The Most Common Scholarship Questions
According to the most recent statistics, more than 60% of undergraduate students receive some kind of financial aid for their post-secondary education.
Are you heading off to college soon? If so, a scholarship can make it more financially feasible for you to pursue your studies.
However, the process of searching for scholarships and finding the right one can be a little challenging, especially if you don't know where to begin.
Today, we're sharing a few of the most common scholarship questions to help shed light on how to identify and apply for ones that are right for you.
1. What Are the Different Kinds of Scholarships?
If you're just starting out, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of different scholarships available. Some of the most common types include:
- Academic and merit-based scholarships
- Athletic scholarships
- Community service scholarships
- Hobby/extracurricular scholarships
- Identity-based scholarships
- Need-based scholarships
- Military and employer scholarships
To help narrow and direct your search, begin by deciding which scholarship category you'd like to go after. Will you leverage your excellent SAT scores to apply for an academic-based one? Or, you might consider harnessing your power on the field to apply for an athletic scholarship.
If you're heavily involved in a specific hobby, you can even find scholarships to help you follow that fascination into college. The John Young "Pursue Your Passion" Scholarship is a great example!
2. What Are the Qualification Requirements?
Each scholarship is different and will have its own set of criteria you'll need to meet to qualify. However, there are some general guidelines that explain what reviewers are looking for with each application.
For instance, merit-based scholarships are usually given to students who exhibit:
- Excellent academic performance
- Proven leadership skills
- Involvement in community/school activities
- Career goals
Honor Society's Perfect GPA Scholarship is a prime example of a merit-based scholarship.
On the other hand, need-based scholarships will look primarily at the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This report estimates how much your family is expected to contribute to your college education. Your school's financial aid office will subtract this estimation from the cost of your tuition to determine if you have a financial need.
If the answer is affirmative, then you may qualify to receive a need-based scholarship.
3. Can I Apply For a Scholarship as a Graduate Student?
There are lots of different scholarships designed to help graduate students pursue their academic and professional goals. Our Graduate Student Achiever Scholarship is one of them!
In addition to outside scholarships, your graduate program may have financial aid opportunities available as well. Graduate scholarships can be merit-based or need-based.
4. Do I Have to Pay Scholarship Money Back?
Both scholarships and grants are considered types of gift aid. As the name implies, this is a type of money that you do not have to repay. In this way, these forms of financial aid differ from student loans, which you will have to pay back after you graduate or leave school.
5. How Soon Should I Start Applying For Scholarships?
Scholarship deadlines can occur at any point during the standard academic year, with dates running from Septemnber to May.
If you're an incoming college senior who plans to graduate in the spring and enter college in the fall, it's best to get started on your applications in the fall of your senior year. The same applies if you're already in college and looking for scholarships to help you in subsequent years.
These scholarships will usually have a deadline between January and April. This allows time for the reviewers to carefully examine all of the applications, sort through the materials, and announce their decision.
If you're planning to start college in the spring, rest assured that there are also plenty of scholarships available! However, you'll usually need to have your application in at some point during the fall, rather than the spring.
Be sure to research and understand the deadlines for each scholarship you want. If a scholarship is only offered once per year, you could skip your turn if you miss it.
6. Where Should I Look For Scholarship?
There are many excellent places to look when you're ready to start searching for scholarships.
Of course, we recommend beginning right on our Honor Society website! In our comprehensive Scholarship Directory, you can find the URLs of every different scholarship we provide. You can also search by keywords that are of interest to you!
In addition to our resources, you can also consider the following entitities when it's time to apply:
- Community centers
- Private organizations
Another great place to look is your current employer, or your parents' employers. You already have a connection with these businesses, which may be an application requirement.
Also, consider which companies in your area are especially prominent and visible in their support of local students. Major banks and law firms will commonly have their own scholarship programs.
7. Are There Tips to Help Me Win a Scholarship?
There are certain steps you can take to help optimize your chances of winning a scholarship. In fact, we have enough insider tips to share that we could write a book, and that's just what we did. You can check out all the details and order a copy today!
Beyond heeding our advice, it's also important to be organized, detail-oriented and prompt with your application. Here are a suggestions to help you stand out:
- Meet all deadlines
- Prepare early and gather all of your materials
- Carefully consider requests for letters of recommendation (and send them early!)
- Fine-tune your essay
- Emphasize your accomplishments
When you join Honor Society, you're already taking a major step in the right direction. Scholarships and awards are key components of our program. In addition to our exclusive ones, we'll also connect you to our extensive database of partner scholarships, so the sky's the limit!
Answers to All Your Scholarship Questions and More
Applying for scholarships can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. When you know where to look and how to proceed, you're already halfway there.
Honor Society exists to recognize and reward diligent student leaders. We're proud to offer valuable scholarship opportunities that can help you pursue and pay for college.
Do you still have scholarship questions? Interested in joining and accessing our members-only perks? For more information on how our programs work, feel free to contact us today.