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Any tips on applying for scholarships?

#scholarships #help

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Nailah’s Answer


There are sooo many resources online for obtaining scholarships, and the good thing about many of them is that they allow you to filter out various aspects that may or may not apply to you, allowing you to get right to the perfect fit for you, your academic career thus far, and your academic plans in the future!

Some websites I suggest are:

- The U.S. Federal Government's scholarship search:

- Sallie Mae's scholarship search engine:

- Cappex/College Greenlight:

- Niche:

- Gates Millennium Scholars:

- Fast Web

- Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

- Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars

(The following are for highschoolers)
- Posse Foundation: (Students must be nominated by school or community-based organization in 11th grade)

- Questbridge: (Applications for Questbridge’s College Prep Scholarship are due in 11th grade; applications for Questbridge’s National College Match are due in September of 12th grade)

Some great one time scholarships:
American Indian Graduate Center ($1,000-$10,000)
Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund ($2,500-$15,000)
AXA Achievement Scholarship ($10,000-$25,000)
Coca-Cola Scholars ($10,000-$20,000)
Davidson Fellows ($10,000, $25,000, or $50,000)
Dell Scholars ($20,000)
Hispanic Scholarship Fund ($1,000-$20,000)
Horatio Alger (up to $21,000)
United Negro College Fund ($2,500-$10,000)

Last but not least - if you have a prospective school in mind, familiarize yourself with their financial aid office staff! They can inform you of internal scholarship opportunities that may be a perfect fit, for you. :-)

Remember - persistence is key! Try to create a daily practice of searching and applying for the best fits, as expansively as possible!

Best of luck to you!
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Kenneth’s Answer

Hi Mary,

There are a few things I would do.

  1. Understand your story - What are the things that you're interested in? What careers are you interested in pursuing and why? What are the extra-curricular activities that you're involved in? What struggles have you had to overcome? All these help you understand what type of scholarships you should apply for.
  2. Write core essays - More scholarship provides ask similar questions. If you can write a 500 word essay on the following topics, it will make your application process much easier because you will be able to resuse them multiple times. (What is a challenge that you had to overcome? Tell me about a significant community service experience, What major/career are you interested and why?, Tell me about a leadership experience that you've had). One thing to remember is to think holistic about all of these questions. Many time students don't realize all of the amazing things they have done. Even if you have to spend most of your time working or watching your siblings, there are powerful stories that you can share within each of those activities.
  3. Secure Recommendations - Identify individuals to write your letters of recommendations. Take time to find someone who really knows you (teacher, coach, pastor, etc) and will take time to write a quality recommendation. You're going to need them for all of your applications so choose wisely and ask early before they get overwhelmed with additional request.
  4. Identify scholarships - A majority of the national scholarship websites are not that great. I would start by identify local scholarships and build from there. A few places to start looking include (high school guidance counselor, local community foundation, google search looking for scholarships within your school district, parents jobs/affiliations, websites of other high schools in the area, the colleges you plan to apply for, local alumni associations for the colleges you plan to apply to).
  5. Stay persistent - It takes time to apply and you won't win every scholarship you apply for and that's ok. This is a process, take some time to continue to refine your personal story and keep applying!

Good luck!

Kenneth recommends the following next steps:

Identify/Develop Your Personal Story
Write Core Essays
Secure Recommendations
Identify Scholarships
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Mary,
You have gotten some great information so far. I would offer that you should consider looking for a variety of scholarships. I think that there are some that are offered to protected classes (like people of color or women) and there are scholarships for specific skills. I had a family member who won a scholarship for writing a story that was chosen to win. I offer this since some people focus only on scholarships related to academic achievement.

You should not just apply for scholarships before your freshman year, you should apply every year to make sure that you have the money that you need to meet all of your academic dreams.