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How to Apply for Scholarships

Different scholarships will have their own set of criteria as well as their own application requirements.

Consider the following as you start your scholarship investigation:

  • You may be required to write an essay, pass a written exam, or complete a project demonstrating your potential.
  • Programs may specify how scholarship funds must be used, set time restrictions for disbursing the funds, or set a ceiling on qualifying family income.
  • Scholarship funds may be paid directly to the college.
  • Failure to meet certain requirements could jeopardize your ability to keep the scholarship.
  • Be mindful of deadlines.

Find Scholarships


Scholarship application tips

There is no magic formula for applying for and receiving a scholarship. These tips can start you on the right track.

  • Be organized. Stay on top of deadlines, gather all pertinent documents, and make copies of everything you submit. It is a good idea to send your applications by certified mail to ensure receipt.
  • Be honest. Don't exaggerate your grades, memberships, skills, or qualifications. It is better to focus on the scholarships for which you might be eligible.
  • Follow instructions carefully. Some scholarships require you to write an essay and others may want letters of recommendation. Send in what is requested and proofread everything. Typos and missing materials can cost you a scholarship.
  • Use Scholarship Search by Sallie Mae®. It’s the fast, easy, and FREE way to search for more than 3 million college scholarships. Find the scholarships that match your profile the best and start making a list of the ones you would be interested in applying for.

Find scholarships now


What’s next

Now that you know how to apply, learn how to put your best foot forward with a winning scholarship essay. Then it’s on to searching for more free money on the path to paying for college.

Tips on writing a great scholarship essay

List of scholarships


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