The Hunt for Scholarships: Supplementing Your Education through Scholarships

By Inland Empire Success | June 15, 2024

Hey there college-bound go-getter, your path to success begins now!

You’re on the brink of graduating high school, a significant milestone worthy of celebration. So now, as you’re preparing to embark on your college journey, securing financial resources is crucial, especially for first-generation students in the Inland Empire. 

Scholarships can make a big difference in achieving your academic and career goals. Let’s explore how you can finance your education through scholarships in the Inland Empire.

Step #1: Research Local Opportunities

The Inland Empire and greater Los Angeles area are rich with local scholarship opportunities. Begin by exploring scholarships offered by local organizations, community foundations, and businesses.

  • Check with your high school guidance counselor for a list of regional scholarships and deadlines.
  • Visit local libraries to utilize their scholarship directories and resources.
  • Explore resources like Growing Inland Achievement and the Inland Empire Future Leaders Program for lists of local scholarship opportunities.

Step #2: Take Advantage of Your School’s Resources

Many colleges and universities in the region offer exclusive scholarships for incoming students.

  • Visit the financial aid pages of the schools you’re thinking about attending to see what programs they offer.
  • Contact financial aid offices to inquire about scholarship opportunities and application processes.
  • Attend college fairs and information sessions to learn more about available scholarships and financial aid options.

Step #3: Leverage Online Platforms

In addition to local resources, use online platforms to find national scholarships that you may qualify for.

  • Create profiles on platforms like Fastweb,, and the California Student Aid Commission to receive personalized scholarship recommendations.
  • Regularly check these platforms for new scholarship listings and updates.
  • Set up email alerts to stay informed about approaching deadlines and new opportunities.

Step #4: Stay Organized

Applying for multiple scholarships can be overwhelming, so staying organized is essential.

  • Create a spreadsheet to track application deadlines, required documents, and submission statuses. Here’s a handy example.
  • Use calendar reminders to ensure you don’t miss important dates.
  • Keep a folder with copies of all your application materials for easy reference.

Step #5: Craft a Compelling Personal Statement

Your personal statement is your opportunity to stand out. Write a compelling essay that highlights your achievements, goals, and why you deserve the scholarship.

  • Be authentic and share your story, including what motivates you, the challenges you’ve overcome, and your aspirations.
  • Tailor each personal statement to the specific scholarship you’re applying for to make a strong impression.
  • Proofread your essays for clarity, grammar, and spelling errors to ensure they are polished and professional.

Step #6: Gather Strong Recommendations

Strong letters of recommendation can make your application shine.

  • Reach out to teachers, mentors, or community leaders who know you well and can speak to your strengths and accomplishments.
  • Provide recommenders with ample time to write the letter and give them specific points you’d like them to address.
  • Follow up with a thank-you note to express your gratitude for their support.

Step #7: Apply Widely

Don’t limit yourself to a few scholarships. Apply to as many as you qualify for to increase your chances of receiving funding.

  • Look for scholarships at the local, state, and national levels to maximize your opportunities.
  • Don’t overlook smaller, less-known awards, which often have fewer applicants and higher chances of winning.
  • Dedicate regular time each week to search and apply for scholarships to maintain momentum.

Step #8: Follow Up

After submitting your applications, follow up to ensure all materials were received and to express your continued interest.

  • Send a polite follow-up email to confirm receipt of your application and materials.
  • Express your continued interest in the scholarship and gratitude for the opportunity to apply.
  • Inquire about the timeline for selection and any next steps.

Step #9: Keep Trying

Rejections are part of the process but don’t get discouraged. Keep applying and refining your applications.

  • Learn from each rejection and use feedback to improve future applications.
  • Celebrate small wins, such as positive responses or progression in the selection process.
  • Stay persistent and motivated, knowing that each application is an opportunity to learn and grow.

Celebrate Your Efforts and Stay Focused

Securing a scholarship can significantly reduce the financial burden of college and help you focus on your studies. By following these steps, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the scholarship landscape in the Inland Empire and greater Los Angeles area.

Remember, you have a strong support system—your family, your high school, and your network. Celebrate your efforts, stay proactive, and believe in your potential. The journey may be challenging, but the rewards are well worth it. Go out there and make your family proud as you pursue your dreams! We’re here to help you on your path to success.