1. Cater to the scholarship sponsor's requirements
A scholarship application form may often contain the sponsor's prerequisites, but you should explore further. Look up your scholarship sponsor on the Internet for additional clues. A company's mission statement, which can be found in the "About Us" section of its website will point you in the right direction and help give you a clearer idea.
2. A little bit of community work goes a long way
Want to win over a scholarship sponsor? Take the opportunity and volunteer for your community. Sponsors indeed have a preference for active volunteers. The bias towards volunteers makes sense as many scholarship sponsors are non-profit and remain dedicated to helping people. Having community and volunteer work in your portfolio not only gives you an advantage in scholarship applications, it can also be a good experience as well.
3. Look the part
Input your name into Google to ensure that you have a polished online presence. Do remove any inappropriate content from your Facebook profile. Be sure not to use any risque or silly email accounts. Keep it strictly professional. Establishing an online portfolio, such as through LinkedIn, Flickr or other websites may also be an added advantage.
4. A scholarship search engine can work wonders
Yes, they do exist and can help you search for a scholarship most likely to be in your favour. Check out these sites:
5. Don't ignore the optional questions
- College Board
Upon filling in your background info on scholarship search engines, explore all optional questions. By doing so, you can trigger double the amount of scholarship matches.
6. See how your scholarship odds stack up
This article shares many insights; CollegeStats.org: Which College Scholarships are Easy to Get? We Have the Data. Take the extra mile and do the research before you weigh your scholarship options.
7. Apply for as many relevant scholarships as possible
It ultimately boils down to numbers and odds, even for the most well-rounded students, luck is a deciding factor. Some scholarships with RM5000 or less may have only 20 or 30 students applying for them; so do make all your applications count.
8. Essay contests do not have as many applicants
Some students tend to be lazy and take the easy way out. Many will actually forego scholarship contests that need an essay upon applying. However, by competing with a smaller pool of aspiring students as well as taking the opportunity to demonstrate one's initiative and capabilities, this greatly increases your chances in securing that scholarship.
9. Write with passion
When you are composing a scholarship essay, let your inner voice shine through. Try and incorporate as many details into your essay that help divulge who you are. It is good practice to highlight a problem and how you went about solving it effectively.
10. Begin your search locally
Seek advice from your school's counsellor about scholarships that are available locally. Also, look at notice boards at your school library and outside financial aid places. Local scholarships are indeed easier to find and obtain as compared to regional and national ones.