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With the high cost of education these days, winning a scholarship today has become much more competitive. You need to do everything right - yes! I mean everything that will keep the cost of your studies down. From the desk of a scholarship expert as well as an all-time selling Author Mark Kantrowitz. I have brought to you some of the secret ways you can boost your chances of winning a scholarship - it doesn’t matter if it scholarships for College, Degree Course, Masters program or the field or subject you are interested in, once done right, these few ways will land you your desired scholarship;
- Work On Your Priorities
Some students try to apply to all and every scholarship they come across - that is impossible. You must master the act of prioritization. You have to determine which or what kind of scholarship you need to apply to and as well when doing this, you have to consider the deadline alongside the expected value of the scholarship.
- You Have to Be an Organized Student
As a scholarship hunter, you have to make sure you keep track on all the scholarships you are hunting. Get a calendar and mark out all the deadlines, you can as well get a checklist to help you keep track of all the documents required for each scholarship.
- Map Out a Page Incorporating All Your Accomplishment
This is like an accomplishment resume - it should contain all your achievements. This will come in handy when you are filling out those application forms (as most of them will require you to state out two or three achievements while in school or at work). You can choose to include your achievement resume with your application if you feel comfortable about it.
- Fulfill the Scholarship Sponsor's Goals
Behind every scholarship out there is a sponsor. Every sponsor will have a set of unique goals. When you are putting down your application, make sure it is in line with their goals. A quick way to determine your scholarship sponsor goals is to consider why they want to sponsor the scholarship and the kind of students (applicants) they are looking for.
- Always Follow Instruction
This rule cannot be over emphasized. By not following instructions is one of the quickest ways you can eliminate yourself from a scholarship race even before you start running. Make sure you thoroughly read through the instruction - not just reading through them, you have to follow them. Additionally, avoid grammatical mistakes and spelling errors or you risk your application ending up in a trash can.
- Always Find a Way to Stand Out
Everybody is unique, you don’t have to be like the rest of the pack. Make sure you find a way to stand out. Clearly, send your dreams and hopes while writing your application. This will enable the selection committee to get a clear picture about who and why you are applying for the scholarship as well as why they should award you the scholarship.
- Get a Nomination
Sometimes scholarships will require that you get nominated before you will be considered. Don’t be shy to go out and ask for a nomination. Submit your accomplishment CV to whoever is handling your nomination and lastly don’t forget to drop a thank you note to the nominator if you eventually get nominated.
- Provide a Super Essay
Endeavor to write and amazing essay, just be natural, don’t force it, you will know within you when an essay is amazing. State out points in your essay that supports your evaluation. Be as specific as you can be, and don’t leave any room for your reader to ask questions. To do this, you have to select and essay that allows you to showcase your originality. Avoid philosophical and controversial essays. Instead, pick essays that can allow you to showcase your ability to solve problems and above all be honest.
In your essay, avoid skipping questions. Always state out the most important information at the beginning (make a great first impression). Write about what interest you. Just like the Olshan Foundation Scholarship you have to obey the word limit and don’t outsource your essay to professionals -write it yourself!
- Differential between Fellowship and Scholarship Applications
This will help you to determine the information you state on your application. Each type of scholarship comes with different demands, make sure your application is reflecting accordingly.
- Practice, Practice and Practice
Duplicate the application copy and try filling it. This will help you make sure that everything fits it. When you conclude that everything is where it supposed to be, then you can go ahead and fill out the actual application.
- Online Scholarship Applications
When submitting and application online, don’t use emoticons, smileys or informal abbreviations - you are not on Facebook. Reread your essay as many times as you can go. Paste your application into the application form and be sure that the formatting is correct. Save all emails in connection with the scholarship and after sending, double check and be sure that there is no failure notice on each email.
- Get a Great Letter of Recommendation
If your application requires a letter of recommendation, ask an advisor, teacher or employer and so on for a nice letter of recommendation. Give them your accomplishment resume, this will help them to write a great recommendation for you. Once again, don’t forget to send them a thank you note.
- Be Professional and Practice for The Interview
Be sure you are prepared if you have to go for an interview. It will make you be less nervous. One more thing, be on time and dress professionally. Be polite and leave a thank you note after you have been interviewed.
- Maintain Your Cool During Challenging Interviews
When an interview takes a sharp curve, stay calm and be positive. Don’t rush into providing answers, take a few seconds to think about them before dishing them out. If you are feeling pressured, try to deflect it by asking the interviewer about his advice or interest. As you know, people love talking about themselves, asking for your interviewer's advice is sure a way to reduce the pressure.
- Webcam and Telephone Interviews
If you are taking and interview through a telephone or webcam, be sure you are in a quiet room. Also, make sure you have a page of your accomplishment resume next to you. On the webcam, make sure the lens is clean, make sure the webcam is placed at your eye level and lastly make sure the background is uncluttered. You can take a snapshot prior to the interview to help you see what the interviewer is seeing.
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