Lot of people do not apply for scholarships because they think it to be too much work and they will not qualify as there are several applicants. This, however, is not the right attitude as the financial reward received in the form of a scholarship will be worth the effort. There are mainly two types of scholarships one is a need based scholarship and the other is merit based scholarship.
In the need based scholarship students from low income families qualify and merit based scholarships are for students with a good academic record irrespective of the financial status. There are some scholarships which only allow people from certain ethnic minorities to apply for example, African-American students or Hispanic students. Other types of scholarships are for a target audience, for example, single parent scholarship which qualifies students who have a single parent.
As there are different scholarship programs, they also have different eligibility criteria, but there are some basic requirements. It is also advisable that you apply for as many scholarships as you can to improve your chances of qualifying for one. The scholarship amounts also vary ranging from USD 500 to USD 25,000 and sometimes even more depending on the course fees and duration.
If you're planning to apply for a federal education grant then one of the requirements is to fill the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This is available online on the federal student aid website. You will need to have financial statements ready for scrutiny as most federal education grants are for students from low income families.
You need to be a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen to qualify for most of the scholarship programs. These scholarships are not applicable for online education courses, hence you need to enroll for at least a part-time education program to qualify. Students will also need to maintain a good GPA score for eligibility. Most scholarship programs require at least 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale for qualification.
Some of the other things that you might require are recommendation letters from your teachers or school principal. In some cases, students also need to show that they were involved in community betterment projects. Students who showcase leadership qualities will also be given preference when it comes to awarding the scholarship. Be prepared to write essays as most scholarships offered by private organizations require students to write topic specific essays.
Most scholarship programs have an online application form which needs to be filled before the due date to be eligible for the reward. For information on Federal education grant programs visit the federal student aid website. The financial aid office of the college is also a good resource for information on application forms, scholarship programs and eligibility criteria.
You will have to mention your SAT/ACT scores on the application form to be eligible for the scholarship programs. Students will also benefit if they keep their social security numbers and other legal documents handy when applying for scholarships. Do proper research and only apply to scholarships which have an eligibility criteria that suits you the best. There are several scholarship programs and most of them have a website, so invest a little time online.
The most important thing is to find out about the application dates and submission deadlines to ensure you don't miss the opportunity. Proofread your application before submission as a high percentage of applications are rejected because of silly mistakes done while filling the form.