Financial Aid

Scholarship Resources

Scholarship Essay Tips  

Scholarship Essay Do's and Don'ts  

Scholarship Gathering Sheet Template   

Tips for scholarship success
Prepared by Ginelle Testa

  1. Make a list of the reasons why you want to apply for and potentially receive scholarships. Are you running out of options to pay for college? Has your college fund run out faster than planned? Have one of your parents lost a job? Is college turning out to be more expensive than planned? Are you already overwhelmed with loan debt and want to reduce it? Do you have a certain skill or attribute that will make you a likely candidate for scholarships? Are you a leader in your community, school or team? Or, do you love free money? Whatever your reasoning and need, write it down and keep it in mind. Not everyone’s reasoning is the same and it is important to keep yours in mind to keep you motivated on your search.
  2. First, look at your closest resources. There are so many scholarships within reach that people are not even aware of. Talk to your financial aid office about the types of scholarships within Rivier that you can apply to. Ask them what makes an endowed scholarship candidate stand out. Check to see if there are scholarships through your work (Market Basket has a scholarship for their employees), see if your parents have any scholarship programs through their work. If you do any community service or volunteer work, do some research on the organization to see if they offer scholarships. Then, look at the scholarships in your state. With these, you are only competing with students from your state rather than your whole country. The likelihood of getting scholarships is often higher.
  3. Next, do your research! Find out what scholarship searches are most effective (by asking your financial aid office – or me!). I highly recommend using your SALT account to find scholarships as well as College Board and FastWeb.
  4. Scholarship search websites help you to pinpoint what kind of scholarships to look for based on you. Take some time to figure out what sets you apart from others – keep all factors in mind. It could be your major, financial need, volunteer work, leadership skills, race, sex, sexuality, grades, etc. There tend to be two categories: Merit-based scholarships, which focus on a special talent, characteristic or academic excellence, and need-based scholarships which look at financial resources.
  5. Be patient and persistent. This is incredibly important. The easier a scholarship is for you to find and apply to, the easier it is for others to do so as well. There are many monthly drawings that just require your name, phone number and email, but, the good scholarships are ones where you can show who you are and why you deserve the funds. Don’t be intimidated by essays or a need for recommendation letters. You can do it!
  6. Write that essay. The best thing about essays is writing about you – your accomplishments, education and aspirations – and once you have a solid essay, you can tweak that one piece to fit many different scholarships. You need to sit down and take the time to put into words what makes you, you. At Rivier, we are so fortunate to have an incredible Writing Center with staff who will bend over backwards to help you with such tasks. The staff will gladly help you brainstorm ideas for your scholarship essays and help you with the organization and finishing touches. Take advantage of the Center, not all schools are as fortunate.
  7. Keep deadlines in mind and stay organized. When applying to more than one scholarship, it is very easy to get the deadlines confused and end up missing one or more. There is nothing more frustrating than writing a great essay and then missing the deadline! Get a calendar, paper or electronic, and stay aware of deadlines and your progress before you miss them.
  8. Keep applying. Most scholarships allow you to reapply the following year if you do not receive it the first time. You’ll have a better chance the second time! Also, if you receive scholarships make sure to find out if they are reoccurring and renew them if needed.

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