As we head deeper into scholarship season, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tasks to accomplish. Fortunately, there are ways to streamline the process so that it is easier for you to complete multiple applications at a time (and keep your sanity intact).
- Find Your Scholarships: If you’re going to be intentional about completing scholarship applications, you’ll have to decide which scholarships to apply for first. Start with a visit to your school counselor for ideas—they will be your ticket to find some good scholarships, especially local and state scholarships. You should also do your own research. The college that you plan to attend will undoubtedly have scholarships available to incoming freshmen, so be sure to check there. There are also several free online search engines available to help you find scholarships. If you haven’t done so already, set up a ScholarshipQuest account!
- Make Checklists of Scholarship Requirements: Now that you have some scholarships that you want to apply for, take some time to read through all the eligibility requirements and the scholarship application instructions. As you read through this information, note the deadlines and make a checklist of everything that is required for each scholarship application. Keep these checklists in a safe place. You’ll need them later!
- Make a Scholarship Calendar: Once you’ve completed your checklists, make a scholarship calendar. Start off by marking all the due dates (and times, if applicable) for each scholarship. It is also a good idea to note the submission instructions (where and how to submit each application) so that you don’t accidentally email an application when you’re supposed to mail it, or make other silly mistakes that could cost you. When you have the deadlines down, take a look at the checklists that you made for each scholarship, and mark down days to complete specific scholarship related tasks. Mark down days to get transcripts, days to ask for letters of recommendation, days to collect those letters of recommendation, days to write essays, etc. If you write it all down in advance and stick to the schedule, you’ll never be scrambling to finish your applications last minute.
- Set Aside Regular ‘Scholarship Time’: Completing several scholarship applications at a time can seem overwhelming, but if you work on them a little at a time, it won’t be as stressful for you. Set aside an hour a couple times a week to work on scholarship applications, and be mindful of ways that you can reduce the amount of work that you need to do. One great way to simplify essay writing is to save every essay that you write for a scholarship and to review your past essays for future applications. Many essay prompts are similar, so you should be able to reuse some ideas. Be sure to write a new essay every time though—scholarship review committees will notice if your essay was written for another application.
Scholarship applications can become a lot easier with a little extra work upfront and a bit of organizational skills. Do you have any tips for how to organize your scholarship applications? Leave them in the comments below!