Top 5 Successful Learning Strategies for Online Studies and CourseworkWhen it comes to receiving college scholarships, it’s important to put your best foot forward and start building your reputation, grades, and skills early. By developing your character and your academic resume, you can increase your chances of earning scholarship money. Here are 3 ways to turn yourself into a great scholarship candidate.

1. Focus on others, not just yourself.

Giving your time and energy to local organizations and non-profits not only gives you work experience, but it allows you to help others. Volunteering or interning helps you build a number of skills that can make you a better student and community member. It can also help you decide on a career path in college.

Your volunteer experiences can also improve your chances of receiving  field-related scholarships. For example, it would be easy to demonstrate that you’re a deserving applicant for a medical studies grant if you’ve volunteered at a hospital. You’ll be able to write your essays for college scholarships with a knowledge and perspective that most people cannot give. And, committees will see your volunteer commitment as a sign that you’re dedicated to building a career in their field, not just looking for money.

Volunteering in your community also gives you valuable connections and support. Community members will recognize you and will be willing to vouch for your character. In addition, some local organizations give scholarships to students who have volunteered or become a part of their organization, such as the Boys or Girls Scouts and Rotary International. The goodwill you build in your community can also be paid back: when your friends and family members hear that you need help to pay for college, many of them are likely to support you.

2. Diversify your interests and activities.

Besides volunteering, many scholarship committees look for students that have diverse interests outside of their prospective major or school studies. Whether it’s a commitment to a varsity sport or organizing a knitting club, your extra-curricular interests can help you stand out from other applicants. These activities do not go unnoticed and can help you find scholarship money. For example, there are scholarships specifically for unique hobbies, like The Knitting Guild Association scholarship to knitters. Great athletes can also get into competitive schools that offer athletic scholarships.

3. Make your grades and test scores count.

Many scholarships will set a grade-point average requirement (GPA), a test score minimum, or will want to see a transcript that shows exceptional work or improvement. While that B last year might not have meant much at the time, it might matter a year or two later, when you are a few points away from meeting the minimum requirements for a potential scholarship. In addition, these same grades and scores matter to schools. Overall, by focusing your effort on doing well in your classes and on exams, you can have a better academic profile that is appealing to scholarship committees.

However, your grades should not deter you from applying to potential opportunities. Many committees make exceptions for students who give reasonable explanations for their grades. This is especially true for hardworking students who worked through unfortunate and significant family circumstances.

The key to becoming a successful candidate for college scholarships, however, isn’t to achieve all these traits at once. While having a diverse range of skills and abilities will open you to multiple opportunities, being mediocre at them all might actually hinder your chances at winning a scholarship. Since you don’t have a lot of time or energy, it’s best to devote your efforts at one or two commitments, instead of stretching yourself thin. This way, you can showcase your passion and commitment to your major interests.

Funding for your education can be a long process, but you don’t have to do it alone. For more resources and college scholarship advice, contact us.