Start your search for scholarships as soon as possible. If you wait until the end of high school, you’re bound to miss some of the deadlines or not give yourself enough time to complete the necessary application forms. This can be a long and time-consuming process, so don’t delay.
Apply to every scholarship for which you are eligible, including the more obscure and less competitive scholarships. Small wins add up and may help you land bigger scholarships. Check university websites for opportunities and websites which list all manner of scholarships like Careers NZ. givME (formerly BreakOut) offers access to more than 4,000 scholarships and grants for individuals.
It’s a good idea to make a spreadsheet of deadlines and requirements of all the scholarships for which you’re applying so that you know what needs to be done first. Effort is wasted if you end up missing an application deadline.
Pay attention to detail.
Be sure to tailor your answers to the sponsor’s goals. If they are looking for certain attributes, you need to demonstrate these in your application.
‘To thine own self be true’.
Polonius was right – you need to let your personality and ambitions shine through in your application. Be bold. Be passionate. This will help it stand out among others. Remember, yours may be one of hundreds of applications, so you need to give it the x-factor.
Get someone to check your application.
We don’t tend to see our own mistakes so it is important to get a fresh set of eyes to check over our applications before we send them off.
Make sure your online profile is professional.
A quick Google search of your name will easily reveal your extra-curricular antics so be sure to clean up your social media profiles so that your online life is in respectable order.
Remember to ask your referees.
You don’t want them being caught off guard with an unexpected phone call from the sponsor, so remember to check that they’re happy to be your referee before you list them down.
If you aren’t successful, it doesn’t hurt to get in touch with the sponsor to find out where you could have improved. They may give you invaluable feedback or point you in the direction of another opportunity.
Chances are you won’t win every scholarship you apply for. Chances are you won’t win the first nine – but it will all be worth it if you land the tenth one. Persistence pays off in the scholarships game.