Scholarships can be… stressful. They’re not always clear, and some may feel incredibly repetitive after filling out dozens upon dozens of applications. So what can you do? At the Scholarship Resource Center, we work hard to know and put to use all the tips and tricks you need to earn some extra money for school.
The first step can often be the most intimidating one: finding scholarships. Thankfully, the Scholarship Resource Center has you covered there! We have hundreds of scholarships ready for you to look through in our External Scholarship Database. We also have options where you can sort out scholarships that fit you specifically. Are you majoring in History and have an interest in studying abroad? We have settings to help you find scholarships just for that! Are you Hispanic and a part of the LGBTQ+ community? We have settings available for you too! All scholarships on our database are researched by office staff to ensure they are safe and applicable to UWL students. If you have any questions or concerns about these scholarships, please do not hesitate to drop by, or give us a call.
The next step for scholarships, in particular those that have an essay portion, is to focus on things that set you apart from others. Say you have to write about your future goals; a simple “I don’t know yet” isn’t going to be earning you anything fast. Explore possibilities for your future. Think about where you want to be, the kind of work you enjoy, how college can help you get there. Focus on things that others wouldn’t think of. Scholarships are awarded to those who leave an impression on judges, not to those who do the same thing everyone else does.
A major mistake many scholarship applicants make is focusing on their grades rather than anything else. While grades matter, that’s not all that scholarship judges want to hear about. Don’t be afraid to discuss your experiences in clubs, your passions, or even your culture during your essays. You are far more than just your grade point average!
A factor to keep in mind is how the amount of work required may affect your chances. College students are busy, there’s no doubt about that. Because of that, any scholarships that require more work than the average are easier to obtain than simple 150 words or less essays. You will have less competition for the money you need for school. So, if you have some extra time on your hands, use it wisely!
Scholarships from around your community are some of the best ways to earn what you need. Are you apart of a church, or a member of a community program? Is your parent a member of the local auxiliary, or perhaps the town’s Knights of Columbus? These could all leave you eligible for scholarships through those programs. As they are not national, you have a far greater chance of receiving aid from these types of sources than most others. If you’re not a part of any of these groups, consider joining some and volunteering with them in the next several years. Even if you don’t end up receiving scholarships from them, they’re always handy to have for volunteer experience, and make great additions to your résumé!
Have you ever seen a scholarship that required you to send in money to be eligible? Those scholarships are scams. No legitimate scholarship should ask you for money in order to be eligible. If you have any concerns about whether or not a scholarship is legitimate, do not hesitate to call the Financial Aid Office at 608.785.8604, or stop by our office in 215 Graff Main Hall. We are always willing to help, and if we can save you from being subject to a scam, we will do everything in our power.
Scholarships may be intimidating, but saving you money is worth it! Keep up on them, and don’t let the loss of one scholarship stop you from continuing to apply to many more. And again, if you have any questions or concerned, don’t be afraid to ask our office for help!