How Not to Move Back in With Your Parents

Student Loans, Scholarships & Debt Podcast Episodes

The Scholarship Search
Scholarships Tip

Listen to the Podcast

This week, Pete and Alex are hoined by IUPUI student Yogit to talk about strategies that could help you in getting scholarships (i.e., free money for school).

Read the Show Notes

Students who have repeatedly been successful in finding scholarships usually have a strategy for the search. You may have a 4.0 GPA, but if the scholarship has a financial need component and you have no need (based upon family income), there is no point in applying.

The strategy is to do some self-assessment and determine what you have to offer and then search for scholarships that fit your profile.

Go Local to Find Scholarships

Rather than starting by going on a national quest to find scholarships, hoping to get the big bucks from one place, look locally.

Try contacting the high school from which you graduated and ask for a list of scholarships available to graduating seniors. Contact the sponsoring organizations of those scholarships and find out if you might be eligible even though you’re already in college.

Community service clubs and philanthropic organizations want to help students and a personal inquiry may result in an invitation to apply, which is a step in the right direction.

Customize Your Essay to Match the Scholarship

Behind every scholarship is a donor or group of donors and, as essential as demographic and academic particulars are, you should not discount the importance attached to an essay.

Listen to the podcast with Pete and Alex; they give solid advice by suggesting you should align your story with the story of the donor or the organization…just make sure that what you’re writing is genuine. Fundamentally, donors want to observe appreciation and genuineness for the scholarships they provide, so if you can get personal in telling your story it could prove to be more important than a high GPA.

Pete and Alex will also remind you that the process of applying for scholarships takes time and can seem like an arduous task.

Yet, with some advance planning you can go into high gear and turn out multiple applications.

Create a single, well-crafted 1-2 page essay with introductory and concluding sections that can be “swapped-out”; no different than the “unique” cover letter required with the 100’s of resumes you will launch upon graduation.

Essentially, a scholarship search is like applying for a job; it is time intensive and you will most likely fail more times than you will succeed. Just remember that one or two victories will make it all worthwhile.

Beware of Scholarship Scams

Also remember that during your search you may come across an advertisement claiming, “$100 Million in Unclaimed Scholarships!” and all you have to do is pay $50 to get a piece of the money.

And while there are certainly tons of unclaimed scholarships out there, make sure that you never pay somebody to help you apply for a scholarship. Chances are, if you’re paying to apply for a scholarship it will lead to a dead end.

That’s why all IU Financial Aid Offices provide information on “free” scholarship searches. Contact your campus’s office to get started on your search.

Indiana University Scholarships

If you came here looking for tips on university scholarships, we don’t have much to offer. In general, the vast majority of university merit scholarships are awarded to new students upon entry as part of the student recruitment process.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to check within your major or department; a quick glance at your department’s website will give you a clue as to whether or not there’s something for you. Talk to an advisor within the major and find out how many awards are available and ask directly what your chances are. Good luck.