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Helpful Hints

Use the information on this page to make sure you qualify for as many scholarships as possible! Be sure to also visit our Scholarship Checklist webpages, for suggested scholarship timelines:



Scholarship Game Plan


Your first objective in thinking about scholarships is to develop a game plan. Scolarships are often competitive and usually have an application deadline between December and February. For this reason, you should begin your scholarship search in your junior year of high school. Start with the following steps to ensure a successful scholarship search:

  1. Get Organized: Find a blank spiral notebook and grab a folder. Use the notebook to write down the names of scholarships you find and application deadline dates. You may also want to write down the Web site or location of the scholarship information. Remember, you should start this process during your junior year of high school, and you will want to remember how to get the scholarship applications during your senior year.

  2. Begin Your Search: Be sure to search for both private scholarships and scholarships offered by MTSU, such as Foundation Scholarships. Keep accurate records of all the scholarships you find.

  3. Stay Focused: At times you may run into dead ends or may feel as if the search is hopeless. Keep going--something may turn up. There are plenty of scholarships out there. It just takes some endurance!

  4. Apply, Apply, Apply: Most private scholarship deadlines fall between December and February. Most MTSU Foundation Scholarships have an application deadline of February 15. Have everything ready to mail or submit electronically at least one month before the deadline. Apply for every scholarship for which you meet the criteria. the early bird catches the worm, and the more scholarships for which you apply, the more chances you have to win!

  5. Follow Up: Be sure to follow up on applications that you have submitted. Be persistent, but not overbearing. Following up should keep things from slipping through the paperwork cracks.

  6. Respond: As soon as an award letter or phone call reaches you with the great news, send that person or company a thank-you card or letter. You may want to include a photo to personalize your message.


Scholarship Search Tips


During your junior year in high school, begin searching for scholarships. You may want to register with a free scholarship search Web site to find information about awards that match your profile. When thinking about where to search for scholarships and what to search for, think outside the box. Yes, the internet is a great resource, but so are high school counselors, professors, church youth coordinators and pastors, college financial aid offices and web sites, and local community organizations. Please visit our Private Scholarships page for more information about identifying and applying for scholarships through private companies and organizations.


Beware of Scams! In your search for money for college, be careful to watch for people who just want your money. If someone asks you to pay for scholarship information, just say no! The information is available without charge through other sources, such as a high school guidance office or the above websites.

Scholarship Essay Writing Tips

Yes, part of applying for scholarships will involve writing. Hopefully, your English professor has taught you all the wonderful skills of writing fluently and professionally. There is not a magical scholarship essay template. It should be all about you! Below are a few do's and don'ts.

  • Scholarship committees understand that college is expensive and students may or may not want their parents to pay for it. Many students will place comments like this in their essays, but we recommend that you focus instead on things that will make you stand out from the crowd. Picture this: you are sitting at a desk with a pile of scholarship applications and essays. As you are reading the essays, you make two stacks: 1) The WOW Stack and 2) The "Your're like Everyone Else" Stack. You want to be in the WOW stack, so WOW the reader with your essay.

  • Include unique details about you! You should be the best advertiser for yourself. If you are having a tough time, ask your parents, friends, and teachers what they think about you.

  • Guide your essay around the purpose of the scholarship. How does your uniqueness serve the scholarship's purpose?

  • Type your essay unless the application requests a handwritten copy. Several people will read your essay (once you make it into the WOW! stack), so be nice to those people and use a crisp black font, 10-12 font size, and one inch borders. These are the basics for document formatting.

  • Read and re-read your essay. Be sure several people read it for errors. Give the essay to people you hardly know and ask them if they would give this person a scholarship!

  • Try not to be too lengthy. Unless the guidelines for a scholarship suggest that you write 3 to 4 pages, try to keep your essay to one page.