Searching for Scholarships 101 Video Course
Here at LendEDU, our goal is to save you money in any way we can - we aren't just focused on student loans and student loan refinancing. This is why we are constantly creating new resources for high school students, college students, graduates, and parents.
We have found that most of the content out there about finding and winning scholarships is dry and boring. This is why we broke down the entire process into 6 separate videos that are easy to watch and digest. So grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and learn everything there is to know about scholarships!
What Are Scholarships?
You most likely have a general idea of what scholarships are--you may have even been awarded one at some point during your educational career. In this course we will be going over everything from the different types of scholarships to how to win them.
Scholarships are basically free money that is awarded to an individual so he or she can pay for their education. Unlike loans, scholarships don’t need to be paid back. There are countless scholarships out there for students and over 50 billion dollars in money available. Scholarships should always be a student's first target in securing money to finance their education. Why take on loans when you could get your college paid for - for free?!
Scholarships come from a variety of sources and can be awarded for a variety of reasons. We will go over these topics more in depth in the following sections of this course.
What Are the Different Kinds of Scholarships?
There are three main types of scholarships: merit-based, need-based, and privately offered scholarships.
Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students who meet a certain standard set by the organization who created the scholarship. These are usually based on academic performance, but can also be awarded for athletic achievement, musical talent, artistic ability, or an extraordinary dedication to community service.
Need-based scholarships are given based on the financial situations of students and their families. The majority of these scholarships are given by the government and require students and their families to fill out the FAFSA. The FAFSA tells the school your expected family contribution, helping them decide if you need help paying for college. If you do, you may be awarded a scholarship.
Lastly, many private organizations offer scholarships to students for a variety of reasons. Though these scholarships may be given based on merit or need, the organization can ultimately choose what they are awarded for.
Other than what was previously mentioned, a private organization may give students their scholarship based on heritage, home location, what school they are attending, or for skills related to their company.
Some of these companies or organizations may genuinely want to help students, while others may just be looking to build positive PR for their business to generate traffic or make money. Regardless of the companies’ intentions, private scholarships are a great way to save money in financing your education.
How to Find Scholarships
There are endless websites and resources on the internet to help students find scholarships. On our website, LendEDU.com, we have an entire section dedicated to scholarships. There are over 100 topics each with multiple scholarships inside. In addition, there are directions and links for how to apply for these scholarships.
Besides what we have at LendEDU, there are many other websites that have helpful scholarship searches. Most allow you to narrow your search by religion, ethnic background, disabilities, and much more. After submitting this information, you will easily be able view many scholarships that you are eligible for. Also, many of these sites allow you to fill out one application and easily apply to scholarships with just one click.
Finally, if you are in highschool, check the college counseling section of their website for local scholarships. Many organizations will contact high schools directly if they don’t put much effort into advertising their scholarship.
When searching for scholarships, you will be presented with thousands of options. Though this may be overwhelming, take a step back and think about which you have the best chance at winning. Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it is time to apply! We will go over how to apply for scholarships in the following section.
How to Apply for Scholarships - Essay Tips
Most scholarships require general information that you can’t really change, such as the high school you attended, your GPA, where you live, and, in some cases, the results from your FAFSA. There are, however, two sections where you can stand out--the essay and the letters of recommendation. In this video, we will go over tips for writing your essay.
Not all scholarships require essays, but many do. Even if you aren’t the best at writing, many organizations care about what you say, not necessarily how you say it. A passionate and interesting story will always beat out a boring, yet grammatically correct essay. Here are some tips for writing your essays:
Always outline your essay. Structuring your essay will ensure that it flows well and makes sense to the reader.
In addition, use real examples in your essay. If you choose a topic that actually affected you, it will be easier to write and will seem much more personal to the reader.
Next, make sure to highlight your growth. If you’re talking about a difficult time in your life, make sure to show how you overcame it and how it has shaped you.
Finally, proofread your essay! Make sure your essay is easy to read and is free of obvious grammatical errors. You can also try to get a teacher, parent, or classmate to read over your essay to make sure that you aren’t missing anything. Though the thoughts behind your essay are what is most important, if the reader can’t understand your essay, they don’t matter.
How to Apply for Scholarships - Letter of Recommendation Tips
Aside from essays, many scholarships will require one or more letters of recommendation from their applicants. People who write these letters should be able to attest to your work ethic, character, or academic accomplishment. The following are some tips for your letter or letters of recommendation:
First, be sure to choose the right people to write your letter of rec. Make sure to follow all guidelines on who the letters can be written by. If is always a safe to choose a teacher who you have a strong relationship with and whose class you did well in.
In addition, make it easy for the writer. Tell the writer what the letter should include, when you need it by, and who to send it to. Many people may even prefer if you created an outline for them to follow.
Next, provide examples to the writer. Though you may be close with the writer, they don’t know everything you’ve done. Give him or her a list of your activities, awards, and accomplishments that they may want to mention in the letter.
Finally, be sure to thank the writer for their time. He or she took the time out of their day to help out you and your future. Be sure to show your gratitude with a card, a gift, or at least a simple in-person thank you!
Avoiding Scholarship Scams
As with anything involving money, there are always people looking to scam others to make a quick buck and scholarships are no exception. These tips will help you make sure you don’t end up losing money while trying to earn free money!
Some people will set up fake scholarships in order to try to scheme applicants out of money. One of the most common and simplest ways is to do this is through an application fee. The scholarship will require a payment just to submit your application for a chance to “win”. Often these scammers will never even choose a winner and keep all of the money for themselves. As a rule of thumb, if it’s asking you to pay money, look somewhere else.
The next scam to look out for is randomly awarded scholarships. Everyone has been “randomly selected” to win something while browsing the Internet. This is a common tactic that scholarship scammers will also utilize. These ads will tell you that you won some amount of dollars in scholarship money and that you just have to pay a processing fee to receive it. After you pay the money, you will most likely never hear from the people again and lose it all.
Finally, watch out for scholarships requiring financial information. Scammers may tell you that you’ve won a scholarship and that they just need some financial info, such as a bank account or credit card number, to send you the money. This is another sure sign of a scam. If you provide them with this information, they will most likely steal your money and never provide you with the scholarship. Usually, scholarship providers will send the money to your school, not directly to you.