Negotiation Experts on Scholarships: This Is How You Win


Negotiation skills training is invaluable for anyone looking to win a scholarship. The process can be overwhelming and exhausting, and missteps can be heartbreaking. Here are four winning strategies to boost your chances of locking in a great award.

Be the “early bird”

Ever heard the expression – “the early bird catches the worm?” While overplayed, this adage holds for scholarship applications. The sooner you get a jump on the process, the better.

In rushing to beat the deadline, you could miss key information or make mistakes. In addition, it’s harder to stand out when the selection committee is tired of sifting through high volumes of applications. Starting early also gives you ample time to apply to multiple sources, increasing your chances of success.

So how early should you start? Experts suggest kicking off the process six months before the application deadline. This gives you ample time to find the best scholarships and craft an impressive application.

Take the road less traveled

According to U.S. News data, the average cost of tuition and fees has risen by 134% since 2002. As a result, there’s a steep demand for scholarships to help offset the cost. Chasing after the same opportunities as everyone else can thin your chances.

So, negotiation skill trainers suggest checking out lesser-known sources. For example, local businesses, unions, religious organizations, or civic groups. Research organizations and private foundations are also great resources to investigate.

If you have unique skill sets, like playing a musical instrument or speaking a rare language, consider leveraging those talents to win scholarships.

Craft a compelling story

Scholarship committees often review hundreds if not thousands of applications. You want to make sure yours stands out. One way to do that is to craft an attention-grabbing personal statement.

Here are some storytelling skills from negotiating training courses that can help you hit all the right notes.

  • Highlight any relevant obstacles or challenges you’ve faced and how you overcame them.
  • Explain not only why this scholarship would benefit you but also how your benefactors would draw value from awarding it to you.
  • Outline the values, experiences, and knowledge you bring to the table that make you a strong candidate.
  • Tailor your story to each scholarship you are applying for.

Go the extra mile

Remember how extra credit assignments paid off big time in school? Well, the same goes for scholarships. So, jump at the chance to complete any optional requirements.

For example, a funder could ask for a video submission or supplementary portfolio, or multiple references. Going the extra mile shows your commitment to winning the award and could give you the edge.

Do your homework

The timely use of information can sway a selection committee your way. So, before negotiating, dig up as much information as possible.

Start by learning about the funder’s mission, values, and priorities. Leverage this knowledge to craft a request that resonates with them. Also, talk to past winners to get an idea of what’s negotiable. You can also take time to speak to those who didn’t make it to get some pointers.

Practice how to negotiate

Confidence is key during any negotiation. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, trying to make others believe in you will be an uphill battle. Confidence is a skill you can strengthen with practice.

To boost your confidence and make a compelling case:

  • Practice communicating your points in a clear, concise manner.
  • Anticipate potential questions or objections that could come up.
  • Think of possible concessions or trade-offs you might be willing to make.

With these negotiation skills in your pocket, you can make a powerful case for why you’re worth investing in. Training yourself to use them the next time you apply for scholarships can yield amazing results.