10 Tips for Applying to Minority Scholarships
Having trouble applying to minority scholarships? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with 10 great tips and strategies to help you increase your chances of success. We’ll discuss how to choose the best minority scholarships, how to write an effective scholarship essay, and how to target your applications so you don’t spend hours applying to scholarships that aren’t meant for you. If you follow these guidelines, you should see your chances of receiving funding increase dramatically!
1) Research: Find out what scholarships are available
Where do you want to go to school? What are their requirements? Do they have minority scholarships available and if so, what do you need in order to apply? Make a list of these requirements and start looking through them. Are you eligible or do you need something else that isn’t readily available? If so, how can you get it? For example, your GPA is below a certain point. Can it be raised before submitting your application materials? Are there any minority organizations or groups on campus that would help support your cause of getting a scholarship from an organization like United Negro College Fund? These kinds of questions should be answered by doing research first and then starting on application materials second.
2) Apply to several scholarships
Most minority scholarships are highly competitive and will require you to apply early (ideally during your junior year). If you’re hoping to use a minority scholarship as part of your financial aid package, start your applications as soon as possible. A great way to increase your chances of getting a minority scholarship is by applying to several. Reach out to different organizations, ask questions and learn about how each organization awards its funds. The more money you stand to win in scholarship money from a particular group, the better prepared you should be when it comes time for their application. Use our tips below if you want help figuring out which ones would be most beneficial for you!
3) Scholarship Essay
If you’re a minority student trying to earn your MBA, or any type of graduate degree, there’s a good chance that you’ll be applying for minority scholarships. Applying for these awards is one way to reduce tuition costs and make your educational dreams more affordable. But it’s also easy to get discouraged when going up against students with GPAs and test scores that are much higher than yours. If you think like other minorities who have gone before you—and if you follow these 10 tips—you just might win that scholarship after all!
Your grades and your overall academic performance are a big factor in how competitive your application is, particularly if you don’t have much work experience. For example, if you’re applying for an MBA program and haven’t had a chance to gain any relevant experience, your GPA is one of your best tools. Make sure it isn’t pulled down by classes that you don’t really need or won’t end up using as a professional, such as psychology or music history courses. If possible, take a class in everything—you never know when it will come in handy.
5) Financial Aid
Despite what you may have heard, there are plenty of financial aid opportunities out there—including scholarships specifically designed for minorities. Still, it can be hard to get your hands on them. The good news? We’ve collected some great tips that can help you increase your chances of receiving these much-needed resources
6) Keep your options open
A lot of scholarships target specific minorities (African-American, Hispanic, etc.), so make sure you’re not limiting yourself. Some require citizenship or permanent residency, while others are based on financial need. Find a scholarship that is right for you. Determine your needs and research each scholarship to see if it meets them. Can you apply even if you don’t qualify? Then do so! Don’t let a small detail like where you live or what high school you went to stop your education from moving forward. Keep applying and find something that fits well with your situation and interests.
7) Follow up with schools/universities
Once you’ve found a program that fits your needs, follow up with them and make sure you do everything necessary to apply. Keep track of all applications and check each application’s status frequently. If you didn’t receive an award (or even if you did) talk with others who applied and see what they did right or wrong—you might just learn something useful! The biggest difference between those who succeed in getting scholarships and those who don’t is organization and following through. You have an opportunity at success, so take it seriously.
8) Avoid scams
There are a number of scholarships scams, so be careful when applying for any scholarship. Ask about an organization’s application fee, if it’s required (most aren’t), and what percentage of applicants typically receive funding. Never pay a company to apply for you or provide references or writing samples, as these will be taken into consideration by most legitimate organizations anyway. And if you have trouble finding information on an organization’s website, search Google and read forums such as The Student Room to learn more about others’ experiences with that organization.
9) Don’t wait for the last minute to apply
The best time to start looking for a minority scholarship is during your senior year of high school. It’s not as easy as it may seem; you’ll need discipline and fortitude, two character traits that will serve you well in college and beyond. If your grades are less than stellar, you might consider taking a challenging academic summer program, getting into an honors or advanced-placement class, or getting a tutor—all things that show dedication and determination. It takes dedication and determination to secure financial aid. The sooner you get started on those applications, the better off you’ll be.
10) Call Schools/Universities
While it’s tempting, you should resist directly asking schools if they offer minority scholarships. Not only will most schools decline to answer, but it can be considered a breach of ethics or discrimination. Instead, ask a school official who can forward your inquiry; in some cases you have to have a formal relationship with an institution before they’ll provide such information. If that’s not possible, put together an informational request and send it via snail mail or e-mail. You might say something like: I am writing in regards to recent and/or upcoming minority scholarships at [school name]. I am interested in attending [school name] for Fall 2013/Spring 2014 and would greatly appreciate any information about funding opportunities available as part of their financial aid package.