A student’s guide to scholarships

He spent night after night hunched over his keyboard, searching into the wee hours of
the morning for any sign he was on the right track. He knew his only chance of ever getting
through college would be to earn a scholarship. There was no way his parents could afford to
pay for everything. It was the middle of his senior year and he still didn’t have a plan. He didn’t
know where to start.
There are many different types of scholarships, so it helps to be familiar with the time,
ranges, amounts and places to find them. Thousands of them are offered by schools,
employers, individuals, private companies, nonprofits, communities, religious groups,  and
professional and social organizations.
“Local scholarships come from the education foundation, banks, businesses,  civic
organizations, and individuals who want to make a difference in a student’s life,” senior
counselor David Ramsey said. “All of them are different, and you need to make sure you meet
the qualifications of the specific scholarship.”
Local TIPS for Getting a Scholarship–

Starting your freshman year, make every effort to keep your grades as high as possible.

Take as many upper-level courses as you can.

Start your volunteer work early.  Many scholarships require a volunteer element.

In the fall of one’s senior year, it is best to pick out colleges that most interest you as soon as

you start classes.

Sign up to take the SAT/ACT again, and buy a guide or go to a testprep
course before the test date.

Tips from FastWeb.com and nationally recognized financial aid and scholarship expert, Mark Kantrowitz:

1. Start searching for scholarships as soon as possible. Don’t wait until spring of your senior year in high school to start searching, or you’ll miss half the deadlines. There are many scholarships available to students in grades 9, 10 and 11, not just high school seniors. There are even scholarships for students in grades K-8. Continue searching for scholarships even after you are enrolled in college.

2. Answer all of the optional questions on a scholarship matching web site for about twice as many matches.

3. Use a free scholarship matching service like Fastweb.com. The Fastweb database is updated daily, and the site will email you notifications of new scholarships that match your personal background profile.

4. Look for local scholarships on bulletin boards near the guidance counselor of financial aid offices, or the library’s jobs and careers section.

5. Apply to every scholarship for which you are eligible. Pursue less competitive scholarships, such as small awards and essay contests, since they are easier to win and the money adds up and helps you win bigger scholarships.

6. Don’t miss deadlines. Use a calendar and checklist to get organized.

7. Tailor your application to the sponsor’s goals. Read and follow the instructions carefully.

8. If you have difficulty writing essays, try recording yourself as you answer the question out loud, and transcribe the recording later. Most people can think and speak faster than they can write or type. Create an outline afterward to organize your thoughts.

9. Personalize your essay and be passionate. Write about something of interest to you. Make your application stand out from the crowd. Talk about your impact on other people. Give examples and be specific.

10. Google your name and make sure you have a professional online profile. Use a professional email address, such as firstname.lastname@gmail.com. Clean up the content of your Facebook account, removing inappropriate and immature material.

11. Proofread a printed copy of your essay and the application for spelling and grammar errors.

12. Make a photocopy of your application before mailing it. Send the application by certified mail, return receipt requested or with delivery confirmation.

Above list of twelve tips and more can be found at http://www.fastweb.com/college-scholarships/articles/the-12-tips-on-winning-a-scholarship