Begin your scholarship search in January.
- Deadlines range from February to May, so start early.
Apply for as many scholarships as you can
- Apply for general scholarships. Submit the NDSU General Scholarship Application, available on the General Scholarships for Returning Students page.
- Apply for departmental scholarships. Contact your college (i.e. Pharmacy, Agriculture, etc.) for more information.
- Apply for private scholarships. Check with your local businesses, religious organizations, employers, tribal agencies, veterans associations, and fraternal lodges. Many libraries also have books on searching for scholarships. In addition, information on private scholarships is available on the External Scholarships page . Some opportunities are also advertised in the Spectrum.
Utilize the Internet
The Internet has a variety of scholarship search databases, some of which are listed below. These services ask for personal information such as age, gender, ethnicity, extracurricular activities and career interests. The best way to utilize scholarship searches is to conduct multiple searches in each database by varying your personal characteristics.
Prepare a portfolio
Develop a suite of generic reusable materials that you can customize to fit a particular scholarship. Create reusable application materials and recycle essays. Also develop a broad list of people you could approach for recommendation letters. Include adults involved in school related activities, such as professors, advisers or coaches.
Pick up the phone
If, for some reason, you find that the instructions on an application are unclear call either Student Financial Services or the department through which the scholarship is offered. Don't be shy about asking for help. If you don't, you may hurt your chances of receiving a scholarship.
Writing the right way
If you are required to write essays, papers or short responses, take the time to work through several drafts. Before you start, decide exactly what you want to say. What you write should be clear, concise, well organized, interesting and distinctive. Ask an instructor, counselor or friend for their input. Rework your material until it says what you want.
Give it one last look
Applications, forms, letters, essays, questionnaires and any other information you send in as part of the application process should be typed or computer generated. Laser printing looks the best. Proofread your materials. Make sure everything is professional, no obvious white-out, last minute corrections with a pen, misspelling, errors and crumpled paper. Have someone else proofread your materials again before you send them in.
Keep it all on file
Keep copies of everything you send. You can use the material for later reference in the selection process. It may also be helpful the next time you apply for scholarships.
Reap the benefits
If you're willing to put in the time, effort and hard work that the process demands, there are many benefits. The average NDSU student graduates with a loan debt of nearly $20,000 which means monthly payments of $220 for ten years! Don't commit yourself to a long string of post-college debt payments. Search for scholarship aid to reduce potential loan debt.
Beware of Scams
If you use a scholarship search firm, check with the Better Business Bureau or the ND Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-472-2600. Be cautious if you are asked to pay a fee, if you are guaranteed to win, if you are a finalist in a contest you never entered, if you are asked to give your bank or credit card number or if the scholarship search firm says they'll do all the work for you.