It takes a lot to study in the US. In fact, for many international students even after they spend years studying in school, long hours preparing for entrance exams after school, and carefully preparing applications between semesters, they discover another, more difficult task: paying for it all.

Because the cost of tuition at many US colleges and universities in contingent on residency, international students by their very nature pay costly out-of-state tuition and international student fees. Though it can be expensive, the good news is that a number of resources exist to help you fund your education abroad. In addition to personal savings, for example, international student loans and scholarships are also available. Unfortunately, while international student loans are easily accessible to all (if they have a cosigner with good credit!), international scholarships can be highly competitive. After all, students are competing with peers who are just as driven as they are! Fortunately, however, there a few factors that can help you stand out from the pack and improve your chances of receiving assistance:

1) Apply! It may sound silly but because international students are not eligible for some scholarships many assume that they are not eligible for any. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many options exist and dedicated resources like IEFA and InternationalScholarships exist to help you.

2) Write (Well)! Since an essay or other written submission is often the only time the award committee will hear your perspective, it is important to make it as compelling as possible. Concentrate not just on the mechanics but also on the style. Reading the submissions of past winners can give you a good feel for what the judges are looking for.

3) Stand Out! Not all scholarships are need-based – some are merit-based. You should examine your skill set and look for examples of how you shine. By so doing you can determine if there are scholarships available to reward them for what you are already doing – or inspire you to start doing more!