How to Win a Scholarship - Easy Step by Step Guide

How to win a scholarship: Scholarship is an opportunity for free money to pay for university / college. In order to win a scholarship, there are some key things you must do.

We’ve all been there, where you feel like you have applied for scholarship after scholarship and you never win any of them. You start to wonder is it really worth the time and effort you’re putting into completing all those applications.

The simple answer is a resounding yes! There are truly billions of dollars out there in scholarship money. These scholarships are being awarded to deserving students almost daily. So what’s the difference, why are they winning scholarships and you are not?

More important, how do you win a scholarship? The solution involves five key characteristics which other past scholarships winners have used that worked perfectly well for them. So in this article, I will be sharing with you the key to unlocking any scholarship of your dream.

How to win a scholarship

The first on the list is:

1. Organized

Successful scholarship recipients are organized. Organization is an important quality to succeeding in any area of life, applying for scholarships is no different.

It’s important to know when your application is due, what additional documents you may need to submit, whether an essay is required, what format it must take etc. It is a good idea to have a system in place for keeping track of which scholarships you have applied for, and when an award will be announced.

A fundamental purpose of organization is to save you time. If you struggle with time management, you should check out this article, setting forth the keys for effective time management. By being organized, with all the necessary information, you will not only increase your success, but it will allow you the time to apply for more scholarships.

2. Prioritize

Those winning more scholarships know how to set priorities. Once you have all your scholarship information organized, you need to be able to set priorities as far as the various tasks that need to be completed as part of the scholarship process.

You may also see: How To Win Scholarships To Study Abroad For International Students.

Understanding how to meet various deadlines necessitates being able to prioritize drafting the essay, obtaining letters of recommendation, and any other documentation.

Let’s say you have three scholarship applications all with the same deadline. These scholarships all require different information. Some require essays, some require longer essays. Look closely at this information to determine what you need to work on first. If you need a letter of recommendation and only a short 200 word essay (though don’t be fooled short essays can be harder than lengthy ones) do you need to get to work on obtaining the recommendation before worrying about the essay.

Make sure you are effectively prioritizing your tasks in order of importance.

3. Write Well

Winning scholarship essays are well written. You must be able to communicate in writing clearly and succinctly. If you struggle with writing the best advice I can give you is to practice and get feedback.

Writing really is no different than any other skill you want to master. It takes practice, practice, practice. Don’t be shy, as you practice your writing skills ask for feedback from family and friends and be willing to take their constructive critiques.

Conduct some research on winning scholarship applications. Some scholarship sites will post a copy of the winning essay. You can also do a google search for winning scholarship essays. Spend some time studying the writing in these essays.

As you improve your writing skills, you will find yourself winning more scholarships.

4. Applications Tailored to Audience

The fourth key characteristic of winning more scholarships is knowing how to tailor your essay and application to the interests and priorities of the one reading it, your audience.

Most scholarships will let you know what the purpose or reason they are offering the scholarship. You really need to draft your essay and application with this in mind.

For instance, if you’re submitting a scholarship application for an organization that supports helping homeless shelters, you don’t want to talk about how important it is to you to help animal shelters.

Let them know you care about the homeless. Don’t be dishonest and say you have worked with the homeless if you never have, but try and gear your essay with their concerns in mind.

Also, pay attention to the type and purpose of the organization offering the scholarship. Does the organization promote certain social causes, such as texting and driving or recycling?

Their cause, whatever it may be, needs to be your cause, your passion as you draft your essay. What about the type of organization, do they sell a product, or offer a service?

How to win a scholarship, you should tailor your writing accordingly. What is important to your reader, should be important to you.

5. Know Yourself - this can make you win scholarship

Knowing yourself is a key to winning more scholarships. What are your gifts, strengths, and weaknesses? You have a story to tell, everyone does.

Being able to effectively tell your story, and draw the interest of your reader, requires you to know yourself.

Often, we are unsure of some of our key characteristics and traits. If that is the case, ask those who know you well, how they would describe you.

What you are doing in your scholarship application is selling yourself. Make a list of all your top qualities, characteristics, and gifts. Use bullet points and describe yourself, your background and key experiences. For example:


  • Female
  • Serve in church
  • One brother
  • Created school club
  • Parents married
  • Play volleyball
  • Salutatorian


  • Determined
  • Responsible
  • Funny
  • Outgoing/introvert
  • Leader kind

List out your major experiences

  • Low income
  • Parents married
  • Have stay at home mom
  • First in family to go to university / college
  • Short for a volleyball player and made team because of hard work.

I think you get the idea here.

After you’ve created this master list, use it to tell the story of who you. Show how your unique qualities and experiences match the purpose of the scholarship.

As you put these key characteristics into practice and continue to apply for scholarships you will watch the awards coming your way and find yourself winning more scholarships! Wishing you all the best.

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