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Scholarship Programs: 3 Steps To Winning More Awards

Apr 2, 2008
Time to find some college money through all those scholarship programs you hear about. Here are 3 quick tips to speed up your search for tuition and book money. I'll get right into the tips.

1. Find More Scholarship Programs
You need money, and foundations and memorial funds have it. You can apply for Walmart Scholarship programs, the Burger King Scholarship, Pepsi, Coca Cola, and on and on. Even Kohls has an award.

The point: you need to find as many as possible. Start with a scholarship program handbook at your local bookstore. But look at these other locations to find more scholarships:

- Your high school guidance office
- Your college financial aid office
- Good online scholarship search engines, and not just Fastweb.com.
- Local colleges, and community colleges
- Large and well known employers in your area
- Charitable organizations and churches in your town
- Business groups like the chamber of commerce
- National versions of all of the above

2. Improve Your Scholarship Essays
In other words, write great essays. You will have to write a couple of essays to get a scholarship, and you can reuse your essays. But here lies the problem. If you reuse a lousy essay, you are hurting yourself.

You have to write to get a scholarship, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Start by reading a few examples - you can find them online or in scholarship program guide books. Then, write your own. Use good grammar, and make sure the essay flows.

Most important in this step: have others read it. If you can get a teacher to read it, all the better, but get more than one opinion on your essay. Then, write another and have them read that one. Don't throw any out, you may need parts or all of them later.

If you do several, you will start writing better. Your words will come more naturally. You want to sound genuine. Your audience, the people who award the scholarship, will see you through your writing. You want your essay clear and understandable. And once you write a few, you'll feel better about your writing and find more to say and talk about.

Now you get to the good part. After writing a few and improving, you also can choose what to include. You won't have to write each one from scratch, you can use the others you have written to provide you with more material. At this point, writing your essays will come much easier. But you need practice to get there, and you need people to proofread them to help you refine your writing.

3. Start Applying for Scholarships
Now you start applying for all the programs you found in the first step. You have some great essays prepared, and you have several programs to apply to. Get those applications finished, have a friend or teacher proofread it, and send it in, on time or early.

Many people skip applying for scholarships altogether. You may be in this boat. You might think you don't have good enough grades, or you don't have enough talent to compete. Let me tell you, you need to apply anyway. Only applicants can receive an award, and you can apply. It only costs a few minutes or a couple of hours to fill out the forms. Do it. Send them in. And then, do it again with another.

Many scholarships do not rely on grades or talent. You can win just by being one of a small group that applies and looks reasonably qualified based on who you are, what you study, or where you live or study. Also, numerous scholarship programs every year do not award all their money - millions go unapplied for or unawarded. You can get some of this huge pool of money.

Take the initiative. Apply.
About the Author
Need more tips on scholarship programs? Come to my scholarship information page and download my free grant program ebook here
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