As someone who grew up in the lower middle class, I never had money for every field trip, book fair, school dance, every concession stand, and especially not college. I was in middle school when my mom told “If you want to go to college, you need to figure out how to get there.” Sounds harsh, but it jump-started my ambition and drive to succeed. As a senior in high school, I was awarded a full ride scholarship to a wonderful university. And now, as a college student, I have been selected for several study abroad scholarship totaling up to about $13,000. How did I do it? Keep reading to find out!

  1. Define who you are: I don’t always physically write this out, but making a list of your unique qualities will help you narrow down the search of all the awards that are out there as well as give you a better chance of what is out there. What is your ethnicity? Your religion? Are you left or right handed? What makes you you?
  2. Make a list: Create a list of all the scholarships that fit your unique abilities. There are so many out there and can be hard to keep track of them all. One thing I like to do is create a window and open a new tab for each scholarship. Or maybe write it all in a word document.
  3. Get organized: It’s obviously important to take note of all the submission dates of the scholarships you apply to, but even more than that make sure you take note of the minor deadlines as well. Usually there are documentation deadlines, recommender deadlines, certification deadlines etc. Also make sure you are aware if there are any documents that must be submitted through the mail.
  4. Create a Master Profile: If you are applying for scholarships, chances are you are using the money for one goal: school, a trip, or a program. Create a Master Profile of your goals, plans, personality, unique talents, accomplishments, positions, etc. This list should have everything that makes you you. Scholarship applications pretty much ask the same things, so have that information readily available so it is easier to apply in bulk.
  5. Reuse References: This is not always applicable, but if you can, get hard copies of recommendation letters to keep on hand. It makes it easier and less awkward instead of continuously asking your favorite English professor for the same thing.
  6. Proofread and Review: Scholarship recipients are usually reviewed and chosen by a committee. Committee members do not like to see typos or grammatical errors as it shows the applicant did not take the process serious. Be professional and proofread your application before sending it in, bonus points if you can get someone else to review it as well!

And that’s it! Having a clear, definite grasp on who you are and what you want should translate in your application so that scholarship coordinators have a deep understanding of you, what you bring to the table, as well as why you deserve those coins!

If you have any specific question about any step in my process or would like me to go into more detail about any step of my process, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below! Make sure you’re subscribed to Keep up with Kaevyn!



Kaevyn Lei

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