How to Leverage Social Media When Searching for a Scholarship

Social media has truly taken the versatility of the internet to the next level. While the media moguls may not like it, more and more of the population now use Twitter as their go to news destination, sounding the death knell of the traditional press. Facebook is one of the primary ways brands interact with potential new customers, and users share their favorite discoveries on Pinterest. LinkedIn is a more powerful job hunting tool than the want ads, since you can target connections you already have within companies you’d like to approach. Even the fine arts have become socialized, as photographers, painters and sculptors post their latest creations on Tumblr and Instagram. The sky is truly the limit, and if you’re looking for a scholarship to college you can do much worse than starting with the top social networks. Here are a couple of tips to help you leverage social media when searching for a scholarship.

First of all, make sure you are approaching your interactions in a targeted manner. Remember, everything you post on the social networks tells people something about you. And the decision-makers on the scholarship board can and do access these sites. So outside of just blindly sharing anything about your life here, what do you want to say about yourself? Be smart about the pictures you post and the words you choose to use. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t want your parents to see it, don’t post it. Privacy is a huge issue on the social networks, but it isn’t easy to control. You need to be perceived as an asset to a university or a scholarship program. So be creative and open, but think twice about posting anything that makes you look bad.

Social media is a fantastic way to get involved with issues you are passionate about, and scholarship boards want to see that. Some scholarships are entirely based on school performance, while others look for young adults who will eventually become world leaders campaigning for change. Every day there are large scale discussions happening on any important subject you could think of, from politics to the economy to climate change. A significant percentage of scholarship boards use the web to research their candidates, so any activity within a related community will reflect well on you. Join the conversation, share quality stories and tweets by others and make your voice heard.

Outside of using social media to portray yourself in the best light, you can also use it to uncover opportunities you might not have found any other way. There are many current scholarship and grant programs that promote their deadlines and requirements on Twitter and Facebook. Hunt around on your social networks of choice and ‘fan’ or ‘follow’ everything that’s applicable to your needs. Some available opportunities actually run their entire program through Twitter, using those 140-character Tweets as their submissions. Some of these offer as much as several thousand dollars to the winner. So whether you’re hunting for a full ride to Harvard or simply that last bit of financial aid to help you afford your last semester at Marylhurst University, you might find your social networks to be an even greater resource than you ever expected.

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