4BY Scholarship Gateway


How to Win a Scholarship

You sent your college information request, applied and got accepted. Congratulations! Now you need money to go to school, but it doesn't necessarily have to be your own money; it could be a loan or scholarship.  Below are some rock solid tactics for getting money, money, and more money to help cover the costs of your education.   Keep reading if you are ready to do this!

1. Develop the Right Mindset

You need to treat this like the prep for a big game.  It's important to develop the right mindset if you want to win. Think about it. you are putting together some packets and mailing them out, each of them potentially worth $1000, $2000, or $5000.  That's a lot of cheese for the amount of work you have to put into it.   If you have a job making $10 per hour and work 30 hours per week, it would take you about a month and a half to get $1000 in take home pay.  If you follow our strategy, most of these applications will take you about two hours to complete.  If you're applying for $2000 scholarships, that's $1000 per hour!    Stack that! 

2. Get Your Stuff Together

We're aiming for mass production here, so to make things easier, you'll want to get all of the information that is commonly asked for in one place.   Start with 20 copies of each of these forms:

·        Get letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, pastors, school administrators, family, friends, or anyone with a fancy title that can vouch for you.  Get as many letters of recommendation as you can and set them aside; they will also come in handy for job, internship, and admissions applications.

·        Get a copy of your high school or college transcript.

·        Write an essay or personal statement.

·        Make a copy of your birth certificate.

·        Make a list of the extracurricular activities you are involved in, such as sports, part-time jobs, hobbies, music, dance, and church-related activities. 

·        Get a good photo of yourself taken.   

3. Get Organized

 Create a chart to stay on top of all the scholarship application deadlines.

         1. Get an accordion folder or a pack of manila folders to store your information.

         2. Create a chart or download our Scholarship Organization Worksheet.

        The chart should include:

  • Scholarship name and contact information.
  • Date application must be received by scholarship committee.
  • Date you mailed or completed the online application.   
  • Date you called the scholarship agency to verify that they received your application package.
  • Your notes.

4. Find Scholarships

There are several key resources that can help you find scholarships:

1.      If you have a job, your employer may offer scholarships.  Most fast food restaurants and many retail outlets that employ teens have scholarship programs.

2.      Have your parents check to see if there are scholarships available through their employers.

3.      Speak with your high school guidance counselor.

4.      Try one of the free scholarship listing or matching sites online like topscholarship.org or fastweb.com.

5.      Check the websites of professional organizations in your field of interest.  Most professional organizations offer scholarships.   For example, the Airline Pilots Association and the Organization of Black Airline Pilots have scholarships available for aviation students.

6.      Review the websites of civic organizations like the Boys Scouts of America, the 4H Club, the Rotary Club, and the National Urban League, as they often offer scholarships.   

5. Do It

  1. Input information about all of the scholarships that you qualify for in your chart. Make sure you take note of the correct deadlines.
  2. Complete applications.
  3. Assemble your packages in clear plastic binders.   Optionally, you can tape a photo of yourself in the inside covers of the binders.
  4. Have a parent, counselor, or someone else you look up to review your applications.

5.      Ask an English professor to review your essay/personal statement, or consider using an essay editing service.

  1. Send the applications and mark the dates on which you sent them out on your chart.
  2. Wait for a week and then call or email the organization to verify whether they received your application.

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