Posts Tagged ‘private scholarships’

Tips for Winning Local Scholarships

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Applying for scholarships can be intimidating, and time consuming. However, if you do a little research at the

Nichols College in Dudley Massachusetts.  Click the image for your chance to win a $1,000 Spotlight Scholarship to Nichols!

Nichols College in Dudley Massachusetts. Click the image for your chance to win a $1,000 Spotlight Scholarship to Nichols!

beginning of the process, it can be very financially rewarding as well. In writing and speaking, it is always important to know your audience. That same goes when applying for scholarships. If you take the time to know who will be reading your application ahead of time, you can tailor your application to the reader.

This isn’t as hard as it sounds. You always have your best chance at winning local scholarships. The money being given away has been raised by fellow members of your community and they want to see it go to deserving students from their home town. Since these are very geographically targeted, there are often less applicants for the scholarships and that means less competition. I am the chair of my local Rotary club’s scholarship committee, and I have also helped review applications for my local Chamber of Commerce, and now I am going to share some tips with you on how to tailor your application to the mission of the organization.

  1. If possible, determine the criteria being used to evaluate the scholarship applications. Not all organizations offer complete transparency, but most will give you the general means of evaluating the application. Typically they will look at academics, service, need, and an essay.
  2. Look at the organizations website and see if they have a mission statement. Determine how they raise the money they are giving away and also seek out the other types of charitable works they do throughout the year. Service organizations like to give money to students who are very involved in community service. A kind of pay it forward mentality. If you are involved with any service work that is similar to work that the organization is doing, mention it. That will help you to create a connection with the reader.
  3. Read the application carefully. If they ask for three copies of your application, make certain to submit 3 copies of your application. In my Rotary Club, we also evaluate students by how they follow directions. Finally, if there is an essay question that is specific to that scholarship, don’t try to make another essay fit. Write an essay that answers that specific question. Most importantly, make sure to meet the deadline, and if a transcript is required from your high school, make sure you give them enough time to get the transcript for you.
Students enjoying the beautiful campus of Mitchell College. Click for your chance to win a $1,000 scholarship to Mitchell!

Students enjoying the beautiful campus of Mitchell College. Click for your chance to win a $1,000 scholarship to Mitchell!

It is important to remember that most of the people who are reading these applications are volunteers, and they work hard all year to raise the money that they are giving away. Show appreciation in your application without becoming too obsequious (good SAT word. It means excessive fawning. It has a similar meaning to a sycophant, or kissing up). Finally, take the time in the end to proofread your application before sending it and make sending the write essay to the write organization. Attention to detail is very important. Follow these tips and you will increase your chances of winning some local scholarships.

James Maroney, the author of this article, is the founder of First Choice College Placement LLC,, and  He is also a contributor to  He has toured over 100 different college campuses across the country and worked with students from all over the world to help them make their college dream a reality.  He is a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association, NACAC, the Education Industry Association, and the chair of the Devon Rotary Scholarship Committee.  You can contact him at

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Gates Millennium Scholarship Program

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

This year, the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program awarded 4-year scholarships to 1,000 minority students,

Nichols College in Dudley Massachusetts

Nichols College in Dudley Massachusetts

making it the nation’s largest minority scholarship program. The award was established in 1999 with a $1 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The scholarship’s format is very unique. It does not offer predetermined awards. Instead, it selects the nation’s best and brightest minority students and grants them awards based on individual financial need.

The scholarship is open to all students who:

· Are nonwhite.

· Have an unweighted GPA of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale or have obtained a GED.

· Will enroll for the first time as a full-time, degree-seeking student in an accredited US college or university.

· Have an exemplary record of community service, extracurricular participation, and leadership.

· Meet federal Pell Grant eligibility.

· Submit application materials by the scholarship’s deadline.

To apply for the Gates Millennium Scholarship, visit the scholarship website. Read through the “nominee instructions,” and create an account. The application consists of three parts:

· Nominee Form. This asks questions about you and your finances.

· Nominator Form. One of your educators should fill-out this form. It asks for information about your academic qualifications and habits.

· Recommender Form. Any non-relative familiar with your participation in community service and extracurricular activities should fill-out this form. It asks about your leadership abilities and community service experience.

All necessary forms can be completed online, and the application deadline is usually in January.

This scholarship can be an excellent resource for qualified minority students, and anyone who meets the above criteria should apply.

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