Millions of scholarship dollars are given out each year through breed associations, livestock shows, 4-H, FFA and other ag organizations. Taking advantage of these opportunities could be what prevents you from having student loan debt at the duration of your college career!
At ShowBloom, we understand the importance of scholarships and awarding youth for their achievements. This year ShowBloom was able to award scholarships to some exceptional youth and feel there is no better investment.
Free money is something everyone can get excited about; however, scholarship applications can quickly become overwhelming. Recently, we sat down with some scholarship experts and gathered 12 tips to make your scholarship application process as seamless as possible.
- There’s no such thing as too early.
Start compiling your list of awards, activities and relevant leadership experiences as early as they happen (your freshman year is not too early!).
- Quality over quantity.
Listing your awards, activities and experiences can get quite lengthy so prioritize what you include.
- Don’t submit the same exact application for multiple scholarships.
First, find out what is important for the specific award- is it academic performance, volunteer work, leadership experiences or possibly something else? Then, cater your application to highlight your specific experiences. The time you save by submitting the same application for multiple scholarships could hurt you more than it could help you. It might take more time, but the outcome could be worth it!
- Be prompt.
When asking for letters of reference, make sure to contact people at least one month before the due date. Also, if possible, ask your references in person.
- Be specific.
Give references all the pertinent information at the time you ask them to write the letter. This includes the name of the scholarship for which you are applying, deadline and instructions for submitting the letter.
- No matter the dollar amount, apply!
Apply for all scholarships that you qualify for, no matter the dollar amount being awarded. No scholarship amount is too small to apply for. You may think it’s only $100, but that can cover the cost of a college textbook!
- Never pay for services that claim to search for scholarships for you.
- Be yourself.
When you are writing about your experience, your goals or your accomplishments, make sure to be genuine in your responses. Selection committees want to know what you think, not what you think they want to think. (Pro tip: write the responses yourself, too!)
- Read and then read again.
Make sure to read over your application and responses. Then, have someone review your application before submitting. This will help ensure you do not have grammar or spelling mistakes and that you’ve included all of the requested information.
- Take your time.
Do not wait until the last minute to start or submit the application. Review committees can tell when the process was rushed.
- Follow up.
Two weeks after submitting the application follow up to ensure that it was received.
- Say thank you.
Write thank you notes—several of them! Whether you are selected as a recipient or not, write a thank you to your references for taking the time to contribute to your application. Write a thank you to the scholarship committee for taking the time to review the applications. Most importantly, if you are selected as the recipient, write a thank you to the donor to express your appreciation for their support! A simple thank you can go a long way.