If you were to see my room, you would never guess that I prefer to be an organized person. But, that is the truth. I like to be organized whenever possible. This being the case, I wanted to approach the matter of applying for scholarships in a neat and orderly fashion. Within this blog post, I’ll walk you through the methods I’ve employed for choosing, applying for, and keeping track of scholarships.
I started my scholarship process with the 800 paged Ultimate Scholarship Book (2018). It’s a very daunting book, due mostly to its size. The book sorts scholarships into different categories: Generic scholarships, Humanities and Art/Social Sciences/Science/State of Residence/Membership/Ethnicity, Race, Gender, and Family Situation/and Disability and Illness. It contained a total of 2715 scholarships. I went through every category (and every scholarship). I would advise everyone to do so with the possible exception of disability and illness. You never know what will apply to you. For instance, I don’t have much interest in science, nor do I plan on studying anything in that field. And yet, I found multiple scholarships in that section that applied to me.
I went through every scholarship in the book. Those that didn’t apply to me I struck through with a highlighter. Those that did apply, I color coded. The flags are no longer in the book (you’ll find out why in a minute), but here is the color key:
Purple: Absolutely Must Enter (Usually due to the amount)
Pink: Simple Application
Red: Other Form of Entry (poetry etc.)
Blue: Uncertain Whether I Can Apply
Once I had “processed” the entire book, I started at the beginning again. I cut out every flagged scholarship. Then I moved on to step two.
I took a planner that I had (one that didn’t already have dates pre-written in it) and used that for my organizer. I wanted something that had the setup of a calendar in it in order to track deadlines. This meant that a blank notebook wouldn’t do, but a planner worked perfectly. I sorted all the scholarships I’d cut out by the month the deadline was in. Then, starting with the January pile, I put all of the scholarships into my book. Using the calendar page, I wrote out the name of each scholarship in the appropriate date box. Then, turning the page, I filled in the details of each on the pages meant for planning out your day. The details of each scholarship I included were:
Short description of what you had to do to enter (i.e. “Register with X, write 700 word essay on X)
Amount awarded to the winners
Number of Awards
Code from The Ultimate Scholarship Book
All fairly straightforward. My color coding continued on into the planner. If I had had a purple flag on a scholarship, I wrote all the details of said scholarship in purple. This way I could tell at a glance which ones had been flagged what color. I also included the paper copies of all the details for the scholarships that I’d cut out of the book.
I next created a separate email account for all college related email. I started applying to the scholarships with the fastest approaching deadlines. Every time I applied to one, I checked it off my list in my planner. When I found a new scholarship online, I’d write it down in my book. I’ll keep repeating this process until I reach the end of the planner.
Now you see why I wanted Therese to share her process. It's pretty awesome, huh? She doesn't have a high school guidance counselor to walk her through this process or bring scholarships to her attention. She's doing it all on her own. I have always said, though, that the money is out there and it's going to someone. Might as well go to her!
I hope you've enjoyed this guest post. I'm thinking of having her write more of them as she goes through her (notoriously difficult and stressful) Junior year. Hopefully there is some interest in that.