I’ve decided to answer all the most popular questions, as concisely as possible, in this Ultimate Scholarship FAQ. I’ll break this into three parts (The Basics, Scholarship Eligibility, and Scholarship Search), and some questions will link to more in-depth blog posts on that topic.
Anyone curious about scholarships should start here!
What is a scholarship?
A scholarship is an award, which does not have to be repaid, that is given by a person or organization to fund a student’s education.
What is the difference between a private scholarship and an institutional scholarship?
A private scholarship is any award set up by an organization other than the federal government or a school. An institutional scholarship comes from an educational institution (such as a school). The federal government does not award “scholarships,” but they do award grants.
Who should apply for scholarships?
Every student who needs money for college!
I don’t feel like I’ve done enough to win a scholarship, should I even bother trying?
Yes! You don’t have to be an amazing student to win a scholarship (just ask this guy). As long as you meet the minimum eligibility required to apply, and you can write a good essay about yourself and why you’ll be successful, you stand a fighting chance to win a scholarship.
Can I apply for a scholarship at any age?
Yes! Whether you are a 16-year-old high school student or a 50-year-old mother of six just returning to college, there are scholarships out there for you. Most scholarships don’t even have age requirements (just year-in-school requirements).
Are there scholarships for non-traditional students?
In short, yes. However, don’t look for scholarships for “non-traditional” students, because there are very few awards that market themselves that way. Instead, look for traditional scholarships that don’t exclude you based on your standout characteristics. Adult students, for example, should apply for scholarships that don’t list an age requirement.
Does every scholarship require an essay?
No, but be wary of the scholarships that do not require an essay. Sometimes, companies will throw contests or drawings disguised as scholarships in order to get ahold of your email address and personal information (read more about scholarship scams here). Research “no essay” scholarships before handing over your information.
Speaking of essays, what should I say in my scholarship essay?
Scholarship providers want to learn about you and why you want to pursue your intended career. Think about what has motivated you to this point, why you will be successful, and why your career choice is important to you. For more help, check out my blog on how to write an amazing personal statement.
Have a “basic” scholarship question not included in this FAQ? Share it in the comments!