5 Tips for Finding Scholarships That Match Your Skills

shutterstock_50570824-740906-editedThere’s no denying that a college education is a huge investment, but there are ways to alleviate your sticker-shock. Fortunately for most students who don’t hold the title of class president or captain of the football team, there’s still hope for a scholarship. “Being a high school football or basketball legend certainly helps, but many students don’t fall under those categories,” says the staff at Peterson’s. “Perseverance, researching what’s available, filling out endless forms, and getting those forms to the right place at the right time can all lead to scholarships, too.” Read on for help with your scholarship search.

Struggling to find scholarships that are right for you? Here are five tips:

#1 Start as early as possible.

While deadlines depend on the scholarship and its source, it’s important that you start your search as soon as possible. Keep in mind that the ideal time for your scholarship is the window between your junior and senior year of high school. If your academics, college search, SAT prep, or extracurricular activities are packing your schedule, fear not. There’s still time to find scholarships that pertain to your interests and financial needs. U.S. News writes: “A few dozen charities and nonprofits hold open their scholarship contests for procrastinators. Some of these competitions are more fun than the standard essay contests. And a few offer comparatively good odds.”

#2 Do your research.

Searching for scholarships isn’t the hard part—just type “scholarships” into your search bar and you’ll see why—but finding the right scholarship may take some time. The staff at Scholarship Experts by Unigo writes: “In today’s world, if you are willing to spend some time looking for scholarships that match your unique background and qualities, it is likely that you will find programs matched to your personal information.” Take your search over to Fastweb, where you can find scholarships based on your interests, skills, and more.

#3 Be specific.

Now that you know when and where to begin your search, narrow your search based on the field of study of your undergraduate program, as well as the city and state where you live. Many scholarships are awarded to those who have undergone hardships, live with a disability, or prove themselves to be non-traditional students, which just goes to show that when you specify what diversifies you, you may discover new scholarship opportunities.

#4 Use your resources.

When you’re looking for the best fit, nobody knows you better than your family and friends. If you have an older sibling or a relative who’s been through the scholarship process, ask for some advice. In addition, schedule an appointment with your school counselor to discuss scholarship options that are right for you.

#5 Check with the colleges where you’re applying.

Contact your preferred colleges or universities about their scholarships opportunities. Many schools offer scholarships for incoming students, and some even offer a search tool that enables students to search for scholarships by major and interests. For more on finding scholarships and preparing for college, stay tuned for our next article…