I have had the honor of being on a few scholarship review panels for the last three years. During that time I have learned a lot about how applicants can increase their chances of being awarded scholarships.  Below are some of the lessons learned that will help make your application stand out.

Scholarships and grants alleviate the financial burden of higher education, yet most people do not understand the process well enough to be selected. Granted nothing guarantees an applicant an award however, there are key items that an applicant can do and mention in their application to make them earn a spot on the short list of awardees.

Good grades speak volumes. Good grades mean getting close to or exceeding the 4.0 grade point average. There are many ways to earn close to perfect GPA other than being a straight A student. For example, doing extra credits, taking advanced placement classes and being a tutor just to name a few. Ask your school resource counselor for help and also use the internet to learn more strategies.

Internships are programs offered by employers that provide students with work experience. As a student in high school looking to get into a good college, seek out internships in the field that interests you. For example, if you want to be a registered nurse, seek our internships in medical institutions such as hospitals, clinics and rehabilitation centers just to name a few. A google search for the type of internship you seek in your city is a good place to start. Also reach out to friends and family members that work in government agencies, they may be able to connect you with their human resources departments.

There are multiple types of internships, paid and unpaid. Paid means you get compensated for the time you work for the employer. Unpaid means you will get class credits or a recommendation letter for the time spent working and learning. Most internships applications are accepted in fall and spring because internships usually occur in the summer. Apply for both types because you stand a better chance of getting accepted

Volunteering is essential in the scholarship application process. it is looked favorably upon as a measure of good character. Not all volunteer work is equal, this means that you should focus your volunteering efforts to the field that you want to work in. Not only can you learn a lot about the field to decide if it is what you really want to do for the rest of your life but it also helps build a professional network.

Some schools cost an upwards of eight thousand dollars annual therefore, there is nothing wrong with applying to multiple scholarship and grant programs. From my experience as a scholarship reviewer, I have found a correlation between applicants who get awarded scholarships from other programs and also get awarded scholarships at my organization. This is because these applicants take time to fill out the applications accurately and diligently provide all the requested supporting documents. By providing information about other scholarships awarded, it shows that the applicant is proactive in searching for their education funding and this demonstrates a sense of maturity and determination.

In summary, when filling out documentation for scholarships or grants, read the instructions carefully. Have a good GPA to report, complete at least one internship, list all the volunteer programs you participated in, list other scholarships and accolades that you have been awarded. A scholarship package with this format and content gives you the best chance to get selected and given the financial support you are requesting.