Paying for college is one of the most mind-boggling troubles students and their parents face. As the costs can go very high, finding aids to help manage the expenses is crucial. Though there are various scholarships to apply for, students with special skills should consider going for merit aids.
Merit scholarships are financial aids that do not look at a student’s financial background. They are awarded to gifted individuals — whether athletic, artistic, academic, or special-interest abilities.
Are you curious to see whether merit scholarships can be an option for you? Here are the steps in the merit scholarship application process:
1. Prepare As Early As You Can
Merit-based scholarships are some of the most competitive ways to earn a spot at your chosen college. That said, you have to be ready as early as you can.
In future applications, you will be asked to provide records, transcripts, and other forms of documentation that can attest to your achievements, starting from your first year in high school. Though your school records are not required to be perfect, you should at least present consistent improvement or achievement throughout your education.
2. Decide On A Scholarship Category To Focus On
Even at a young age, students are familiar with their competitive advantage over others. If you are considering merit scholarships, you should know what type to focus on — you can be a community leader, a star athlete, or a top student.
Whatever type you decide on, make sure you focus your energy on that. If you want to be an academic scholar, study hard for high grades and test results. On the other hand, if you want a sports scholarship, make sure you get good grades while performing well in your sport.
3. Be Proactive
Now that you know the future you envision for yourself, you must be proactive throughout your journey. This means that you should know your strengths and work on addressing your weaknesses.
For instance, you can consider working with tutors and teachers on your harder subjects. You may also work closely with a guidance counselor to check in on your journey toward your goals.
4. Plan For The ACT Or SAT
No matter what type of merit scholarship you are eyeing, you should consider standardized tests. The scores you will receive from the ACT or SAT may dictate your future, so you should lay out a plan for preparation as early as you can.
Think about possible strategies, schedules, review resources, practice tests, and preparation classes you can take to help you work toward a higher score.
5. Find Scholarships That Fit You Well
Numerous merit scholarships are available for all types of students, so you must narrow down your options to those that will fit you well. By doing so, you can use your time efficiently and better your chances for approval.
Because scholarship application is a numbers game, a good number to settle with is eight to 10 applications. Think about your target scholarship, but still have a few safety options as a backup.
6. Submit Your Applications
The last step is the most crucial — submitting your applications. Here, your main focus is to make a good impression, as your future depends on the image you showcase.
In making your applications, ensure that every requirement is complete and that you have compiled the best letters of recommendation. If you can, you should also have two to three people that can go over your applications, review their contents, and check for things you may have missed.
Finally, don’t wait until the deadline before you submit your scholarship application. This will give you time to complete everything without the pressure of the rush.
Merit scholarships can make college a more manageable experience for you, as it is a reward for your talents and accomplishments. However, it can still be competitive, so make the most of your time and start preparing for your future!
Learn more about the availability of scholarships by checking out Go Degree’s guide on full-ride scholarships today!