Free Money for Students, Part II: How to Get Scholarships

Have you decided to apply for scholarships but aren’t sure how to get started? In this second of my 2-part series, I’ll explain some strategies for being awarded scholarships. In case you missed it, be sure to read my first article on why you should apply.

Step 1: Apply

Did you know that under 10% of FRCC students even apply for scholarships? And yet, over 75% of those who apply receive one! Of the scholarships from 2017, three still had money in them in February of 2018. It’s never too late to apply, so go to the Scholarships page and create your profile once it opens again in the Fall. Between now and then, check the page every few weeks to see the individual scholarships that open up.

Step 2: Start Preparing Now

The FRCC Foundation Scholarship lets you apply for many scholarships at once, but make sure you include as much as possible to set yourself apart from other applicants. When submitting your application, include as much of the following as possible:

  • Your academic goals (degree/certificate)
  • Your personal history
  • Your interests and extracurricular/volunteer activities
  • A 250-500-word essay (under two pages, double-spaced)
  • Letters of recommendation from instructors or employers

Step 3: Your Essay

Not all scholarships require an essay, but you’ll have a better chance with those that do because many students don’t want to spend time writing one. You’ll stand out if you do!

When writing your essay, explain how the money will help meet your educational goals and how you have succeeded when facing challenges. Are you a working parent? Did you re-take a class and do much better the second time around? This is your chance to tell your story and demonstrate that you’ve got what it takes to succeed even when facing adversity.

You can reuse your essay for other scholarships you may apply for in the future, and you can even use it as the basis for a 4-year college application! Just be sure to re-write anything that is specific to one scholarship.

Step 4: Letters of Recommendation

Make sure to include at least two letters of recommendation. They’re easier to get than you might think. Your instructors (past and present) want you to succeed, so start now! Request them at least a month or two before they’re needed because instructors and employers can be busy. You don’t have to have good grades. If the instructor knows you’re trying and participating, they’ll likely support you. It’s helpful if the letter describes how a scholarship will help you meet your educational and career goals, what you’ve accomplished, and why you’re a good student. Your instructor shouldn’t mention your grade, so don’t worry if you’re struggling. Overcoming difficulties is even something they can mention!

Step 5: Extra Activities

Scholarships like to see a good life balance and time management, but also good citizenry. If you’ve participated in school clubs, activities, volunteered in the community, or won any awards, be sure to include that in your application. If you haven’t, consider getting started now!

Applying for scholarships can seem daunting, but it’s not as hard as it seems and the rewards are absolutely worth your time. Good luck!



Illustration by Madison Otten

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