Do you sometimes come upon a scholarship that doesn’t seem quite right for you, and ask yourself if you should just go ahead and apply anyway?
If you are ineligible for the scholarship, then my answer is “No.” You will be wasting your own valuable time, not to mention the time of the committee member who must preview your application before throwing it into the reject heap. Read all scholarship requirements and directions very carefully, and make sure you are eligible before you send in the application. Apply ONLY for scholarships that you stand a chance of winning.
If you are eligible, but unlikely to win the scholarship, then my answer is “Maybe.” There is never any harm in trying, of course, unless filling out the iffy application will interfere with or prevent you from applying for scholarships that are better suited to your strengths.
If you can make the scholarship right for you, then my answer is a resounding, “Yes!” If you are ineligible to apply because you’ve never performed volunteer work overseas, for instance, and your church is planning a mission trip to Honduras, for example, then you should arrange to go along and help. After you return safely home to your video games and Oreo cookies, you can apply for the scholarship that you’ve now made right for you. You can’t always wait around for the perfect opportunity to fall into your lap. Sometimes, you have to create the opportunity or open up your own door to qualify.
Whether or not you intend to apply, you should still pick up every scholarship application that you come across. Save them in a file somewhere, because throughout the course of your education you will continue to gain experiences, skills, group affiliations, etc. When you look through your collection of rejected applications later, you just may find that you qualify for a wider variety of scholarships than you did back at the beginning of your quest. Never forget that most scholarship competitions are held annually, and are often open to a wide variety of age groups. If you aren’t eligible during your senior year of high school, re-evaluate your qualifications as a college freshman.
Funding your way through university can be a long journey, but as you change, as you get older, more qualified, and more experienced in a wide variety of ways, your possibilities will change too. So keep checking back on those notes you’re taking now, and keep checking here for new and old insights into how to find the scholarships that are right for you.