Scholarships: How to Apply and Links to Scholarships
To Scholarship or Not to Scholarship...Is That the Question?

Scholarships come in all shapes and sizes.  They provide an opportunity for many students to help pay for their tuition, books, or other college-related expenses.  Scholarships are an important way for students to help fund their education and reduce the amount they may need to borrow to earn their degree.  Okay, I am interested...now what?

Scholarships: The Myths, The Mistakes, and The Now

The 4 biggest myths are:

  1. It's too late (or too early) to apply.
  2. The good scholarships are gone.
  3. I need to have special circumstances, skills, and luck.
  4. I need to spend hundreds of hours on the process.

The 5 mistakes that increase the cost of college are:

  1. Not submitting the FAFSA;
  2. Not applying for scholarships;
  3. Eating out (use your meal plan);
  4. Bringing a car to campus (gas, insurance, parking permit, tickets, damages);
  5. Buying brand new textbooks.

The time is NOW!  Let the search begin!

  1. It's not too late to apply.  Start the search process as soon as possible!
    • Scholarships are offered year round.
    • Conduct a search regularly throughout the year to ensure you find recently added scholarships.
  2. The large majority of deadlines are within the months of February, March, and April.
How to Navigate the Process
  1. Get organized!
    • Pull together the information that may be needed for all scholarship applications:
      • Academic information (GPA, Starfish Kudos, Dean’s List, etc.)
      • Recommendation letters
      • Scholarship essay
      • Community/volunteer work, extra-curricular involvement
  2. Create a list of eligible scholarships.
  3. Sort the scholarship list by deadline.
  4. Start applying.
Strategies, Tips, and Common Errors

Strategies:

  • It’s a numbers game.
    • Even among talented students, who wins involves a bit of luck, not just skill.
    • To win more scholarships, apply to more scholarships, but only if you qualify.
  • You can’t win if you don’t apply.
    • One in four students never applies for financial aid.
  • It gets easier after your first six applications.
    • Essays can be reused and tailored to each new application.
  • Don’t miss deadlines.

Tips:

  • Prioritize your applications by deadline and the expected value of the scholarship.
  • Use a calendar and checklist to get organized.
  • Tailor your application to the sponsor’s goals.
  • Read and follow the instructions, carefully!
  • Make your application stand out from the crowd.
  • Practice on a copy of the application form.
  • Pursue less competitive scholarships, such as small awards and essay contests.  Since they are easier to win, the money adds up, and they help you win bigger scholarships.
  • Use a professional email address, such as firstname.lastname@gmail.com.
  • Clean up your Facebook account.
  • Google your name to see what shows up.
  • Make a photocopy of your application before mailing it.
  • Send the application by certified mail, return receipt requested or with delivery confirmation.
  • If rejected, ask for the reviewer comments.

Common Errors:

  • Missing deadlines
  • Failing to proofread the application
  • Failing to follow directions (essay length, number of recommendations, etc.)
  • Omitting required information
  • Applying for an award when you don’t qualify
  • Failing to tailor the application to the sponsor
  • Writing a boring essay
Essays and Letters of Recommendation

Writing the Essay…Stand Out!

  • Read directions thoroughly and completely understand before writing.
  • Use an outline to organize your thoughts.
  • Give examples and be specific.
  • Personalize your essay and be passionate.
  • Write about something of interest to you.
  • Talk about your impact on other people.
  • Proofread a printed copy of the essay for spelling and grammar errors.  Use the ARC (Academic Resource Center) for writing assistance.

Letters of Recommendation:

  • Ask to write a great letter of recommendation.
  • Recommendation should be relevant to the scholarship’s goal.
  • Provide the recommender with scholarship details.
  • Give the recommender at least two weeks to write a letter.
  • Thank the recommender for writing the letter.
Beware of...

Beware of...

  • Scholarship searches that require payment.
  • False Promises – Nobody can guarantee that you’ll win a scholarship.
  • Scholarships that ask for personal information.  Do not give out information such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers or Social Security numbers.
  • If a scholarship doesn’t have these 5 sections, it’s probably not legit:
    • Basic information about you
    • Grades/academics
    • Involvement
    • Essay
    • “Anything else” section
Where to Find Scholarships (Besides the Links Below)


Something to keep in mind:  If a scholarship doesn't make you work for the money, it's probably a scam just trying to collect  your information.

Keep track of the scholarships you apply for using this


Additionally, the Financial Aid Office receives several scholarship opportunities from sources outside of Viterbo University.  These scholarships have their own criteria and application processes.  These are privately funded scholarships.