How to Look For University Scholarships in 2021

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Student Lifehacks
looking for college scholarships

The main topics covered in this article  include scholarships, college grants, Harvard scholarships, big future, academic scholarships, MBA, top universities in the US, Harvard University, scholarships for college, student aid, college scholarships.

Preparation for Scholarships

Education is so expensive these days and it gets more expensive the more ambitious you are. There are numerous brilliant students out there who have the best grades, played competitive sports during the day and attended music classes in the evenings. Nevertheless, so many of them have no idea how to break through the fee-paying higher education system in the USA. A lot of students heard about scholarships, might have met someone who won them but they tend to think it is so difficult, so competitive so it is needless even to try. That is the wrong mindset, my dear friends! We prepared some guiding information for you on how to look for scholarships in 2021 to let you win over $100K to go to some of the most prestigious universities like Harvard, Yale, Stanford or Columbia to pursue your bright future!

In the meantime, have a look at this Ted Talk about a checklist for winning your scholarship:

  • Step 1: Adopt the right scholarship application mindset

If you are reading this article, it already means that you have set yourself on a journey of winning A scholarship for college. We would like to advise to upgrade your mindset even further to the stage of “I hope to win a LOT of scholarships”. It is called a mindset of abundance and it means that you allow yourself to get lucky and to get lots of money to afford the education of your dreams! This type of mindset will be useful for you throughout your studies and future professional career — it’s mentioned in many business books as the key to success. It is vital to plant this idea in your head because you start applying for a lot of different scholarships:

  1. Rather than applying for the most celebrated scholarship and dreaming of getting a huge sum in one ride (which happens but quite rare), you need to apply to as many as possible. If you win $500 here and $1,500 there – it all adds up, you know!
  2. When you apply for a large number of scholarships, you do not get discouraged easily if you get refused somewhere. It is just about numbers: for some scholarships, there are just a handful of applicants and it is your chance to get the money! So use any available information, browse the internet websites, talk to your friends and find out whether they know someone who won scholarships in the past, take down the names of the organisations and start applying asap!
  • Step 2: How to look for scholarships with minimum applicants that will win you thousands

The best rule is to start early and by this, we mean not only the time of the year but a stage of your life. Most of the scholarships are available to high school students which makes sense since the whole life is ahead of you at this stage. Numerous scholarship resources for high school students can be divided into five distinctive areas:

  • High school career centers

That is your first point of contact with scholarship schemes. In case there is no career centre in your high school, check with your school’s counselor who should be able to help you with your queries or redirect you to where you can the right advice.

Such career centres should have updated lists of scholarships with all the deadlines and necessary criteria to fulfil like your age, nationality, your household’s income, your parents’ educational level etc. Make sure you check every scholarship available on this list and note down which ones apply to you.

Make sure you organise this information well since it will be very handy in your later research and application process. The best way is to an Excel spreadsheet with columns of most important information like due date, the amount you can get, whether you already applied etc. Keep updating it and you will see it will do miracles for you!

Once you have put everything down on paper including various college board scholarships as well as scholarships from niche colleges, you can try calling other high schools in your city and ask them if you can come over for a chat about student scholarships and university admissions. Do not be afraid to do it because high schools love motivated pupils since most high schoolers never go out of their way to find scholarships. If you show your initiative and enthusiasm about your educational future, they will be more than happy to assist you with it.

  • Libraries/bookstores resources
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After having consulted all the available scholarships in school career centres, your next step is to head to a library or bookstore to find the latest annual scholarship book. In fact, it is rather a catalogue that lists all the grants and scholarships available to high school students. It is a comprehensive guide on how to find cash for college!
Consider looking up the following scholarship catalogues:

1.The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2020 by G.Tanabe and K. Tanabe ($26.95)

2. Paying for College, 2020 Edition by K. Chany ($20.40)

3. Scholarships, Grants & Prizes 2020 by Peterson’s ($31.97)

Again, you need to be organised with the information, so update your Excel table with scholarships using the information from these catalogues.

  • Scholarship search sites and engines

Now, it is time to address scholarship finder websites. You need to insert certain criteria to let the system do the search for you: you might be required to enter your high school name, how much money your household earns, GPA and essay requirements. We advise you to set up an email alert straight away to receive an automatic notification if new scholarships appear on these websites. You can use the following scholarship search engines:

  • Ethnic organisations

One of the biggest providers of cash are actually the scholarships offered by various ethnic organisations. In order to earn these thousands of scholarship money, you need to belong to a certain race or background which are specified in scholarship descriptions. Here are a few suggestions for you:

  • Good old network of your friends and family

Do not forget about your main support system – your family and friends.  
Talk to them to find out if they heard of any scholarships for college freshmen – through their work connections, friends and other encounters. Just ask around!

Sometimes hundreds of bucks come from the least expected places. For examples, Kaiser offers scholarships to relatives of Kaiser employees – but you will never know this if you do not ask. If your parents are teachers, there might be financial aid in place through the Teachers Union of a specific state. The most important is that barely anyone heard about these niche scholarships which raises your chances of being one of a handful of people who actually applied. Play to your advantage!

Therefore, using these resources in a smart way, you will be able to secure thousands of dollars for your studies and pass through university admissions.

  • Step 3: Your scholarship application strategy
a student taking notes
Designed by drobotdean / Freepik

At this stage, you should have already noted down a decent amount of scholarships applicable to you. Now you need to come up with a strategy on how to apply for them or which ones to select. Here is your scholarship winning strategy: you have to apply for ALL of them! A typical application for a scholarship includes the following bits of work that you are required to do:

  • Letters of Recommendations: do not hesitate to ask for them from your teachers! If you were a hardworking and diligent student and established a good relationship with your teacher or other trusted adult, do not feel awkward to ask for a glowing recommendation for you! Not that many students actually do ask for this so any teacher would be happy to assist an ambitious student! Just approach them politely with the majority of the work done for them. You need to highlight the following information when asking your teacher for a recommendation:
    • A broad overview of what you want your teacher to highlight about you
    • 2-3 specific key points that they should outline (something that relates to the main selection criteria of the scholarship)
    • You do your resume about your achievements to make sure your teacher mentions them in the context of your recommendation

This information will lift the burden of writing from your teacher’s shoulders because they will already know where to start. A lot of teachers even tend to ask a draft of what you would like them to write about you and they will edit and sign it.

  • College Application essay: you need to write an essay that will let you stand out among the crowd of other applicants. So how can you do it? You should analyse what most students tend to write about in their essays and write something else! It is as simple as that! Most scholarship essays are written following the same scenario: good grades, school activities, life-changing missions. Everyone follows the same formula. If you follow the same pattern as everyone else, your application will not catch the attention of the scholarship judge. So you need to write your application with YOUR unique answers!

Key Things to Remember About Scholarships

There are a few things that make up a crucial part of the success of winning scholarships:

  • Make sure you proofread your essay yourself and give it to at least two other people to check it for you. It is important to see whether people can get the ideas that you have expressed there. Do not rely on the first draft you have done!
  • Barely anyone applies for the majority of scholarships so you will have a huge advantage if you apply for all of them!
  • Be aware that you might need to pass the interview stage to get accepted by the judging panel. So make sure you know your motivations well!

Best Websites to Look For Scholarships

According to the website, there are over $49 billion available in grants and scholarships. This is quite a big sum of money and you need to make sure you get a portion of it for your educational needs this autumn. You will be able to find out all the required information if you check these websites:

Iliana K