Although the prospect of paying for a university education can seem daunting, there are often quite a few scholarships available. With a little research and time spent on applications, you could easily find yourself some scholarship money to help defray the costs. Of course, these can be highly competitive, so follow these simple tips to make sure you can find the money to pay for the education of your dreams.

First of all, make sure you’re only applying for scholarships for which you’re qualified.  You might hear of great opportunities from friends, but check all the criteria very carefully, because the easiest way to waste a lot of time is to spend it on applying for a scholarship for which you don’t meet the qualifications. There are scholarships for all kinds of backgrounds, areas of interest, financial status, etc., so seek out the ones that match your profile, and go from there.

Once you’ve identified the scholarships you will apply for, be sure to read the directions carefully. When scholarship awarders are receiving a high volume of applications, an easy way to weed it out is to immediately discard any applications that didn’t follow directions to the letter. Make sure you’re filling out the right information, sending it to the right place, and including the right supplemental documents and information.

Once you’ve selected and properly read your scholarship applications, develop a strategy. Identify what about yourself you’d like to highlight, what you think makes you best qualified and most likely to win this scholarship. Start with a list, and develop an outline, making sure you know exactly what you want to say once you start working on the applications. And while you’re doing this, don’t be scared of talking about yourself too much. That’s the point – they want to know you and what you’ve done and why you deserve to win this scholarship. Modesty is good, but don’t let it get in the way of sharing your accomplishments. Be proud and confident of what you’ve done, but be careful to not come off as too arrogant. Everyone has weaknesses and setbacks – if you’re asked about them, don’t lie. Tell about a weakness and what you’ve done to overcome it.

Finally, once you’ve finished your applications, be sure to have someone else read it before you submit. It’s always good to have a second set of eyes to pick up on grammatical errors, sentence structure, and just general impressions of your writing. Choose someone you trust who will give you an honest opinion with fair critiques.

Keep in mind, however, that there are always quite a few qualified applicants trying for these scholarships. Apply for as many as you can, without overwhelming yourself. This will increase your chances of winning some, and, as with anything, the more you practice an application the better you’ll be at presenting yourself as a winning candidate! Good luck!

By Mary Johnson, editor  at  TradeStable.com.ng