How do I get a college scholarship, and how much can I get?

February 9, 2022

$100 million in scholarship money goes unawarded each year, according to the National Scholarship Providers Association. The main reason will baffle you – not enough students apply for the scholarships!

Scholarships are free money, so high school students should always pursue them before loans. How big of a deal is this? 20 years after starting college, half of students with loans still owe $20,000. Scholarships are a major way of paying for education without crushing debt.

Stand out from the crowd and win some scholarships!

Let’s talk about how you can get a paid to study abroad, attend Harvard, learn to be a clown, or a ton of other educational opportunities.

There are scholarships as varied as you can imagine. Some are downright silly. But generally speaking, the buckets of funding for your education fall into these categories:

  • Merit. Based on grades, demonstrated leadership, and other high-achieving accomplishments.
  • Athletic. Based on sports skills or potential. 
  • Need. Based on financial hardship, personal struggles, and other challenges.
  • Community. Based on volunteer efforts or other positive contributions.
  • Employer. Distributed to family members of employees of an organization.

How much money can high school students get from scholarships? Millions! Ok, it doesn’t all go to one person, obviously. 

But to give you an idea, the average merit award in the 2019-2020 school year was $11,287. And many students apply for multiple scholarships. 

How do I get some of that free financial aid?!

Every scholarship will have its own rules and application process. Follow those rules precisely, and ask the provider for clarification any time you need it. The worst scenario would be losing out on an award because you didn’t include the right information in the requested format.

Prepare customized responses to “Tell me about yourself.”

If there’s one thing you can count on spikeview to deliver, it’s the reminder that you must stand out from the crowd. Don’t waste your personal essay space with “I’m from Springfield, and I used to watch the Simpsons. Then I played soccer. Then I stopped and tried swimming instead.” 

No. Demonstrate what makes you unique. Unique doesn’t mean perfect, it means distinguished from all others. Even identical twins are two unique people. 

Make the little things matter.

In one of our posts about writing personal essays, we said the more details you provide in your stories, the more likely they are to stand out. Storytelling is about hooking the reader and making them want to know more. 

As you craft your story, the “right amount” of detail is subjective. If the scar on your writing hand is a daily reminder of the bicycle crash in your story, then include it. If the shirt you wore makes no difference, then remove it.

Make all the things interesting.

What’s the point of eloquent prose if no one can comprehend your scholarship application essay? Money wasted. 

You need to write a personal statement that the reviewer wants to read. Find ways to make the ordinary appear extraordinary. Your spikeview stories should help here, because you’re already in the practice of making stories out of everything you’re up to. 

15 tips from application experts.

Scholly put together a handy list of expert tips for your scholarship applications. Some of these tips will also help you improve your spikeview profile. 

Now go win some of that scholarship money!

We’ll leave you with this inspiring and motivating video from Kate Li.