By: Priyanka Surio

Knowing when something is an old find. The first thing you need to discover is whether you are eligible for whatever scholarship or fellowship you are applying for. Some scholarships have expiration dates, are school year specific, or have certain stipulations, like being left handed. Make sure to read and re-read the fine print before delving into the dirt. Don’t assume every fellowship or scholarship award is yearly. Funding differs from year to year. Just because your older brother applied for it, doesn’t mean it will still be there waiting for you to find. You also have to start on your dig early and follow up with whatever contact is provided prior to starting or else you will find you’ve dug a hole with nothing but dust on the other end.

What’s fake and what’s real? To determine whether the artifact you are holding is real or a copy can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. They will all look enticing and legitimate but here are a few things to keep in mind: Most scholarships don’t make you pay a fee. The year, make, and model says it all. If this is a newer scholarship or fellowship opportunity, those are more likely to be a convincing copy. If you see a flyer or advertisement and visit the web-page and it doesn’t exist, then you may not want to pursue that option any further. If the phone number does not exist, then the scholarship probably doesn’t either. If they ask for too much information and are not a governmental organization don’t fall for their scams!

Be patient, it takes a while to uncover gold. Applying for any form of stipend takes time because essentially you are getting free money and have to prove that you are a treasure to keep. Here’s a list of common tools you will need to unearth that prize winning relic.
1. An updated and thoroughly reviewed resume.
2. If there is an application or essay required make sure you have several peers and advisers look at your final product. It is important to have peers look at your application to make sure it sounds like your “voice”. It is important to have advisers look at your application for professionalism and to refine any rough edges.
3. If recommendation letters are needed, ask potential recommenders if they are able to write you a strong letter of recommendation by the deadline. Usually allow 1-2 months for preparation of a letter. Do not ask a year in advance as your recommender is most likely to forget. Furthermore, you want to make sure that they know you in the most positive light so you can receive that five star rating.
4. Order transcripts or other forms of verification 1-2 months in advance.
5. Plan at least several months in advance for any large scholarship or fellowship that requires documents as part of the application.
6. Plan at least a month in advance for smaller scale scholarships and contests.

Be the first to know! Stay abreast of all the new sites and treasures out there by signing up for their respective email notifications and newsletters. For example, Fastweb.com sends you emails based on new scholarships, internships, or fellowships that you qualify for, or that might be of interest to you once they become publicized and posted. They also send you reminders on any scholarships that have deadlines within two weeks. Talk about convenience, all from the comfort of your personal laptop. This way you can strategically plan which scholarships you wish to apply for from your seemingly endless choices.

Sometimes it’s right beneath your nose! Wouldn’t life be easier if there was someone there to tell us when and where we might find a great artifact? Look no more! Many universities have an Prestigious Awards Office on campus. Within these offices are advisers destined to help you on your search, application process, and more. Get plugged into your office or department on campus today to learn about all the scholarships you didn’t know you qualified for. These departments are also handy in making sure you have all the necessary tools before you begin your excavation. They will help you put together an application package, ensure you have any letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc. assembled before sending you on your way. And the best part is, you can use them over and over again and they won’t mind! UM’s Prestigious Awards Office wants young anthropologists like you to succeed.

Snoop like a detective at a crime scene. The greatest treasures are found in the most obvious places, but as busy students we so often pass up all these opportunities. Where do you look? Anywhere on campus. Those flyers you see hanging up in breezeways, near classrooms, on your desk, they all contain a window of opportunity waiting for you to decipher from their messages. When was the last time you read the news? This morning, last week , last month? There are opportunities for scholarships and fellowships posted all the time in the news, it is part of that respective organization’s ad campaign and as subtle as it might seem you would be surprised how many people notice. For example, there was an essay contest on campus last week with flyers hanging by all the Dooley Memorial classrooms. I noticed the janitor taking them down and discarding them several yards away, as they do with all flyers that are posted around these areas, so I quickly took one to look at later. If I didn’t seize the moment I might have never gotten the shot at winning money for doing something I do often; write!

Here are some clues to aid you in your search:
The Woodson Williams Marshall Application
Woodrow Wilson and Pickering Graduate/Undergraduate Fellowships
Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship
E-learners is a great website for info on College Scholarships and Grants Education Connection – great web-page for scholarship searches based on education and interest
Fastweb – the ultimate scholarship portal
Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program
Fulbright Fellowship http://fulbright.state.gov/
Scholarship Points – drawings for scholarship money

Good luck and happy digging!