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Five Tips for Applying to Scholarships

students sitting at table next to brick building

Attending college is an investment in your future. But paying for it can be a challenge.

NC State offers numerous scholarships to ease the cost burden for new, current and transfer students. Some are awarded at the university level, while others are designed for students majoring in the humanities and social sciences. 

The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid coordinates Pack ASSIST, a consolidated scholarship portal that simplifies the process, notes Johanna Donovan, senior assistant director of the scholarships team. Pack ASSIST allows students to complete one general application to be considered for all awards for which they qualify. Applications for the 2022-2023 academic year received by Feb. 15 are given priority consideration.

Here are five tips to help guide you through the application process and maximize your scholarship potential.

1) Know what types of scholarships are available.

The various types of merit- and need-based scholarships NC State offers include college-based and employee-affiliated scholarships, some for rising freshmen and others for current students. Graduate student and miscellaneous funding is also available. Check the scholarships office website for details.

2) Fill out a complete application and ask for help.

Complete a general application in Pack ASSIST to apply for most NC State scholarships, and the university will match you with awards for which you qualify. Some departments have additional questions for awards specific to majors within that college.

Give yourself plenty of time to complete each step, make sure you meet all eligibility requirements, and follow directions carefully. You can update your application after you submit it. Also, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to maximize your scholarship and financial aid eligibility.

If you have questions about the general application, contact your scholarship counselor. For your college-specific application, contact your home department. 

3) Review important dates and meet deadlines.

If you complete the general application by Feb. 15, you receive first consideration when the scholarship selection process begins on Feb. 16. 

If you are a new student, you should apply when you are admitted to the university. However, if you miss the priority date, you can still be considered for scholarships.

4) Make your essay(s) distinctive.

Include information about yourself not provided elsewhere in the application. 

“Proofread your essays for spelling and grammar errors, make sure you answer the question or prompt as well as any optional essay questions that apply to you,” Donovan says. She adds that current students can turn to the Academic Success Center for writing assistance.

5) Apply and reapply.

Continue to apply for scholarships throughout your college career, even if you don’t receive one in your first year of eligibility. Also, reapply each year to be considered for any scholarships for which you become eligible, Donovan says, adding “there are dozens of new scholarships each year.” 

You must complete the general application each year for scholarship consideration. Pack ASSIST opens for returning students on Dec. 1 every year. New students can apply when they are admitted to the university.