I won more than $12,000 in scholarships this year, all from local sources. The way to get scholarships is to look for local scholarships that require essays and letters of recommendation. Often, due to the limited area and the barriers to applying, you will find that you are the only qualified person who applied!
When writing an essay, carefully read what the organization is looking for. You will not be able to say everything about your life, so focus on what will appeal to the judging panel. I have found that anything that shows hard work, such as completing a triathlon or working at a job for several years and saving the money, will show that you have the potential to be successful. Also show that you are passionate about what you want to study. The judges want to know that you have the passion and the work ethic to succeed in college. Clearly state how you will make the world better with your education.
Don’t be afraid to apply for scholarships that you don’t think you’ll win. As long as you meet the bare minimum requirements, it is worth a shot. If there is an interview, be prepared to say what your other interests are, and how you got interested in this field of study. Also be prepared for the dreadfully open-ended “Tell me about yourself”.
Good luck with your scholarship search and your college experience.