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BGSU Firelands Library

Scholarship Information

Why YOU Should Apply for Scholarships

Scholarship Search Tools

The tools provided below are recognized as effective scholarship search tools. For them to work effectively for you:

1. Spend the time to answer all questions and sub-questions completely. Otherwise you may miss some scholarships.

2. Use more than one online tool. Each of them works a bit differently and you are likely to get more options if you use more than one tool. 

3. Consider using print sources. Often online tools will narrow a search too quickly, causing you to miss some scholarships. If you browse through some books, the number of options and types of scholarships for which you might qualify will be more clear. Firelands library has a recent set of scholarship sources in print.

4. Ask local organizations if they know of scholarships. Often local scholarships are not recorded in search engines, and they may be very well-funded scholarships. Churches, civic groups (e.g., Rotary, Lions club, etc.), interest groups (garden clubs, science clubs, running clubs) may offer scholarships, but you won't know until you ASK! 

Which scholarships are best?

A couple of ways to answer this are:

  1. The ones that give the most money.
  2. The ones that you are most likely to get.
  3. The ones that will help you when you start job hunting. 

Points 1 & 2: 

The dollar amount of the scholarship should not be the sole reason to apply. You should apply for as many as you are able and expect that you will get about 10% of those for which you apply. So, apply for 30 and you might get 3. 

You are most likely to get a scholarship that few others apply for. What are those? They are scholarships that

  • Have unique requirements (such as ethnicity, residence, and/or major requirements). Some scholarships are for people with rare genetic disorders (Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease) or who play unique instruments (bagpipes). Anything unique about you may be something you can use to get a scholarship. 
  • Have a LOT of requirements and a long, detailed application process. The more daunting the application process, the less likely others are to go after that scholarship. If few others have the motivation to apply, then your chances of winning are better!
  • Are hard to find. Ask the people in your community who are likely to be involved in reviewing scholarship applications if they know of any. For example, teachers are often asked to review scholarship applications, and people who want to give scholarships often inform local schools. Call up your local high school and be persistent (but pleasant) to find out what scholarships are offered in your area that might not be on a search engine. 

Point 3:

Scholarships for your major area of study or that are in line with your career goals are the ones that are likely to help you most when you start looking for a job after school. Consider this: if you are looking to hire one person, but have two resumes, which one will look better? All else being equal, the one with a scholarship listed as an award will be viewed more positively. Receiving a scholarship shows a prospective employer that you are motivated and competent enough to convince other people to give you money. Every employer wants to hire motivated and persuasive people! 

Thoughts on Scholarship Essays from the BGSU Witing Lab

Location: Second Floor, Foundation Hall (back corner of library)

Phone: 419-433-5560 (ext. 20896); 419-372-0896 (direct line)


Thoughts to Help Students Applying for College and/or Scholarships

The BEST application essays are…


The reader should learn something about you that he/she would not learn from other parts of the application. If the application asks you to list all of your recent extra-curricular activities, listing them again in the essay provides no new information.


Mistakes in punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling may eliminate you from consideration. Do NOT rely solely on spell-check. Read your final draft aloud slowly or have a partner read it back to you. Listen for any awkward phrasing or missing words (especially short ones like a, the, I, etc.). If you neither trust your ability to catch those mistakes nor have a partner to read it back to you, the “Speak” feature in Microsoft Word can be very helpful. Follow the instructions in the “Hearing your writing” section at the bottom to access that feature.


Be sure your essay sounds like you. Read it aloud in your normal speaking voice. Are you using words you are comfortable with? Are you trying too hard to sound smart or funny? Ask ONE trusted proofreader to help you. Getting too much feedback may be counterproductive because all editors leave their mark on a piece of writing. After a while, the essay will sound like your helpers wrote it and not you.


Tailor each essay to the particular college or scholarship you are applying for. One young woman wrote that she wanted to major in dance at XYZ College. There was only one problem: There was no dance program at XYZ College.      


Many times application essays will require you to write about an important event in your life. When that happens, focus on the positive effect which the event had on you rather than the circumstances leading up to it. However, you will sometimes need to write about a topic that does not interest you. Rather than getting flustered by such an unexpected moment, plan your way through it. Take some time to generate and organize your thoughts before you start writing. Brainstorming a list of ideas and then turning that list into an outline or a cluster can be a good way to work through an unexpected topic.


  • "Hearing" your writing can help ...

Follow these instructions to access the “Speak” feature in Microsoft Word.

1. Open the document that you want to have read aloud in Microsoft Word.

2. Click the “File” button in the top-left corner of the screen.

3. Click the “Options” button on the left side of the screen.

4. Click “Quick Access Toolbar” in the new window.

5. You will see a box in the “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” labeled “Choose commands from” Click on the downward arrow near that box and select “All Commands.”

6. Scroll down to the icon labeled “Speak” and click on it.

7. Click on the “Add” button in the middle of the screen.

8. Click “Ok”. You will not need to repeat Steps 1-8 once the speak icon is added to your toolbar.

9. Select the part of the document that you want Microsoft Word to read aloud. Then click on the “Speak” icon near the top of the screen. 

How do I write a scholarship essay?

Formula for writing a scholarship essay:

  1. Tell a story about how this scholarship fits with a personal experience
  2. Describe the skills you displayed in the story and how you have developed/honed them
  3. Link your skills in #2 to the requirements of the scholarship
  4. Some Sum up and be sure to say how you are likely to be different from others applying (be different to be remembered).

How likely is it that I will get a scholarship?

At 4-year public colleges like BGSU, about 1 in 10 students receives money that is not a loan. On average those students receive $4,300 - that is almost a year of tuition at BGSU Firelands

Just a little work can improve your chances considerably - check out the other tools in this libguide! 

How do I find scholarships for students attending BGSU?

The scholarship application process is open from January to May ONLY. 

REMEMBER: The requirements listed may or may not apply to all scholarships available. Complete the application process AFTER you have read all the scholarships available. Then you will know what to emphasize and the types of stories to tell in your application. 

See the scholarship brochure for BGSU Firelands and BGSU Main in the links below: