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How can I improve my chances at winning scholarships?

I'm looking to apply for a wide range of scholarships while in my last year of high school. How can I make myself more competitive amongst other submissions? #scholarships #high-school

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Subject: Career question for you

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Talmadge’s Answer

I suggest reading through the description and understand what the scholarship committee is looking for in an applicant. Often times they use key words that can guide you in crafting your application. Those key words can also apply to none traditional experiences, such as hobbies, so that you can show who you are outside of school. For example, if they are looking for diversity experience, then you can talk about a time you traveled, engaged in your community, or learned a new language.

Talmadge recommends the following next steps:

Highlight key words in the application
Make sure your application meets the prompt requirements
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Marc’s Answer

Focus on quality, not quantity. With all of the scholarships available and the aggregation websites that make you aware of them, it is tempting to apply to as many as you can and hope you get chosen for one or some. Most scholarships select one recipient, so you need to be the best. You cannot be the best if you are using the same essay for every application. Be selective about the ones you apply to and really tailor your application and essay to the donor's mission.
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Elizabeth’s Answer

A lot of people will tell you that you improve your chances by being a well-rounded student, which is good.  However, my advice is to apply for scholarships even when you don't think you're the best candidate, especially for small, local organizations.  Many times those lesser known scholarships have very few applicants and they are able to award funds at their discretion.  I've sat on scholarship committees where we had less than 5 applicants.  Sometimes, only 1 person applied by the deadline, and they received the scholarship.

Elizabeth recommends the following next steps:

Search for scholarships offered to students in your community. Start with the chambers of commerce, local companies, educational foundations, and alumni associations.
Apply for the scholarships by completing all requested information and submitting your application on time.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Eric,

How to Improve Your Chances at Winning Scholarships

Winning scholarships can be a competitive process, but there are several strategies you can employ to increase your chances of success. Here are some tips to help you make yourself more competitive amongst other submissions:

1. Start Early and Stay Organized: Begin your scholarship search early, ideally in your junior year of high school or even earlier. Create a list of all the scholarships you plan to apply for, along with their deadlines and requirements. Staying organized will ensure that you don’t miss any opportunities and give you plenty of time to prepare strong applications.

2. Tailor Your Applications: Each scholarship has its own set of criteria and requirements, so it’s essential to tailor your applications to fit the specific guidelines of each scholarship. Take the time to understand what the scholarship committee is looking for and customize your application accordingly. Highlight your achievements, experiences, and goals that align with the values of the scholarship.

3. Focus on Academics and Extracurricular Activities: Maintaining a strong academic record is crucial when applying for scholarships. Make sure your grades are competitive and consider taking challenging courses or participating in advanced programs like AP or IB. Additionally, involvement in extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, community service, or leadership roles can make your application stand out.

4. Write Compelling Essays: Many scholarships require applicants to submit essays or personal statements. Use this opportunity to showcase your unique qualities, experiences, and aspirations. Craft compelling essays that demonstrate your passion, drive, and commitment to your education and future goals.

5. Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation can provide valuable insights into your character, abilities, and potential for success. Choose recommenders who know you well and can speak to your strengths effectively. Provide them with relevant information about the scholarship and why you are applying for it.

6. Seek Out Local Scholarships: In addition to national or international scholarships, don’t overlook local scholarship opportunities offered by community organizations, businesses, or foundations in Elk Grove or California. Local scholarships may have fewer applicants, increasing your chances of winning.

7. Proofread Carefully: Before submitting any applications, make sure to proofread all materials carefully for grammar and spelling errors. Attention to detail can make a significant difference in how your application is perceived by the selection committee.

By following these tips and putting effort into each application, you can enhance your chances of winning scholarships during your last year of high school.

Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used in Answering this Question:

U.S. Department of Education: The U.S. Department of Education provides valuable information on financial aid options for students pursuing higher education, including tips on applying for scholarships.

College Board: College Board offers guidance on finding scholarships, writing strong applications, and maximizing financial aid opportunities for college-bound students.

Fastweb: Fastweb is a reputable scholarship search engine that helps students find relevant scholarship opportunities based on their profile and interests.

These sources were consulted to ensure accurate and reliable information was provided in response to the question about improving chances at winning scholarships during high school.

GOD BLESS YOU!
JC.
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