Expert Tips on How to Apply for STEM Scholarships

Looking for winning tips from scholarship winners? We have gathered the absolute best insider tips and scholarship-winning secrets to help you increase your odds of winning. There are ways to ensure your application impresses the scholarship committee judging your entry and how to win college scholarships:

Develop a prioritized list of scholarship opportunities based on your unique traits

Scholarships are available for STEM diverse students based on ethnicity, personal interests, GPA, languages spoken, extra curricular activities, and so on! There are scholarships for programmers, scientists, engineers, students who grew up with certain hardships, first-generation college students, DACA students, and more.

As you’re searching for scholarships, keep a list that prioritizes opportunities based on several factors:

  • What makes you a unique fit for the scholarship?
  • Scholarship amount and competitiveness of scholarship
  • Application deadlines

When it comes to prioritizing scholarships, don’t discount what seems like a big, too-good-to-be-true scholarship, assuming you’ll never win it.

For example, at IOScholarships, we frequently offer access to scholarships that are for minority STEM students. High dollar scholarships, like the Gates Scholarships are often competitive. But it can’t hurt to try for them because there are always winners.

On the other hand, don’t dismiss smaller college scholarships either! There are tons of scholarships out there in the $500-$2,000 range. This may not seem like a lot, but every dollar counts for your out of pocket expenses!

Seek out smaller, less competitive scholarships

High dollar scholarships tend to be very competitive, so seek out smaller awards and contests that taken together can add up to a lot of college cash. Talk to organizations such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers about award opportunities. And also foundations may be a source of hidden treasures. Then apply for as many as possible. The more you apply for, the more possibilities to win.

Write an original essay

Boost your chances of winning by sharing your talents and hardships

When you write your essay or personal statement, be sure to showcase how your experience aligns with the organization’s mission or vision. Leadership is a promising quality to address in your scholarship application. Students can highlight leadership in many unique ways. Community work are outstanding qualities applicants should highlight when applying for a scholarship. Keep things fresh and entertaining, yet on point.

Detailing hardships can be difficult for you to share, but showcasing how you overcame those hardships (or plan to with the help of this scholarship) might be great to showcase how these challenges have taught you resiliency and grit. Try to leave the reader feeling hopeful about your future by staying positive throughout your essay, even if you’re talking about hard topics or feelings.

Giving specific examples of how the award relates to your life is more impactful than simply explaining why you deserve to win.

Track Your Scholarship Applications and Proofread 

The more organized you are, the better. If your application is late, you can be locked out of online systems or tossed in the “no” pile — no matter how perfect you are for the award.

 IOScholarships organizer allows you to save upcoming scholarships, stay on top of due dates, and keep track of the scholarships you’ve applied for (including your wins!).

  1. Store your scholarships in one place
    There are a lot of scholarships that you might be eligible for. However, it’s very easy to lose track of which scholarships you have already applied to and which ones you still need to complete.
  2. Never miss a deadline again and filter your results.
    Since there are so many scholarships it’s easy to lose track of all the deadlines. With a scholarship organizer you can easily sort your scholarship by deadline, award amount or any other specification.
  3. Record your progress
    This will make it easy for you to track how many scholarships you have applied for and may even help you determine which one are better suited to your unique talents and skills, which may increase your chances of winning! With a free scholarship organizer like this one you will always know how far you are with achieving your goal.

Treat the application process as a part-time job
The more applications you submit, the greater your chances are of winning scholarships.  I treated the application process as a part-time job dedicating 15-25 hours per week. I figured if I spent two hours applying for a scholarship and won $1000, that was like making $500 per hour; an AMAZING part-time job!

It was difficult at first, because I was putting in hours and hours in the application process before winning scholarships but it got easier as time went on. I wrestled with self-doubt. But don’t let the competition discourage you. IOScholarships help narrow your search. Results are generated based on your ethnic background and interests. Don’t wait, apply today!

Don’t be discouraged

If you didn’t get a scholarship, try and work out what you could have done differently with your application and use that knowledge to improve your chances with future opportunities. Some scholarships even offer feedback on your application to help you better your chances next year. Keep your spirits up and remember that there are always going to be new scholarship opportunities you can aim for. 

Get help applying for STEM scholarships

Navigating the sheer number of STEM scholarships out there can be challenging for students. Scholarships that look appealing because of their funding amount may not be right for your choice of major subject or university. Others get overlooked because they are new and not many people have heard about them. 

At IOScholarships, we take the hassle out of the process of identifying and applying for the right scholarships. We are a community dedicated to securing debt-free education for students from diverse backgrounds. 

Join us today to get access to thousands of curated scholarships and financial education resources. And trust us to find the STEM scholarships that are perfect for you!

Expert Tips on How to Apply for STEM Scholarships