These are one of the best things that have ever happened; apart from sliced bread, of course. They give you the ability to study in a different country, meet amazing minds from all ends of the earth and earn the degree of your dreams; all for free! But getting a scholarship is not always easy. It requires a lot of work and sometimes, people miss scholarship opportunities through mistakes made in the application process. The competition is usually fierce for scholarships especially the full-ride ones so it is important to get it right. How exactly does one get a scholarship? Let’s find out.

  1. Research

There are thousands of scholarship opportunities out there; both popular and unpopular ones.  So research! There are numerous scholarship sites on the web, become their friend, sign up to join their mailing list so you get firsthand information.

There are different types of scholarships:

  1. Sports scholarships.
  2. Scholarships offered based on academic merit
  3. Scholarships reserved for Minority groups
  4. Location-specific and program-specific Scholarships.
  5. Scholarships provided by the Universities, Private or Government Bodies, etc.

A lot of information right? Well, do not panic just yet. Look for the one that serves you best; as a minority, a great sportsman, etc. When you find a scholarship; maybe on a scholarship website or page, go to the page of the sponsoring body to find out if you meet their requirements. Many times, the ad page doesn’t carry all the requirements the scholarships donors have set so you need to do your research. Also, if you feel the need to, you can contact the school and scholarship donors to make sure you have the right information.

Also, research on the sponsoring body and see what you can find out about them that will help you present your application and essay or letter of motivation in a way that wins their hearts. Find out what they want, who they are (even outside the scholarship presentation given), see what they are like, what they promote and what they hold in high esteem on all their platforms so you know how to apply and appeal to win their favor. It’s not emotional manipulation, don’t worry.

  1. Volunteer and Let them know you did! 

Scholarship providers want to see selflessness and great leadership. They want to know that the opportunity they give you will be used to better your society and the world at large. What better way to convince them that you are what they are looking for than to volunteer and let them know you did?! When writing your essay or building your resume (if they require one), make sure you add and highlight times when you volunteered, put others before yourself and exemplified great leadership skills. It works like magic. 

  1. Begin the process early.

Monica Matthews who wrote “how to win a college scholarship” highlighted this as top priority. Many scholarships have deadlines that come way before the school year commences. It is important to begin your search process early; sometimes even way before you need the scholarship. Why? Because you need to know what it is like. In order to do that, it is best to gather Intel. How? Talk to your school counselors as well as others who have succeeded in getting a scholarship so you know what to do. Everyone needs a little guidance at one point or the other, this is one of those points.

Also, beginning your process early gives you ample time to prepare your essay or letter of motivation, leaving you with excess time to check and double-check to make sure you check all the scholarship requirement boxes. If you start late, you might have to rush and in the end, even forget to provide your name! Plus, missing a scholarship deadline will get you automatic disqualification from the process so, start early.

  1. Work that Essay. 

You heard that right! Your essay is the key to getting this scholarship. This is where you put your creativity to work. Let them know why you deserve this opportunity. Get personal; don’t be afraid (they need to know they are not giving this opportunity to a robot). Give them what they want. That research you did; it will be helpful here. Use the information you got to present yourself in a light that is appealing to them. Here, it is more than just your GPA, they want to see you; your trials, moments you showed up for the betterment of your local society, how you are working on yourself to be better and how even your failures make you a great candidate for the scholarship. This might sound like a lot and it is but, getting a scholarship is not a walk in the park. No matter what you write, make sure you are genuine, and not giving them another person’s story. Whatever you write, let it be yours and let it be worth a scholarship.

  1. Apply to as many as you can. 

When looking for a job, do you apply to one place? So why apply for only one scholarship?  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If a scholarship is something you truly need,

Apply, Apply, and… Apply!