Scholarships are one of the best ways to help you pay for college. Scholarship funds do not have to be repaid. But there are do’s and don’ts you should be aware of as you search and apply for scholarships.
Start your search early – Believe it or not some scholarships have deadlines as early as January when applying for the fall semester.
Keep track of deadline due dates - If you see something in your early search that is not yet accepting applications be sure to keep a calendar or schedule and set reminders to get that application in on time for the future date.
Search often - Scholarships get created and posted regularly, so you may see something in this week’s search that you didn’t see last week.
Search selectively - Don’t just apply to everything. Take the time to review the criteria to see where you will have the best chances of being considered. In some cases, you may not even be qualified to submit an application (example state residency requirement). You want to spend your time wisely increasing your chances to be selected by submitting to the best matches.
Search local - In many instances local scholarships have a smaller applicant pool increasing your chances to be awarded some scholarship funds.
- Your high school guidance office
- Community organizations, e.g. Lions Club or YMCA
- Your local place of worship
- Ask family and friends if their employers offer scholarship opportunities
- Local Non-Profits e.g. RISLA’s Knowledge for College Scholarship
- RIScholarships.org – free online search tool of local scholarships
Save copies - Save copies of your essays and additional information submitted in a convenient location. Having easy access to copy and paste answers to previously asked questions can save you time and effort.
Don’t assume - Don’t assume you will not qualify for anything because you are not a straight “A” student or super star athlete. Not all scholarships require high GPAs or state champ athletic recognition.
Don’t ignore - Do not pass over opportunities for small dollar amount scholarships. These smaller amounts can help with books and miscellaneous fees. Every dollar is helpful.
Don’t be fooled by scams - Unfortunately, scams do exist. Some of the most common scams to be aware of are ones that ask for any type of fees. Some examples include requiring you to pay fees up front to do the searching for you or receiving notification of a scholarship that you did not apply for, as there may be a fee required for you to receive it.
Don’t give up - Persistence is key.