Winning The College Scholarship Battle

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If you’re planning to head off to college next fall or continue with your education, funding may loom as a huge issue for you.

Surging Costs

Piggy BankEarlier this week we took note of the swelling number of schools charging $50,000 per year or more for college, room and board; expenses which are rising at twice the rate of inflation. Short of government intervention there won’t be any caps on college costs anytime soon which means that many students will have to look for help beyond limited family budgets in order to pay for their schooling.

Billions of dollars in college scholarship money is available to students, but you can’t get that money unless you apply. Foundations, civic organizations, businesses, even private individuals contribute to the scholarship pot, people who want to make a difference in the lives of young men and women.

The Battle

In some ways securing college scholarships is a battle. Not so much because they can be difficult to obtain, but that students must outline a strategy to help them in their quest. It takes discipline, hard work, skill and the help of others to apply for college scholarships, but the rewards can be immense: in some cases you may be able to obtain a “full freight” award which will pay for your entire schooling over the following four years.

To help you in your battle, we offer the following tips to give you a chance to win:

Search – Besides our own database of scholarships, you should check around to see who is offering what when it comes to financial assistance. Plenty of local groups get in on the action, civic organizations who don’t necessarily publish this information for the world to find. Your church, parent’s union local, and woman’s club chapter are good places to consider. Understand the lay of the land to help your cause which means checking scholarship requirements and making sure you meet and exceed what the sponsor wants from its applicants.

Deadlines – Once you identify possible scholarships and confirm you meet their eligibility guidelines, then you need to be aware of deadlines and plan accordingly. If there are multiple scholarships you want to consider, then create a spreadsheet with that information to track deadlines and related matters. If you miss a deadline, don’t bother to send in your application – it will be rejected on the spot.

Grades – Applying for college scholarships takes time and can affect everything else that you do. Such as studying, writing papers, participating in important extracurricular activities, and more. One consideration for many of the applications you will be filling out are your grades. Don’t let your studies or related activities fall to the wayside; plan wisely and ask your parents and others for help.

Apply – Take your time filling out each scholarship application taking note of whatever requirements are listed. The application form, essay, references and related material must be included when submitting your application, with incomplete, poorly written or otherwise less than stellar submissions rejected. Check your spelling, grammar, and sentence structure; consider having someone proofread your work.

Cautions – Be watchful for scholarship mill sites which promise you the world but deliver to you headaches. There should be clear instructions to help you find the name of the person who will receive your application as well as address and related contact information. Never pay a fee for scholarship while considering NOT giving your personal information to a site offering a sweepstakes or some other come on to get you to enroll. Also, ask your guidance counselor about scholarships or, if already enrolled in college, check with your school’s financial aid department about scholarships offered for students.

Get Started

Now that you know what it takes to do battle, then step up to the plate and apply. College costs have pushed through the stratosphere, so do your part to reduce your expenses by coming up with a workable strategy.

Adv. — As mentioned, collect all the information you can about college scholarships well before application deadline. SayCampusLife offers helpful tips and information about scholarship essay writing to help you succeed.

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Categories: Scholarships