12 Brilliant Tips to Win a College Scholarship

Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024

Getting into a top college through scholarships is not a cake-walk. It requires a lot of patience and hard work. Almost all the best colleges (national and international) have scholarships accessible for students to apply for. You only need to discover them and learn to successfully apply for them.

Many people believe that only students with exceptionally high grades win scholarships. It is due to this assumption that a lot of capable students have stopped themselves from applying for scholarships. Moreover, with the increasing competition these days, it is all the more difficult to get a scholarship of your choice.

Here are 12 tips you can use to save your time and cut college costs:-

Begin as Early as Possible.

Starting late is the most common problem related to scholarship finders. Any student who begins early will have an upper hand over others. Do not wait until high-school gets over and start looking for a suitable scholarship at an early stage. The sooner you get serious about it, the better it will be. There are many colleges and universities that call for applications from students who are still studying in high-school. Just keep a tab on the deadlines and details of such programmes.

Maintain a Balance between Quantity and Quality.

Students make an effort to apply for all the possible scholarship opportunities that come their way. But what needs special attention is the application process. The process consists of an application form as well as an essay. Students can use the same essay with minor changes here and there to apply at different universities. It is also necessary to print application forms of different kinds for better preparation. This helps in keeping a quality-quantity balance.

Go for Local Scholarships

As the race for the top and well-known scholarships is way too competitive, the students must take a turn towards local scholarships. There are various opportunities available through unions, small businesses, and groups. The chances of winning local scholarships are higher as they focus only on a small section of students. Keep a regular check on local websites and radio stations. You can also do geographical Internet searches to find them.

Work on Your Essay

Essays play a huge role in a candidate’s selection. You need to create your essays different from others and offer something unique. Ensure that you don’t repeat the same sentence again and again. Avoid giving your personal introductions in them as they are a complete put-off. Additionally, the first paragraph creates the most impact so don’t make it cliché; make it as creative and original as possible. Just be cautious to follow the scholarship rules, with essay word count.


A mistake that many students make is that they do not proofread their applications and essays. Before making the final submission it is extremely beneficial to give it a thorough read. If possible make your parents, teacher or guide read it too. This is because sometimes we tend to miss out on our mistakes. Having a second opinion will definitely help in making your essay better. Furthermore, if your essay is good enough, getting appreciated for it will boost your confidence.

Look for Personal or Professional Connections

Request your parents to check with their HR office about scholarships for relatives or family members. Also, get the word out to your parent's friends, and others in your area that you're searching for scholarships to help pay for university/college. Your chances of winning are probably going to be higher if there's a personal connection. These connections will help you learn about various scholarships that you would not get on the internet or newspapers. 

Keep applying

Continue searching for new scholarships and don't take a break. There are scholarships reachable for secondary school students, undergraduates, and graduates. A few scholarships even allow one student to enter more than once. And a few that conduct scholarship programmes twice a year or even quarterly.

Opt for Skill-Based Scholarships.

Colleges and Universities are not just into academic scholarships. If your extra curriculum activities are more along with good grades, you have several options to choose from. Simply focus on that one skill that you know you are exceptionally good at. Work towards enhancing it further and don’t forget to keep looking for scholarships in that area.

Work On your Interview Skills.

 Numerous scholarships conduct an in-person interview. Becoming a decent interviewee happens gradually, so work towards learning more about your background, interests, accomplishments, and desires. Remember, an interview additionally requires a specific level of social skills, so the more comfortable you are talking with the interviewer and replying to questions, the better the interview will go. Stay confident and not nervous. No answer is right or wrong. Your interviewer only needs to get a genuine vibe for your identity. So, the most critical thing to remember is to act naturally!

Stay Motivated

Getting a scholarship takes time. Do not lose hope and keep applying. You never know when you get in. Moreover, going through this process will only help you grow personally. This means that giving interviews, writing different essays and forms will let you learn your strengths and weaknesses. You can use this as an advantage for future programmes. Just tell yourself every day why you need this scholarship and how it will help you accomplish your dreams.

Look Professional

Universities (especially in the overseas) sometimes search their candidates on Google to have a look at their lives. It is thus important to look professional and have a clean online presence on social media platforms like Facebook. Get rid of all the content that might leave a bad impression.

Beware of Scams.

While searching for scholarships, you would find various websites offering “guaranteed scholarships.” Do not fall for them as those are scams. No institution asks for an application fee for a scholarship. Even if they do, it is only a tiny amount. The ones asking for too much money are obviously unofficial and crooked.