Six tips for landing a scholarship

By Katie Wall 

Danielle Emefiele, a fourth-year University of Georgia student, said receiving the university’s Foundation Fellowship Scholarship has been a lifeline for her education journey.

“I can focus on studies, I can focus on social life, and other stuff outside of (how to pay for) class,” said Emefiele.

With over 1.7 million scholarships awarded annually, according to, these scholarships and grants offer students an opportunity to go to college without breaking the bank. The following tips provide information and advice on how college students should approach the scholarship process and join Emefiele as another scholarship recipient.

1. Apply 

This sounds simple enough, but an article published at said, “1 in 5 students don’t plan to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) 2023.”

Nancy Ferguson, the director of student financial aid at UGA, said in an email interview,“ Scholarships don’t just fall in your lap. You have to work hard, and complete those applications to be considered.”

2. Be vigilant in searching 

“Leave no stone unturned. Check with your employers, your places of worship, clubs, etc.,” said Ferguson.

According to a 2023 Forbes article, an estimated $100 million in scholarships go unused each year because of a lack of applicants.

Simply dedicating a few hours once or twice a week to looking into different scholarship opportunities that align with a student’s interests could make a significant difference in the success of the search, according to

3. Apply early

Federal Student Aid recommended that students start researching for scholarships the summer after their junior year of high school.

As reported in an article on, applying for a scholarship early may show the selection committee that the student intends to exceed expectations, providing better odds of getting the scholarship.

“The FAFSA for the upcoming school year is available October 1. Complete that as soon as you can to be considered for limited need-based funding. Apply for scholarships early. Applications for next year’s scholarships are already available – they generally have February and March deadlines,” said Ferguson.

4. Be thorough with spelling and grammar 

Ferguson said accuracy with spelling and grammar is important in scholarship applications.

“Treat scholarship applications like a job application for a job you really want. Scholarship committees pick up on things like spelling and grammar and attention to detail,” said Ferguson.

5. Have a personality

“Scholarship organizations are typically looking for that unique quality that sets you apart from the rest. Every one of us has skills and talents that make us unique and define our individuality. This is the time to showcase your talents and skills," according to

Emefiele said she feels many people are too robotic in their applications and that scholarship committees are looking for real people to showcase themselves.

6. Brag on accomplishments 

Ferguson said a scholarship application isn’t the time for students to be humble about their accomplishments.

“Sell yourself on your application! That is usually the only information that a selection
committee would have about you, so brag on yourself,” Ferguson said. “Let them know why YOU are the best person to receive their award.”


Katie Wall is a journalism student at the University of Georgia

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