The 5 Step System to Winning Scholarships

The 5-Step System to Increase Your Odds of Winning College Scholarships

College is expensive! Between tuition, books and supplies, it can be overwhelming to see all of the money you have to spend. I know when I was in college, I wanted to do anything I could to reduce the amount of money I would have to pay back when I graduated.

Fortunately, there are lots of scholarships out there that offer assistance to students, and winning one is completely within reach! I mean, come on, it’s free money! Why not try and get your hands on some?

Looking for Louisiana-specific scholarships?
 We gathered five scholarships only available to Louisiana students!

Remember that student loans accumulate quite a bit of interest over time, so spending some time now to work on lessening your overall student debt could save you years of paying back money in the future! When I was in college, I was able to save almost $2,000 by winning scholarships. It is actually a lot easier than you might think to apply for, and potentially win, scholarships.

Use these five steps to get yourself organized and ready to win some money:

1) Start a Spreadsheet

Before you even start applying, you need to get organized. Most successful scholarship winners will tell you the same thing. Having your options laid out clearly in front of you will help you keep track of your applications and increase your chances of success!

We have one ready for you!
 Download our scholarship organization spreadsheet and get started today!  

You’ll want to keep track of things like:

  1. The name of the scholarship
  2. Who’s offering it and their contact information
  3. Where the scholarship is for and how to apply
  4. The award amount
  5. The due date
  6. Any specific requirements
  7. The date you submitted your application

Having all of these things together in one place will take some stress off of the process and give you a clear picture of your progress. You will be ready to start applying, and you’ll feel more confident and organized.

2) Choose One to Focus On

There are a TON of scholarships out there! Trying to decide which ones to apply for can be intimidating. Do some research on the scholarships offered to find one that is a close match for you!

The key is to find the scholarships that you are most qualified for. Try working on one at a time starting with the one that you meet all of the requirements for and feel good about. Putting more focus into one will increase your chances of winning by concentrating your attention in the right place.

3) Tweak Your Application for the Scholarship

There will be a lot of applications submitted for most scholarships. If you want to increase your odds of winning, make sure you are hitting all of the major requirements so your application doesn’t get dismissed in the first read-through. You can make a checklist to keep track of each thing you need to submit for a certain scholarship to make sure you are covering everything.

Some scholarships will want you to write a lengthy essay or do some type of project—don’t be afraid of these! There will usually be fewer applicants for these scholarships, which means better odds for you!

Most scholarships also request that you add references to your application— so make and keep good relationships with people you meet along the way and follow-up to make sure they submit your reference on time.

Put in the work to set yourself apart and show that you really want it. Nothing worth having comes easy, so be diligent and dedicated, and you will see the possibilities are endless!

If you have a friend or relative that’s willing to help, have them look over your application before you submit it. An extra pair of eyes is always beneficial to help pick up on errors you might have missed.

4) Be Yourself

Remember that everyone who follows the rest of this list will be submitting mostly the same scholarship application. However, you are your greatest asset. You are what will set you apart from the hundreds or thousands of other applicants.

Be yourself. Show your passions and dreams, and stay true to what makes you, you!

Find a way to personally connect with whoever will be reading your application so you stand out. Add in some of your personality to your essay, photo or video that needs to be submitted. Tell a story with the project they ask you to do.

This will increase your chances of winning because the scholarship committee will feel more connected to you. You’re unique, and that should really translate through your application!

5) Update Your Spreadsheet As You Go

This allows you to keep track of all of your application efforts. You will be able to clearly see deadlines and not have to worry about forgetting to submit something as part of your application. After all, you’re only focusing on one at a time for a reason!

Be diligent about marking down each step after you complete it, and you will make a lot more headway when sending in your applications. You can also double check all parts of the submission to make sure you’ve included everything.

Have any tips on applying for and winning scholarships or a success story from our 5-step system? Let us know in the comments below!

Ryn Middleton

Lover of yoga, traveling and live music. Writing is my passion, and I’m in love with this beautiful, beautiful life!