Returning to College? 9 Smart Tips to Help Non-Traditional Students Apply to Scholarships

Scholarship Application Pro-TipsIf you plan on returning to college, you probably are trying to find various scholarships to apply to in the process. While there are countless scholarships available each year, finding the right scholarships for you can be challenging, and the competition can be quite fierce as well. The whole process can become overwhelming if you aren’t too sure of the steps you need to take to succeed.

Here are our top 9 tips to help you successfully apply to (and increase your chances of winning) the scholarships you want:

Don’t Wait – It might be tempting to procrastinate on applying to scholarships, but it’s wise to begin your search and application process as soon as you can. Take note of the scholarships’ deadlines and submit your material well before the deadline, if possible. Even when you’re currently enrolled in college, you can continue your scholarship research.

Use Your Professional Connections – You can find several scholarships if you look in the right places. Does your workplace offer any scholarships or tuition assistance programs? Are you a member of any professional organizations that might provide help in funding your education? Ask your professional connections for any leads they may have.

Fill Out the FAFSA – It’s necessary to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form when applying to all federal grants and loans. There is no age limit on federal student aid, so as an adult student, you can apply for assistance and loans just like a traditional student would. FAFSA may now begin to be filed October 1.

Apply to All Applicable Scholarships – Take the time to apply to each scholarship for which you are eligible. Read and follow the instructions carefully, and try to tailor your application to reflect the sponsor’s goals.

Small Scholarships Count, Too – Pursue less competitive scholarships such as those with small awards and essay contests. The competition tends to be less demanding, and the money will definitely add up in the end.

Personalize It – As you’re writing your essays, try to keep things personalized and passionate. Write about subjects that truly interest you, talk about your impact on others, and be sure to give plenty of specific examples. This will help make your application stand out from the crowd.

Stay Organized – It’s imperative that you never miss a deadline when you’re working on scholarship applications! Get yourself organized with a calendar and a handy checklist. Mark off the scholarships that you’ve completed.

Proof It – Before you send off your materials, make sure that you proofread both your application and your essay. Ask a friend or family member to check for any spelling or grammatical errors as well.

Make Copies – Remember to make copies of your applications materials before you send anything. Materials can get lost in the mail, and it will be your responsibility to provide your materials in case the review committee needs anything before making their decision.

We hope that these tips help make applying to scholarships easier!

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