Scholarship Applications

Have you applied to various scholarship programs, but just don’t seem to be lucky enough to win? You are not alone. The majority of students apply to handful of scholarships and then give up. Although you may not win every scholarship on your list, we’ll give you some helpful advice on how to spot a scholarship scam, tips for writing a winning essay, and how to put together a smart scholarship strategy that will move your applications from the trash can to the winner’s pile. Just remember one thing — you can’t win if you don’t apply!

Where to Find Scholarships

Where Have All the Scholarships Gone?

If you believe half of the students on Twitter and Facebook, there seems to be a shortage of scholarships these days. Routinely, I get tweets from discouraged kids and adults who swear they’ve looked everywhere for them, but can’t seem to find any. I’m not sure if they are waiting for the ‘Scholarship Genie’ to magically drop free money into their laps or they think people will simply call them up and offer them an award, but there are definitely scholarships waiting to be won. It doesn’t take a genius to locate them either; just a general understanding of where to start and a little effort is all that is needed. So, where have all the scholarships gone? Follow me and I’ll tell you where to find them.

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Scholarship Essay Flaws

3 Fatal Flaws That Will Ruin Your Scholarship Essay

I have had the privilege to sit on several scholarship committees over the years, but lately it seems as though fewer students are actually reading the guidelines before they submit their applications. I don’t know if they believe that the winners are chosen at random or that no one is actually reading the essays, but after reviewing a recent stack of submissions, I’ve come to the conclusion that many students are simply too lazy to follow directions. Just like most things in life, scholarships come with rules. I know most students abhor them, but scholarship providers don’t simply give away money because students ask nicely for it; providers want to know that the investment they are making is a good one and that’s where scholarship guidelines play a part. If students are unwilling to spend the time needed to review the rules and submit a quality essay, they probably won’t be willing to go above and beyond in college, either. Although that may not be the case for all students, it’s the rationale used by many providers to weed out possible contenders. In general, three fatal flaws that continue to keep most students from reaching the coveted finalists pool.

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Scholarship Red Flags

Beware of These Scholarship Red Flags

It seems every day a new scholarship opportunity pops up on the Internet or makes the rounds on social media. Although many of these programs are legitimate, there are some that merely use the lure of free college money to collect information and sell it to others. These programs typically offer students the chance to win money for doing very little or no work at all. Unfortunately, these types of ‘lead generator’ programs are very attractive to students who are tired of writing essays or filling out long application forms. I know that it can be frustrating, but most people won’t give away thousands of dollars without knowing if the applicants will be willing to put in a little effort. Scholarship providers use essays, personal statements and application questions to find students who are likely to put the provider’s money to good use. If students are too lazy to write a 250 word essay, or complete a 2-page application, chances are they may become slackers in college, too. Besides the no work equals big reward ploy, here are some other red flags students should be aware of when researching scholarships.

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Scholarship Tips for Parents

A Parent’s Guide for Helping Students Win Scholarships

Are you expecting your child to use scholarships to help fund her education? If so, you need to take an active role in your child’s scholarship strategy and help her create a solid plan. Before you begin, however, it’s important that you set realistic expectations. Very few students receive enough scholarships to cover all of their expenses, so be sure you have a plan that includes other funding, such as savings accounts, 529 plans and income from other sources. The most important thing is to start early; waiting until senior year puts your child at a disadvantage and may reduce her college options. I suggest implementing a plan in the fall of your child’s freshman year of high school, as this will help her develop good habits over time and increase her chances of winning. Here are a few suggestions for helping your child create an effective scholarship plan.

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Common Scholarship Myths

5 Scholarship Facts You Won’t Believe

Each year, a new crop of scholarship hunters venture into the world of college financial aid seeking their fortunes. Some are well-armed and have formulated a plan to navigate the scholarship jungle safely; they have reasonable expectations and understand that it will take a great deal of work if they want to succeed. Others, however, are not so savvy. They have devoured every piece of advice found online and may even believe a good portion of the scholarship myths that still litter the Internet. These ‘newbies’ are usually the ones who can be found on forums early each spring complaining about how they are not eligible for scholarships, either because of their skin color, grades or their parent’s income. Don’t get me wrong, I do feel for these misguided students, but they really should get their facts straight before launching into a tirade on Twitter or Facebook. Here are five of the most common complaints or misguided comments I have seen recently, and the facts that dispel each of them.

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