Creating a College Scholarship Search Strategy

3 Easy Steps to Get Scholarships


Guest Post by Ashley Hill of CollegePrepReady.com

The world of scholarships can be frustrating when you jump blindly into searching for scholarships on search engines such as Google and flipping through pages of scholarship books. On top of having busy schedules plus classes, who has time to search for scholarships in ways that aren’t working? No one!

But, what if there was a way that you can spend less time looking for scholarships and win more scholarship dollars? What if the scholarship search and application process wasn’t as stressful and frustrating for you?

In fact, you can spend less time searching for scholarships and increase your chances of winning more scholarships!

What’s the solution? You need a scholarship search strategy.

A scholarship search strategy is a customized plan of finding organizations who provide scholarships that match your academic profile as well as your unique qualities. This strategy will save you time because you will know where to look for scholarships — once and for all!

In order to create your scholarship search strategy, you must first understand the following principles:

1. Must be flexible. Your scholarship search strategy may change as you search for scholarships and that is okay. The key is to adjust to the changes as quickly as you can to keep your momentum in finding scholarship dollars.

2. Multi-level approach. Your scholarship search strategy will require you to look beyond Google searches and books. Be prepared to put the work in searching for scholarships on websites, speaking with scholarship committees, and reading scholarship books.

3. Consistency. Your scholarship search strategy is only the first step to finding more scholarship dollars in less time. The secret is being consistent (creating a regular schedule when you follow your scholarship search strategy).

Let’s dig into the three steps to creating your scholarship search strategy:

1. Create Scholarship Resume. A scholarship resume is a document including your accomplishments (academically and personally), activities (sports, etc), awards, volunteer projects, desired career interests, hobbies, and unique factors (height, ethnicity, etc). Your scholarship resume will serve as the foundation for where you will find scholarships. You must be careful not to exaggerate the information on your scholarship resume because scholarship committees will check your scholarship application for accuracy. You don’t want to miss out on scholarship money because you weren’t truthful about one of your activities or accomplishments.

2. Create list of local, regional, national, and international organizations who give college scholarships. Using your scholarship resume, you need to focus on organizations that give scholarships in areas of your accomplishments, awards, and unique factors. Start locally and then move to the next level until you have a list of at least 20 or more organizations.

3. Create timeline with bite-size goals (and then ignore them!).
A scholarship search strategy is most successful when you have specific smaller goals that will get you one step closer to accomplishing your main goal — winning more scholarship dollars! Depending on your schedule, you may want to schedule 1 hour a day or 5 hours on the weekend. Make sure that you stick to your schedule, but don’t be afraid to adjust it if you have less or more time available to search and apply for scholarships. The secret to making your schedule work is always exceeding your goals! It is highly unlikely that you will win every scholarship that you apply for, so you will need to keep applying for college scholarships.

Let’s do a quick review. You need to create a scholarship search strategy to save time and reduce stress and frustration. Create your scholarship resume, list of organizations that provide scholarships based on your scholarship resume, and create smaller goals that will help you accomplish your main goal of winning more scholarships in less time. Now, go win those scholarship dollars!

You can follow Ashley on Twitter at @prepforcollege.