Scholarships Aren’t Just for Athletes and 4.0 GPAs

Scholarships can seems like they’re available only to valedictorians and jocks, but in reality, thousands of scholarship are given away every year that are open to everyone.

Colleges offer scholarships for the arts, academics, sports, and financial need. As long as you’re willing to put in a little time and effort, there are likely numerous scholarships you have a shot at winning.

The most common scholarships are merit-based. Students who excel in high school because of their grade point averages (GPA) or SAT/ACT scores receive these kinds of scholarships. Although harder to receive, you might qualify for a merit-based scholarship for the arts and athletics, as well as for academics.

You can also receive grants and scholarship based on financial need. For these, you will have to fill out a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA). There are also scholarships available for students studying for a specific career, local scholarships from businesses and charitable organizations, and student-specific scholarships based on race and other factors.

When applying for scholarships, don’t discount smaller ones. Though the awards may be lower, those small sums add up, and smaller scholarship can be easier to win. As you apply for scholarship, spend time on writing a well-composed essay. Here are some tips:

• Make sure you are directly answering the prompt given for the essay. Stay away from tangents and come up with a thesis to help you stay on track.
• Add personality to the essay by sharing a powerful personal experience or even a bit of humor. This is what will make your essay stand out from others.
• Build yourself up by talking about the organizations you are involved in without just listing your accomplishments. By simply listing each involvement, you may sound repetitive or dull.
• Have others read the essay so that you are getting input from other viewers’ eyes.

Also, keep a list of mentors, bosses, and teachers who would be willing to write you a recommendation letter, as those can be one of the most influential parts of a scholarship application.

Stay organized to keep on top of the different scholarships you are applying for. It may be useful to create a list of all the scholarships you are interested in so that you fulfill all the requirements on time. On your list, you can include materials like transcripts, letters of recommendation, and the application itself.

Hopewell Federal Credit Union and the Ohio Credit Union Foundation both offer scholarships to graduating students each year.  Take a moment and visit our website at www.hopewellfcu.org and click on the scholarship links at the bottom of the page for details.

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