How do I get the Best Scholarships for Nontraditional Students?

A nontraditional student is a person who does not fit the typical mold of a student in a particular institution. These groups may find it more difficult to identify sources of financial aid for which they qualify. Scholarships for nontraditional students do exist, however, and can be quite generous in their provisions for highly qualified individuals. Winning scholarships for nontraditional students requires a process of careful sifting through options, well-prepared applications, and sometimes a measure of luck.

nontraditional student

Scholarships for nontraditional students are often broken up by categories that distinguish the applying student from a typical college or post-graduate attendee. Discovering which nontraditional categories fit a student can help narrow down the possibilities of application. Common categories that are considered nontraditional may include students who are considerably older than the average school attendee, those who had to interrupt earlier schooling, single parents, full-time workers, or students who are of a particular minority or population segment that is underrepresented in a school system.

The criteria for winning scholarships for nontraditional students may be quite vast or very specific. Some scholarships are available to people of a particular race, religious sect, or even sexual persuasion that may be considered other than the norm. In addition to fulfilling the prerequisites of a scholarship, a student will also usually need to submit transcripts, a cover letter, essays, or other application materials to the program. Since everyone who meets the prerequisite requirements for scholarships for nontraditional students may advance past the initial screening round, it is in the additional materials that most scholarships are won and lost.

college students

Writing essays and personal statements can sometimes be an awkward process. Many scholarship committees want a person to explain why he or she should receive an award, or why assistance is needed. It is important to strike a tone in responses that is neither whiny nor entitled. Despite the artificial nature of these papers, scholarship officials are often looking for humor, originality, poignancy, or passion. It is wise to let trusted friends or professors look over admissions and scholarship materials before submitting them. Not only can this help improve content, but it is also a great way to make sure that applications are completely free from grammatical and spelling errors.

Scholarships for nontraditional students are quite easy to find. The Internet boasts many large scholarship databases that allow searches for specific criteria, such as “single mother,” or, “developmentally disabled.” This can narrow down choices to a select field in just seconds, and help point a student in the direction of the options for his or her circumstances. College and high school guidance offices are also excellent resources for scholarship information.

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