February 1, 2024
Six expert strategies to help you win scholarships
Applying to scholarships isn’t just a numbers game. A little bit of strategy goes a long way.
We asked the Financial Aid Advisors at Mos what their advice was for students looking to win scholarship funds, and they gave us six tactics to secure the scholarships of your dreams:
Do your research
Think of it like this; applying to five scholarships you’re super qualified for will net better results than applying to fifty that aren’t a good fit—plus, it’ll take way less effort.
Make a list of scholarships aimed at students with your skills, interests, and background. For example, if you're active in your community, seek out programs for community leaders.
Some scholarships don’t have many applicants, which means you’ll have better odds with them than with more popular scholarships. Look for programs aimed at students from specific areas or schools.
It’s also a great idea to apply to renewable scholarships—as long as you meet their requirements, they cover you for more than one academic year.
Make a calendar
Once you have your list of scholarships, mark all of their application deadlines on a calendar.
Tools like Google Calendar or Notion can help you keep track of due dates digitally. If you prefer a physical calendar, keep one in plain sight so that you don’t forget about it.
When you make your application calendar, budget enough time to get your essays, recommendation letters, and other application materials in order.
Refine your profile
To avoid the repetitive work of typing the same stuff into different application portals over and over, keep a detailed, up-to-date resume handy.
Your resume should list your achievements, extracurricular activities, any awards you’ve won, and relevant experiences like jobs, coursework, or internships.
On top of that, you really can set yourself up for success by writing two or three personal statements that can serve as templates for your application essays.
Some common scholarship essay questions are:
Describe your meaningful achievements.
What are your career goals?
Why did you pick your major?
Why do you need scholarship money and how will you use it?
If you answer those questions in your personal statements, you can use them as starting points for pretty much any prompt you get; just update them to be in line with the requirements of the scholarship you’re applying to.
Check your work
Before you submit anything, take a few minutes to review it for grammar, spelling, formatting, and accuracy.
If you have a family member, teacher, mentor, or friend who can check your application for you, that’s even better. A fresh pair of eyes can catch mistakes you’ve been missing.
When you’re sure your application is perfect, double check the application site for their submission requirements; this will ensure that you send your materials to the right place in the right format.
Send a note
If you have an interview with a scholarship provider, send them a short thank-you email within a day or two of your meeting.
In the email, take a few sentences to tell them how thankful you are for the opportunity and emphasize your commitment to your academic goals.
This is a pretty classic piece of interview advice, but it’s a classic for a reason. It’s a small but thoughtful gesture that leaves a lasting good impression.
You don’t have to go through your scholarship search alone.
The people around you—guidance counselors, classmates, professors, mentors, professionals in your field, and friends—might know about great opportunities, and they would probably love to share them with you.
Your academic advisor might know about a scholarship your school’s offering next semester that hasn’t been announced yet. Your friend might have amazing feedback to give on your personal statement. You’ll never know until you ask.
Take some time to employ these tactics and your scholarship search will be faster, easier, and more successful overall.
If you want personalized help through every step of the application process, check out Mos!
- Get paired with a financial aid expert
- Get more money for school
- Get more time to do you