students who have performed excellently and lso show the potential of exceeding expectations in the chosen course. Academic excellence is determined by grade point average/transcripts, but it may also be affected by SAT or ACT scores.
Institutional academic scholarships are often divided into multiple levels. For instance, a college may offer a $5000 scholarship to incoming freshmen with a 3.7 GPA or higher or a $3500 scholarship for incoming freshmen with a GPA between 3.2 and 3.6. Even if you do not qualify for the highest level academic scholarship, you may still qualify for one at a lower level.
The GPA requirements for private academic scholarships vary depending on the organization.
Apply for an athletic scholarship: If you are very good in a particular type of sport, you might qualify for an athletic scholarship from the university of your choice. Institutions that are known for their sports programs are the most likely to give away an athletic scholarship, but there are several private athletic scholarships, as well.
Apply for need-based scholarships: These type of scholarships are some of the most competitive scholarships available. These scholarships are awarded to students from low-income families who can demonstrate a need for financial assistance. Applicants may or may not be required to submit proof that they live in low-income families. Need-based scholarships are most commonly given by the government of the students country. You can check with your country’s government for information about available scholarships and grants.
Look for service-based scholarships: Service based scholarships are scholarships that require you to be either active in the community or dedicated to a particular cause. These scholarships are mostly made available by private organisations If you know of any private organisations or NGOs that offer scholarships in exchange for services you can contact them about the details and how to apply.
Scholarships offered by special associations: These scholarships are only available to children of certain employees, union members, or university boosters. Large companies or national unions are more likely to put forth these opportunities than smaller associations.
2. PREPARING YOUR APPLICATION
- Review the requirements carefully. While there are similarities between the vast majority of scholarship applications, each scholarship has its own unique set of requirements, as well. You should make sure that you meet these requirements to avoid unnecessarily wasting time on any applications.
- Verify that you meet the qualifications. Most scholarships require you to meet certain academic, athletic, financial, or character-based criteria in order to apply. Some scholarships are also limited to certain fields of study, demographic groups, or geographic regions. Before you begin your application, you should review these requirements to make sure you qualify.
- Understand all the steps involved in the process. The majority of scholarships require you to fill out the application form, write an essay, and submit letters of recommendation. Many scholarships also require you to send a grade report, financial statement, college acceptance letter, or other records.
- Mind your deadlines. There are plenty of other students applying for the scholarship, so the scholarship board will not put things on hold for your application. In other words, you must send your application by its due date for it to even be considered.
- Fill out the application form. Make sure that the form is complete and that the information you write down is as accurate as possible. At minimum, most scholarship applications will ask you to write down your full name, contact information, and a summary of your academic and extracurricular activities. Find out the other requirements and try to meet them.
- Include any additional information needed. If the scholarship sponsor asks for any financial statements, athletic records, college acceptance letters, or other similar documents, make sure to include them in the envelope with the rest of your application.
3. AFTER SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION:
- Note the waiting period. Every scholarship has its own waiting period. Smaller scholarships may reach a decision after a few weeks, but larger scholarships may take a few months, especially if there were multiple essays on the application.
- Let the sponsor contact you. If you are selected as a scholarship winner, the scholarship sponsor will contact you to let you know. If you aren’t selected, you will either get a form response or no response at all.
- Calling before the results will not improve your odds of swaying the sponsor, but if there are circumstances that cause you to worry about the sponsor’s ability to contact you, such as a change in phone number or address, you can call the sponsor to find out if there is a way to update your contact information.
- Formally accept the scholarship once offered. Plans can change, and scholarship sponsors recognize that a student who planned on going to college may have changed those plans by the time the scholarship offer is made. As a result, most scholarships will ask that you write a letter of acceptance once they make the offer. The scholarship money may not be awarded without acceptance or acknowledgment.
- Fulfill any obligations. Some scholarships will make certain demands of its winners, but these demands will have been spelled out during the application process. For instance, you might be expected to enroll early or provide proof of admission after you have been selected but before the scholarship is officially awarded.
Now that you’ve gone through these steps, you can begin your application by visitng our scholarship page where new scholarships are added everyday and choose scholarships that are suitable to your needs and apply for them.
You can also visit scholarships4africa.org if your are from Africa and search for scholarships based on categories such as country, study course e.t.c. If you are from outside of Africa, you can visit scholarships4dev.com for available scholarships for other countries.