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!

Recommendation Letters

How to Secure a Great Scholarship Recommendation Letter

If you are beginning your scholarship search, you have no doubt come across programs that require an application, a copy of your transcript, and one or more essays. These are common items for most scholarship programs, but many of the larger, more prestigious awards also require another document – the scholarship recommendation letter. Although similar to college admission recommendation letters, this additional component of your scholarship application can often play a vital part in moving your name from the rejection pile to the contenders’ list. With thousands of dollars often on the line, it’s not something that should be handled lightly; it takes some thought and a little planning to ensure you receive a recommendation that will stand out among the other applicants. If you want to secure a winning scholarship recommendation letter, consider the following tips.

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Who, What and Why

The Five W’s of College Scholarships

Most students and parents know that scholarships are an important part of the college financial aid process, but few may really understand how they differ from other types of aid. Unlike grants, loans and work-study programs, scholarships can sometimes be a bit more complex and elusive. Students cannot simply complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and expect scholarship money to appear magically; it takes a bit more work and creativity to win those coveted awards. Just as every good journalism student knows to include the “who, what, when, where and why” in every article, so too should every college student understand the five W’s of scholarships. In this article, I’ll break down each “W” and give students the keys to finding and winning scholarships!

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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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