Winning Scholarships: It’s A Numbers Game

“Need money for college?…apply for scholarships!” If you are a college-bound high school students, you’ve probably heard at least 3 people tell you to apply for scholarships.

But for those of you who’ve tried applying to scholarships before or have researched scholarships before, you know that it’s not as easy as it sounds…right?

Making The Commitment 

Applying for scholarships is a commitment. Although it is a worthwhile commitment, it is a commitment nonetheless!

Not only do you have to be “in it to win it,” but you have to be physically and mentally prepared to apply for a lot of scholarships in order to increase your chances at winning a few scholarships.

It’s A Numbers Game

If you really want to get some additional free money for college, then applying for 3 or 4 scholarships simply won’t cut it. You should plan on applying for at least 12  (preferably 24) in order to increase your odds of wining one or more scholarships.

Will this take a lot of time? Absolutely! But it will definitely be worth it. Having thousands of dollars shaved off your college tuition bill means that you or your parents don’t have to do things like…

  • …Take out student or parent plus loans (or at least not as many);
  • …Dig into retirement savings;
  • …Use credit cards; or
  • …Take out a home equity loan.

It’s Like A Part-Time Job

If you’re serious about winning scholarships, then you need to make it a part-time job. You should spend at least 15-20 hours each week researching scholarships, filling out applications, soliciting recommendation letters, and writing essays.

You should expect to do this for several weeks (or even months). Successful scholarship winners will tell you that it’s a lot of work and you only get out of it what you put in it (like most things in life).

You Have To Start Early

Another key to winning scholarships is starting early! A lot of successful scholarship winners began their scholarship search as early as freshman or sophomore year of high school – Yes, I said freshman or sophomore year!

Let me let you in on a little secret…a lot of scholarships are recurring (which means they are awarded each year and the requirements typically don’t change).

So students who research college scholarships during freshman and sophomore year can get a jump start on those scholarship applications and be prepared to submit them when senior year rolls around.

Let me let you in on another secret…students can sign up for scholarship search engines as early as their freshman year of high school. Fastweb is generally the most popular one.

Fastweb requires you to fill out a questionnaire so they can specifically identify scholarships that match up with your academic background and career goals. They’ll even send you emails when new scholarships become available.

I hope this was helpful! Happy scholarship hunting!

If you’re looking for specific scholarship that you can apply for right now, check out this post:

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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