Financial Aid

5 Ways to Stand Out when Applying for Financial Aid

Do you not desire that your scholarship application stands out from the rest of the scholarships in the market? When it comes to applying for a scholarship program at an institution or college, you only have one reason, and that is to receive financial aid so you can afford your education fees. When it comes to applying for a financial aid program, the first thing to cross your mind is,

“It is impossible because there are plenty of other applicants who are also applying. Why would they ever pick me?” Here’s a thought you need to shake off and do everything you can to score that scholarship.

When it comes to securing a scholarship, there’s a lot that you can do to ensure it. And today, I am going to educate you on how you can easily make sure your financial aid application stands out from the rest. There are plenty of financial aid opportunities in the market, but you have to stand out to avail them. Here are five remarkable ways how you can make sure your scholarship application is one of the thousands.

Check If You’re Qualified for the Scholarship Program?

Scholarships aren’t for everyone. To become eligible, there are certain criteria that you need to follow. You can’t just jump on the bandwagon and expect things to turn in your favor. When you want to win a scholarship, GPA and test scores play a significant role. While many academic programs consider GPA a vital aspect for scholarship programs, only a few scholarship programs out there don’t think of academic performance. Since every university has different criteria, you can visit their official website and then navigate yourself to the student financial aid or scholarship section.

There you will find every prerequisite required to apply for the scholarship program at the said university. Make sure that you go through the requirements and qualify for the scholarship program.

Gain Letter of Recommendations Beforehand

Do you have teachers, advisors, consultants, coaches, bosses, or peers you look up to? Can they vouch out for you as an excellent student? When you’re applying for a scholarship program, make sure to reach your mentors and peers at least a month beforehand. Getting at least four weeks on the clock, you will have a better chance to explain to them why this financial aid application is essential for you. At the same time, they will get plenty of time to list down all your achievements, certifications & awards. They can also discuss your participation in teams and whether you can stand out as a leader.

All of these factors can become a major plus for your chance of scoring a scholarship. Such applications will create a lasting impact & increase your chance of leaving an impression on the committee.

Be Yourself When Writing Your Financial Aid Essay

When crafting an essay for scholarship programs, students often feel the need to represent another side of who they are. However, this practice is not quite effective. According to one of the Pride Foundation Scholarship program applicants, the only person you’ve to represent when writing an essay is yourself. Tailoring one’s personality as a native speaker is a task well-suited for international students. However, if you’re a native and applying from within the state, then you should be as much yourself as you can be. As Mandee Heller Adler, founder of the International College Counselors in Florida, expresses in one of her emails,

“Don’t shy away from talking about your culture, traditions, and experiences. If you’re an international applicant, a minority, or a non-traditional student, don’t try to ‘Americanize’ or ‘mainstream’ your application. Scholarship committees like diversity and the goal is to stand out and not appear to be like all the other applicants. Don’t be afraid to expand on details about your culture that are meaningful to you and essential to understanding who you are.”

Write a Powerful Essay for the Financial Aid Committee

A financial aid essay is an integral part of your financial aid or scholarship application. Unlike some students, don’t copy/paste already published essays and add a few words on your own. Instead, when writing an essay, take your time to be creative & share your life experiences. Discuss why you think you’re the most suitable and deserving candidate. It is important to shed light on your goals & objectives. Share a clear view of who you are. Make a stance, explain why you’re the best deserving candidate. Express how you can contribute to society if you qualify for this program. Go the extra mile and attach other miscellaneous documents such as certificates & letters of recognition. The optional part is one area that you mustn’t leave empty.

Follow the Directions As Specified

One of the reasons why many scholarship essays get rejected is because students fail to follow the directions. Errors such as not following length restrictions, formatting specifications & wrong answers to important questions easily frustrate the scholarship committee. When you answer important questions, make sure to stay within the word count limit. Also, it would be best if you were contextually correct, so don’t answer them wrongly. Longer doesn’t always mean better. If you can easily feel bored while reading your answers, imagine how the committee would feel. They are going through several applications throughout the day. Please write in a way that engages your audience, not evades them. Have a strong narrative, though.

If you can’t judge your work, then don’t worry. Ask a friend to read the essay on your behalf. Let them judge how you’ve written. They can highlight areas that can be trimmed down, and then you rewrite.

Lastly, Presentation Matters

Last but not least, proofread your scholarship essay. Check for any structural errors, grammatical errors, or any contextual errors if there are any. Nobody likes to read an essay filled with silly mistakes. It sends a very bad impression on your readers. As a writer, you may not find the errors in your essay right away. So take your time off from the screen, take some break. Now re-read your work after a few hours. You will see areas where you can improve and make your writings much better.

When it comes to education, there’s no one-size-fits-all. The odds may never be in your favor. But you always strive, especially when you can avail of a scholarship. Who would want to miss a chance like that? Please don’t leave it on the table. Craft the perfect scholarship essay and apply for financial aid now.

Scroll to Top