Unless you come from a particularly fortunate background, you’ll probably need some financial support to go to college. There are many different kinds of scholarships from many different sources. Make sure you understand how to go about doing the applications correctly.

Get Started Early

It’s always better to get your applications done sooner rather than later. Why? Well, if you wait until the last minute, your product will inevitably be rushed. Some applications might only require your personal information and some form of verification–but most require some kind of essay. That will determine which students receive scholarships.

If you want to submit the highest quality application that you can, you should give yourself time to reread, and revise your essays. This is especially true if you’re going to be submitting to a wide variety of scholarships. The last thing you want is to be trying to finish your applications while stressed and panicked.

Show Off Your Accomplishments

In many ways, scholarship applications are much like job applications. You need to fill out a lot relating to your personal history. You also need to provide multiple sources of verification as well as personal information. Many scholarship applications ask for a resume. You’re trying to show the application committee or committees why you deserve what they offer.

That’s why it’s a good idea to know how to talk about your skills, experiences, and accomplishments in a way that doesn’t come across as arrogant. Confidence is good, but condescension is bad. Don’t hesitate to reflect on some of your more challenging experiences, as well as how you’ve grown from them.

Know Where to Apply

This is the first step to getting the scholarship funds you deserve. Where exactly do you apply for scholarships? Luckily, there is a very large variety of options for you to consider. There are federally-funded scholarships like FAFSA that you can qualify for based on many different factors (like the economic status of your household and your marital status). Some states or counties may have state or locally-funded scholarships as well. There are many sites online that are constructed to help you find and connect with as many scholarship opportunities as possible.

If you’re still in high school, it’s a good idea to see what resources your school has available. Guidance counselors can be helpful with this. But regardless–the key is preparation and research. Know the options you have available and apply for as many as you can.