Seven things students should know about scholarships
The Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid is committed to helping Hokies connect with as many scholarship opportunities as possible, whether they be university, college and departmental, or outside opportunities. We know that there is a scholarship opportunity out there for every Hokie. National Scholarship Month is a perfect time to remind everyone to start their scholarship searches for 2023-24 now.
- We have many scholarship opportunities. Before being considered for any University Scholarships and Financial Aid-administered scholarships, Hokies must take two important steps: complete your FAFSA and complete the General Scholarship Application. Both are open for 2023-24 right now. For maximum scholarship consideration, complete each of these before Jan. 22.
- There are 3,214 scholarship opportunities available in Scholarship Central for 2023-24. To help you find the scholarship opportunities that are right for you, Scholarship Central allows you to search for scholarships, and it also makes recommendations for scholarships that appear to match your qualifications. After you complete your General Scholarship Application, do not forget to do your college’s scholarship application (if one is offered). We also strongly encourage all Hokies to apply for each scholarship opportunity that is a good match.
- Do not let scholarship requirements, like essays, deter you from applying for a scholarship. Your skills, talents, and experiences are unique! By being your authentic self, you give those reviewing your application a sense of who you are and how the scholarship will help you as you earn your degree. Also, do not let the actual work of writing an essay keep you from applying for a scholarship. Most essays do not have long length requirements, so if you plan ahead completing them should not be stressful.
- Scholarship Central also makes it easy for students to complete other requirements for their scholarships. For example, some scholarships require references. You can request these references directly through Scholarship Central. (Just remember to reach out to your references first to let them know you are applying and to expect an email from Scholarship Central.) You can also complete your thank yous for your donors and sign FERPA releases directly in Scholarship Central to make all those “next steps” easier for you.
- In 2022-23, Hokies have received over $18.5 million in Virginia Tech scholarships that were privately funded by donors. These scholarship donors make all the difference in helping Hokies complete their degrees. If you receive a scholarship, writing a well-crafted thank you letter is meaningful way to show the donor how the scholarship has helped you. Some tips for writing a meaningful thank you letter include actually naming the scholarship you received and making sure to actually say thank you. Also, be specific. Share information about you like your major, your hometown, and how this scholarship helps you.
- Virginia Tech’s students are extremely competitive, and many Hokies receive outside scholarships from high schools, local organizations, places of worship, and employers. Many Hokies also receive well-known national scholarships. In fact, thus far in 2022-23, Hokies have received over $8 million in outside scholarships. Start your outside scholarship search early. Begin with opportunities in your local community, then broaden your search to national opportunities. Many local scholarships go unawarded. National scholarships are more competitive and often have more complex applications but their awards can be larger and are often renewable.
- There are many wonderful outside scholarship providers, but be sure to keep a few things in mind to keep you safe. Scholarship applications should be free. Never pay to find or apply for scholarships. Do not give out private or sensitive information, like your Social Security number. Carefully review the terms of each scholarship opportunity and make sure you are applying through reputable sites. If something does not feel right about an outside scholarship opportunity, trust your instincts and do additional research before sharing your information with an outside organization.
University Scholarships and Financial Aid is here to help you with your scholarship search. If you have any questions about Scholarship Central or need some tips for starting your scholarship search, do not hesitate to send us an email or schedule a chat.