I’ve been in your shoes. When seeking financial aid for college, I applied to at least 20 scholarships at the beginning of my search. I received no responses.
What was I doing wrong?
After scouring the internet, I realized that I was focusing my efforts towards the wrong types of scholarships. The scholarships I were applying to met the following criteria:
Publicly available online
Limited barriers to entry (short essay that anyone can apply to)
General use (a scholarship that could be applied anywhere, to any major)
The problem with these scholarships is that there are so many people applying to them. I was playing a numbers game, applying to scholarships with thousands of applicants. Was I supposed to waste hours of my time, only to get rejection after rejection?
Instead, I realized that if I was playing a numbers game, maybe I should be more selective with my time and choices. So instead, I found scholarships that met different criteria:
Available only to students from my university
High barriers to entry (multiple essays, gender or race specific)
Specific use (a scholarship specific to your major)
These types of scholarships not only have less competition, but some have no competition at all. Once I started applying to these types of scholarships, I started having a much better success rate. You may have similar luck as well. Good luck in your search!- Brian Hague
Talk to your Guidance Counselor to see if they have a list of scholarships that you can apply for. Apply for as many as you think you might be able to get. You can always use several at a time. As many as you need to pay for your tuition, books, whatever. Never turn down any of them. If they don’t have a prepared list, he/she should be able to tell you where to find the applications. You should be able to find some online. Even if it’s a small one, they can add up. If you don’t apply for them then you CERTAINLY won’t get them.
Some companies offer scholarships to the children of employees. So ask your parents if they have any available to them at work. Special groups offer them to students who are planning to study certain subject areas. Such as dairy, plants, etc. Civic groups in your hometown could also be a source. We have a group of ladies called the Emblem Club who offer one every year. These are usually smaller but they add up and anything can be helpful.