November is National Scholarship Month, a time to raise awareness of scholarship opportunities for current and future college students. We recommend that this fall, you take some time to search for scholarship opportunities. Keep a running list of opportunities of interest for which you are eligible, noting submission deadlines. There’s no magic date by which to apply for scholarships; each scholarship has its own unique deadline. Below are a few ways to find scholarship opportunities.
- Be sure to complete the UNT Student Financial Aid and Scholarships Office’s General Scholarship Application annually and browse scholarships mentioned on their University Scholarships webpage.
- Search Pivot database for scholarship opportunities. Pro-tip: Use the advanced search option and limit search results by eligibility to either undergraduates or graduates. This will sort out lots of irrelevant funding opportunities. Tutorials for how to use Pivot are linked in the UNT Libraries’ grantseeking guide.
- Keep an eye out for scholarships at the UNT college and department level. Many campus units will offer scholarships for their own students or aggregate relevant scholarships on their websites. For example: the Toulouse Graduate School, College of Health and Public Service, College of Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Public Administration, Department of Media Arts. This is of course only a sample of the available unit webpages that contain scholarship opportunities. Check your own college and department websites.
- Take a look at the UNT Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships website, list of scholarships, and instructions for scholarship prospecting.
- Check out the UNT Libraries’ scholarship guide and grantseeking guide for more recommendations.
- Browse scholarship opportunities on websites such org or fastweb.com.
When applying for scholarships, it’s important to . . .
- make sure you always read and carefully follow instructions. Scholarships can be very competitive. Reviewers often shrink the applicant pool by tossing out those applications that lack all the required documents or that indicate the applicant did not follow instructions.
- track deadlines and do not wait until the last minute to complete an application. Many scholarships require an essay and you do not want to hastily throw something together. Allow time for editing and ideally, you should allow time for someone else to read and edit your essay too.
- identify and talk to potential recommenders in advance. Many scholarships require letters of recommendation. Make sure you ask recommenders ahead of time and give them information about you, details about the scholarship, and instructions for submitting the recommendation letter. Consider asking more recommenders than you actually need, just in case.
- tell your story. Make your application compelling by describing your career aspirations and interests. It’s important to construct a narrative that is well-written, free of grammatical and spelling errors, and that adequately addresses the prompt or question.
And finally, be sure to complete or update your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form every year, to receive federal student aid. Remember, even if you choose to decline federal student loans, you can only participate in the Federal Work-Study program and receive federal grants, such as the need-based Pell Grant, by completing the FAFSA.