Jackson Hartz
May 20, 2024
min read

Navigating the Post-Application Rollercoaster: Your Guide to Scholarships and Interviews

Written by
Jackson Hartz
University of California Los Angeles

So, you've hit that "submit" button on your college applications – congrats! Now what? In this article, I'll guide you through the next steps, including the world of scholarship searches and the art of interview preparation.

Step 1: Exhale and Turn on Email Notifications

First things first, treat yourself! You've just wrapped up a significant chapter of your life. Whether you celebrated with a dance party, a movie night, or simply catching up on sleep, take a moment to revel in your accomplishments. Your hard work has brought you to this point, and you deserve a little recognition.

Now that you've submitted your applications, your inbox might just become your new best friend. Colleges might reach out for additional information, interviews, or to notify you of important updates. Stay on top of your emails; you wouldn't want to miss out on any opportunities or information that could impact your admissions journey. Also, be sure to check your junk inbox because it would be a shame to miss an important update because the email went to the wrong place.

Need help with interview prep? Practice live with a College Contact mentor!


Step 2: Dive Into Scholarship Search Mode

So, you've embarked on the quest for college scholarships – the treasure hunt of the academic world. Let's delve deeper into finding and securing those college scholarships.

Community, Business, and Foundation Scholarships

Begin your journey by exploring the local treasures – community organizations, businesses, and foundations. These entities often take pride in investing in the future of their community's bright minds. Local scholarships might not make headlines, but they can be significant in bridging financial gaps. Keep an eye on bulletin boards, community centers, and your high school's counseling office for announcements about these hidden gems.

Local scholarship applications may require essays, recommendations, or documentation of your involvement in community activities. Take the time to understand the specific criteria and tailor your application accordingly. This personal touch can make your application stand out in a pool of candidates.

Online Scholarship Platforms

Now, let's look at online scholarship platforms. Websites like Fastweb, Chegg, and Scholarship.com are like digital treasure troves, full of opportunities waiting to be discovered. Create profiles on these platforms, input your interests, academic achievements, and future aspirations, and watch as the algorithms work their magic to match you with potential scholarships.

Pro tip: Don't just rely on a single platform – cast your net wide. Each platform may have unique scholarships, and by diversifying your search, you increase your chances of finding the perfect fit.

Tailor Your Search

Customize your search by aligning with your interests, extracurricular activities, and career goals. If you're passionate about environmental conservation, search for scholarships offered by organizations that share your commitment. If you're an aspiring artist, look for scholarships that celebrate and support your creative endeavors.

Why does this matter? Tailoring your applications not only increases your chances of eligibility but also showcases your genuine passion. Scholarship providers appreciate applicants who align with their values and goals, making you a more appealing candidate.

Step 3: Craft Amazing Scholarship Applications

Now that you've unearthed potential scholarships, it's time to master the art of crafting winning applications. Here are some tips to elevate your application game:

  • Tell Your Story: Share experiences that shaped you, challenges you've overcome, and your vision for the future. Let your personality shine through.
  • Highlight Achievements: Whether it's academic excellence, leadership roles, or community service, ensure your achievements are front and center.
  • Follow Instructions: This may sound obvious, but carefully read and follow the application instructions. Missing a step or providing incomplete information could cost you the opportunity.
  • Proofread: Typos and grammatical errors can distract from your message. Proofread your application, or better yet, have someone else review it to catch any mistakes.
  • Express Gratitude: Finally, if you're awarded a scholarship, express sincere gratitude. A thank-you note or email goes a long way in showing appreciation for the support you've received.

Craft a Killer Resume and Personal Statement

Scholarship applications often require a resume and a personal statement. Take the time to polish these gems, highlighting your achievements, leadership roles, and community involvement. Your personal statement is your chance to shine – share your story, passions, and future goals. Make it unique, make it you.

Ace Your Interviews

The word 'interview' might send shivers down your spine, but fear not – it's just a conversation between you and someone who wants to know more about the amazing person behind the application. Whether it's an alumni interview or a scholarship interview, preparation is key.

Research common interview questions and practice your responses. Be ready to discuss your strengths, weaknesses, and experiences that shaped you. Think of it as a chance to share your story in a more personal way. And don't forget to have a few questions up your sleeve – it shows you've done your homework and are genuinely interested in the institution or organization.

Interviews may be conducted in person or virtually, but either way, the first impression matters. Choose an outfit that reflects your personality while also adhering to a level of professionalism. Virtual interviews? Check your internet connection, make sure your camera is working, and find a quiet, well-lit space where you can confidently articulate your thoughts.

Step 4: Thank Your Recommenders

While you're in this post-application glow, take a moment to express your gratitude to those who wrote your recommendation letters. A simple thank-you email or note can go a long way in acknowledging their support. After all, they played a vital role in helping you present the best version of yourself to colleges.

Step 5: Celebrate Your Wins, Big and Small

Celebrate every acceptance, every scholarship, and every small achievement along the way. This process is about more than just getting into college; it's about growth, resilience, and discovering the potential within you.

So, I hope this article provided you with some clarity in to how to navigate the college process after submitting those applications! With scholarship searches and interview prep in your toolkit, you're well on your way to turning the page to the next thrilling chapter of your academic journey. Cheers to the road ahead!

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