Mapping Your Future: Important questions to ask yourself before applying for a scholarship


Important questions to ask yourself before applying for a scholarship

By Catherine Mueller

February 01, 2024

Students should apply for as many scholarships as possible.

That's good advice, but with that advice in mind, students should prioritize some scholarships and maybe avoid some scholarships altogether. In general, you should apply for those scholarships that are a good fit and not apply to any scholarships that seem questionable.

To determine which scholarships to seek, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this a legitimate scholarship? Unfortunately, there’s a lot of scholarship scams and sometimes organizations just want your information and don’t intend to award any money to students. Do research on the scholarship if you have any doubt and never provide a lot of personal information (such as date of birth or social security number) when applying. You may need to provide additional personal information if you win a scholarship, but be careful about providing too much information in advance.
  • Do I qualify for this scholarship? If it’s obvious that the scholarship is not a good match for you – maybe it requires a certain GPA or a personal characteristic – then don’t waste your time applying. Instead spend your time on those scholarship applications for which you have the best chance of winning.
  • Is this scholarship a good match for me? Do your personal characteristics, career goals, or educational interests align the requirements of the scholarship? If so, then the scholarship is a good match. You will want to prioritize those applications because those are the scholarships you have the best chance of receiving.
  • What are the scholarship requirements? Once you determine that the scholarship is a good opportunity, then you need to determine if you can complete all the requirements by the deadline. You may be a great fit for a specific scholarship, but you won’t receive it if you fail to provide all the requested information or fail to submit the application by the deadline.

By asking yourself these questions as you begin your scholarship search, you will make the most of the time you spend on the applications. And, the more scholarships you receive for your education, the less likely you will have to depend on student loans to pay for your education.

Students researching scholarship opportunities can keep organized by using Mapping Your Future’s Scholarship Tracking Sheet.