Smart Scholarship Research
So let’s say you have found the award. This is going to sound stupid, but make sure you read EVERYTHING. Then go back through and read it again. You need to pay careful attention to the details. Who’s giving the award, how much is it for, how many criterion do you meet, etc? Your job is to make yourself the best candidate for the award and that means spending a little time digging for information.
Ten years ago I would have told you to go to offices around campus that are connected with the award and ask questions. See if you can meet with an advisor who can tell you more about details that may not be in the printed material. This is a great idea because anyone you meet with will most likely be involved in the process. Some awards do not go out every year due to lack of funding or other issues, so it is good to know that the award is active and how many are going to be given out. You’ll be amazed at what you learn by simply asking.
In today’s world go to Google. Do a search on the scholarship and see if you can find a list of past winners. Scholarship winners often times get announced in local newspapers or campus postings, so take the time to look. If you find a former winner look them up on Facebook and send them a message. As a former winner of a scholarships there is no reason why they won’t share information with you. If someone asks me about the Gilman Scholarship I will talk their ear off. Most other winners I have ever met would do the same.
The biggest thing is to start your search early, make the connections, and align yourself with the award. Most students don’t put in this kind of work. That will give you a huge advantage.