There are thousands of college scholarships out there. Scholarships for: academic merit, having a different ethnicity, living in a certain location, and community service.
Also, did you know about these scholarships for: males taller than 6’2 and females over 5’10, dwarfism, duck calling, being a bagpipe major, and loving the art of vacuum coating. (What is vacuum coating???)
The message is scholarships are everywhere totaling millions of dollars.
But, how many scholarships have you applied for? How many scholarships have you received while in college? For many students, the answer to these questions is zero.
Wouldn’t it be nice to receive scholarships and thousands of dollars without having to apply? Wouldn’t it be great to get the reward without having to write all the essays?
I unknowingly accomplished this. Through my four years at college, I received a total of $13,700 in scholarships without applying for a single one.
And what’s even better is you can get thousands of dollars in scholarships too, if you’re willing to put in the work. I’ll explain how below.
What I Did To Get Scholarships
Long story short, I planned on going to Harvard Law School, and knew a high GPA would help my admission chances. So, as a freshman, I set my goal to achieve a 4.0 GPA my first semester. I didn’t reach that goal, but I came close and then used my experience to tweak my study habits.
Then, after I finished my first year with a cumulative 3.91 GPA, I received two merit scholarships totaling $2,300 for my sophomore year. The next 5 semesters I made the President’s List with a 4.0 GPA, and each year my college gave me more academic merit scholarships. Below is a screenshot of one year.
As I mentioned, the cumulative scholarship money—that I never applied for—came out to $13,700. That’s not chump change!
To be completely honest, I don’t know exactly why my university gave me this academic scholarship money and then increased it every year.
One thought is so I would stay at the school and not transfer, which I never planned on doing. Or another idea is the scholarship money is simply a way to incentivize good grades. But, with this point, I feel like the university would have better informed students about these academic scholarships if the purpose is to incentivize students.
Steps To Get Academic Scholarship Money
So, if a high GPA makes sense for your situation and assuming your school is similar to mine (to be certain, I would call your college’s financial aid department and ask them about scholarships for a high grade point average), these are the steps to hopefully get this scholarship money.
First, get off to a fast academic start for a high GPA your first semester. It’s apparent that the higher GPA you have, the better chance at receiving a scholarship for academic merit.
Second, maintain the study habits that worked and tweak some areas where you can be more efficient in your studying.
My best study method to get As is called The Chip Away Strategy and I’ve also written a complimentary post on effective paper writing. Follow these two strategies and you will ace your college exams and papers.
Lastly, shoot for a perfect 4.0 GPA. Because if you fall short, you’re still sitting at a 3.8 or 3.9 GPA.
Unfortunately this method doesn’t work for grad school, but here’s how to fund graduate school.
Readers, do you think applying to scholarships takes too much time? Would you rather work hard in school for extra money compared to writing multiple scholarship essays? What are your thoughts on this subject?