How to apply for Scholarships: Step by Step Guide

how to apply for scholarships

Welcome to the step-by-step guide on how to apply for scholarships, via Afrokonnect. After the Covid-19 pandemic, the world poverty rate increased as inflation grew – this also had a major effect in the education sector.

According to a recent research, the cost of attending a public university has increased by 213% (1988-2017) and that of a private university has increased by 129% (1988-2017).

The only way to ease the increasing pain of high college tuition as a student is by earning scholarship awards but getting scholarship awards is not easy as thou sands of students are also jostling for the award. Learning the proper way of applying for scholarships can save a lot of time and improve your chances of earning it.

What are Scholarships?

In plain English, Scholarships are free money given to you by individuals, organizations or the government for your education and they don’t have to be repaid. In recent times, scholarships have been mistaken for grants so let me save you time by differentiating them:

  • Scholarships are funds provided to you for your education and don’t need to be repaid; and
  • Grants are loans given to individuals to further their education but must be repaid after such person has graduated.

How to find Scholarships to apply for?

There are various tools that the internet has blessed us with various tools which can be used to locate various types of scholarships:

1) Scholarship Websites:

Once you open any search engine and input “Scholarship Websites”, you are sure to find numerous sites but one important thing to note is that most of these sites aren’t update frequently (hence listing scholarship programs that are non-existent) and some them provide viewers with Ponzi scholarship schemes which requires some fees to apply (Red Flag).

2) Search Engines:

As I stated above, the internet has provided us with various search engines such as Google and Bing for us to make research. These search engines can be used to gather information on personalized scholarships. Others include:

3) Newspapers, Bulletins, Billboards, Etc.

4) Mobile Apps.

Step-by-Step guide on how to properly apply for scholarships?

1) Start your preparations early:

Let’s use this example: Dusty is in SS2 (Grade 11) and she wants a scholarship to study in a university; She has started her preparations early and I am very sure that by the time she applies for the scholarships she will be among the top choices to earn it. Note: Some scholarships allow students to apply early before entering SS3 (Grade 12).

Some may make an excuse that there are already in their final class in secondary school and there is no time again—that’s false as an applicant has to ensure that he/she doesn’t rush the scholarship application to avoid mistakes.

2) Understand the Scholarship application requirements:

Make research and ensure that you have the full list of the requirements of your desired scholarships. Here are some of the common requirements:

  • The Scholarship application form
  •  An Essay
  • A Letter of Recommendation
  • Full financial information, Etc.

3) Have a Calendar:

We aren’t talking about a calendar to mark the days and months of a year but a calendar which will include your scholarship deadline – this will enable you prepare in advance as “Timing is Key”. Having a calendar which also ensure that you have your required documents on time without having to rush anyone.

4) Ensure that your Essay is spot on:

When being asked to write an essay, you have to ensure that you devote a lot of time and effort to ensure that your scholarship application is worthwhile. Some may not be too fortunate by having a flair for writing it, here are some simple tips to aid in making an excellent essay:

  • Follow the instructions: You have to follow the instructions given and write according to the pattern the scholarship provider wants.
  • Have enough time: As sated above, you can’t rush perfection so ensure that you take your time and come up with the best essay you can offer.
  • Don’t follow the crowd: It is important not to copy an essay template you saw online as hundreds of applicants like you will be doing so hence causing massive similarity among various applications and rejections.
  • Follow a pattern.
  • Make your essay interesting and don’t bore the reader with unnecessary details.
  • Edit and proofread over and over again.

5) Submit your materials:

Ensure that you submit your scholarship application to the appropriate authorities, platform or website.

6) Check your scholarship status and be patient:

After applying for the scholarship, it is important to note that over thousands of applicants also applied so be expecting a very slow process and hope for a positive response from the scholarship providers.

Note: For those who applied for multiple scholarships, I suggest you have an organized list and follow all thoroughly.

Mistakes to avoid when applying for a scholarship

Scholarships aren’t given for only the high-grade student, perfect athletes or someone in dire need of financial help; It can also be given for other reasons namely: hobby, state of residence and talent – which means it is available to all from various works of life.

The scholarship application process isn’t something you rush as it requires time, so here are some mistakes you must ensure that you don’t make when applying for a particular scholarship:

1) Beginning the scholarship application process late:

For those in secondary schools (high school), you should already be faced with a lot of challenging tasks from projects, exams to assignments. Applying for a scholarship is an added and challenging task, so it is expected of you to start early to avoid making unnecessary mistakes.

2) Missing scholarship application deadlines:

Once you start your application process late, it is almost certain that you won’t be able to fulfill all the necessary requirements of the scholarship – which will lead to you missing the deadline. To avoid this incident, it is essential to have a calendar to jot down those important dates.

3) Applying for scam scholarship applications:

When searching for scholarship applications, you are sure to come across a lot of scam scholarships. It is somewhat difficult to identify them but here are some characteristics of a scholarship that’ll show it is a scam:

  • Request for payments;
  • Request for personal information
  • Anyone can apply for it.

For further guidance, you can also contact your class teacher or your school counselor to help you differentiate between fake and real scholarship applications. Sites like Fastweb, Cappex, Broke Scholar, Big Future, CollegeXpress and Unigo can be used to access legit scholarship applications.

4) Ensure that you cross-examine all the scholarship requirements and fulfill all.

5) Ensure that your scholarship application is complete.

6) After completing your application, ensure that you cross-check your application to ensure that there are free from errors.

How to apply for scholarships

 how to apply for scholarships


Applying for scholarships can be a tedious process but I hope this article has provided you with lifetime tips to ensure that your scholarship application stands out. Thanks for reading and we hope to see another time on



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