How to Apply for Scholarships

February 6, 2020

Preparing for college is a long process. There are a lot of steps, from researching options to requesting reference letters and more.

For many students, scholarships are an important part of their college application process. These funds can make a huge difference in a student’s ability to pursue higher education. That’s why our team has put together some tips on how to find and apply for scholarships to help make secondary education more accessible.

Scholarship Basics

Scholarships are sums of money that are either reoccurring or a one-time payment. These payments are directly applied toward your education expenses, and they never have to be repaid. That’s why most scholarships have an application process, and why often times the qualifications require an essay. The essays are often required for applicants to explain why they are deserving of the funds. They’re granted based on need and on your achievements or application.

As we mentioned, scholarships don’t need to be repaid, unlike student loans. That means that they’re a great first place to look when you’re trying to find college funding.

Finding Scholarships

There are different types of scholarships. Some of them, called merit scholarships, are based on your grades and activities. There are also other types of scholarships that are awarded based on talents or demographics. There are also need-based scholarships, which are awarded according to financial need.

As we mentioned in our blog about when to start looking for colleges, there are a lot of great scholarship opportunities in the area including BCCF and BCCAN. Start searching for scholarships by asking your teachers or school guidance counselor for suggestions. They know you and your academics, and they might be able to point you towards specific scholarships that are a good fit.

If you’re part of a community, cultural, or religious organization, you can also ask those leadership teams for any advice. They might know of scholarships that are already available from those groups.

If you’ve already decided what college or university you want to attend, their admissions office may be able to connect you with scholarship opportunities, too. There are plenty of places to look! Just be sure to ask a credible source for suggestions in order to avoid scholarship scams.

How to Apply

Most scholarships will require you to answer one or two essay questions. These can range a lot in topic, but it’s important to always read the application thoroughly. Here are some tips to write an awesome response:

  • Read the whole prompt before you begin writing.
  • Don’t be afraid to make it personal.
  • Make sure to include one sentence at the beginning of your response that summarizes your thoughts (a.k.a. a thesis statement).
  • Make sure to answer the question truthfully.
  • When you’re done, read your response out loud. It may sound silly, but when you read out loud, your ear can help catch any grammar mistakes you might have missed when you wrote.
  • Run a spell check on your response.
  • If there is a word count requirement, make sure your response meets it. If there is a maximum word count, make sure you don’t go over it.

If you aren’t sure about your response, try asking a friend, parent, teacher, or other trusted person to read it for you. They might be able to help you spot any areas that might need more attention.

Many scholarships have deadlines. The most important part of applying for a scholarship is to make sure that you submit it before the deadline!

The BCVision team works to foster talent development in the Battle Creek community. We are happy to provide assistance and resources for you throughout your college application experience and into your career. Contact us for more information.