College is Knocking at the Door

by Lana Nesmith
(Jacksonville, Florida USA)


KNOCK! KNOCK!

Finally! It’s finally time to shine. Every year is another year for students all over to decide whether or not they will grab the free money and run like the wind! During freshmen year, it may seem as if college is thousands of miles down the road. Then, junior and senior year arrive and college is knocking at the door. Opening the door is more expensive than ever which means it’s time to go out and get the scholarships and grants. Researching scholarships and grants, asking teachers and guidance counselors, and even looking on a carton on orange juice can get you headed on the right path to finally answering the knock at the door.


When I began searching for money for college, it seemed like kicking a dead horse. I thought that no matter how hard I looked, I would never find any money. But one day, my mom was telling me about our financial struggles and how I really needed to get scholarships and grants. From that day on, I was more determined than ever. I went to my guidance counselor and asked for a book of scholarships. This book helped me tremendously because of the numerous amount of sources. I took a seat on my bed and looked through every page so that I could mark all the scholarships that applied to me. This book was the beginning of an incredible journey through “scholarships and grants-land”.

One way of speeding up the process is to research scholarships and grants online. Yes, it is time consuming, but it is worth it to not have student debt and get into college for as close to free as possible. When searching online, there are all sorts of scholarships and grants for everybody. I found scholarships for left handed people, red heads, people of Italian decent, and many more. What makes you different could easily get you $50,000 to give you the education to change the world.

Never, underestimate who or what could give you a scholarship or grant. The delicious drink, Sunny D, has a scholarship out there for anyone who will take the time to apply for it. This is one of the many beverages that give out money for students. There are restaurants and soda companies that also have money up for grabs. The only way to find this money is to look and look until your eyes can see no more. Check out your favorite foods, drinks, and store websites, they might have a special surprise for you.

It is vital to not have to pay out of pocket for college. The best way to avoid the financial difficulties is to get scholarships and grants. Do as much research as possible and visit school staff for any information on getting free money. As a growing generation, we are in charge of improving the future. In order to do that, we must have the best education possible. College is knocking on the door. How prepared you are to answer is all in your hands.

Read more scholarship applications advice from other students and parents who have been through process.


Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Lana for some good advice on paying for college. Your school counseling office is a great resource. Check out our scholarship lists and deadlines for Scholarships for High School Seniors and Scholarships for College Students. Best of luck to you.


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Scholarship Tips and Quirky Tricks

by Connor Maynes
(Huntington, Vermont, United States of America)

If one is able, he should apply to any scholarships he comes across right away—even in one’s Junior year. The dreaded flop sweat terror was upon me when I first started looking at scholarships at the beginning of my senior year, because it seemed to me that there was so much to be done, so much work, so much time; I didn’t know where to begin. I ended up spending hours trying to discern how many scholarships most students apply to, how much money they got, and what scholarships were worth the time, and I found that the main focus of any student, unless he or she is some great work of brilliance, should be the micro-scholarships. I have applied, and will continue to apply to dozens of little—$500 to $5000—scholarships throughout my senior year. It’s unlikely that you’ll win one of those “lottery” scholarships of $50,000, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply, it just means these should not be the only scholarships you apply to.

The time when your applying to scholarships, as I have found thus far, will be one of the most stressful times of your life; however, if you work hard now it will mean much, much, less work down the line. To give you an idea of what you can expect, if you’re applying to the micro-scholarships, I would say, judging from the accounts of the seniors in my school last year, that for every two to three dozen scholarships you apply to, you can expect to win about two to four of those. I’m sure the aforesaid information is a little daunting, but the key thing to remember is that in those two to four scholarships, you have won about $5000 to $15000; if you’re a writer and you have just been paid $3000 for one of your essays, you should be feeling pretty good about yourself. All of the essays that go into the micro-scholarships usually aren’t as much work as you would expect, as you can oftentimes rework old essays to fit other scholarships.

In your essays, you should follow several key pieces of advice: use humor as often as possible, as it really catches people’s attention and makes a piece of writing memorable; always end on a positive note; always take the time to proofread your essays; always hit the limit of “X words or less” exactly at X, and if this isn’t possible just don’t go above. Another snippet of advice is that you should really focus on all of your regional and local scholarships, because there will be very little competition for these. Another useful little fact, is that when you’re searching around, you should also look for regular writing contests, since these often offer cash prizes that you can use for college or just for yourself. Finally, after you have searched through all of the scholarship website (scholarhips.com, scholarshipexperts.com, zinch.com, and fastweb.com) do your own search, and see what you come up with, since these scholarships may not be very popular and thus your likelihood of winning is considerably higher.

Overall, the one thing to remember when applying is that you need to apply—a lot; by a lot, I mean that to be well-off you should think about applying to about 100 scholarships. Most students apply on average to about 30, at least that is what I have witnessed, so 100 should put you clavicles and tarsals above the rest; therefore, if you start at the beginning of September of your senior year, and assuming there are scholarships available until the about May 31st, then you need only apply to about twelve scholarships per month to reach 100.

Good luck, happy hunting, and here’s hoping every other student your up against isn’t as smart as you for reading this essay!

Read more ideas and opportunities for Scholarships and Grants from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Connor for sharing your Scholarship Tips and Quirky Tricks with others. Best of luck to you.


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Scholarship Essay Contest: College Grant Scholarships

by Jenniah Yang Fredericks
(Eden Prairie, MN, 55344)

University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota

Graduating high school is exhilarating knowing that you can do whatever you want to. It’s exciting knowing that you have your whole life ahead of you and that you are going to college in the fall. This may be the most crucial time for relieving future stress off of your back. Knowing that the school that you are going to go to is going to be expensive, whether it be community college or a big ten university, you have the chance to obtain free money for college as a graduating high school senior. You have the opportunity to go to college at a low cost!

Most people do not apply for scholarships or grants because it takes a lot of time, you think that you won’t get the scholarship due to the hundreds of people applying, or it can be pure procrastination. Above all, some scholarships take only five minutes, for some, only two people maybe have only applied, and the truth is that if you don’t take your chances now it is going to be harder as you end college with loans dragging you down.

To start, you want to search for as many scholarships as you can and put them in a excel spreadsheet so that is all organized and all in one place. Label the headlines for each scholarship that you find and qualify for under the names: Scholarship Name, Deadline, Amount, and Renewable. Once you have that, you want to print it along with all the scholarships that you found. Organize it by the due date and put it into a scholarship binder so all of it is exactly in one place. Add a list of all the items that scholarships might ask for in addition to an essay or application form. For example, have your current transcript, two letters of recommendation, acceptance letter to the school that you would be attending, FAFSA forms, and a photo of yourself. These are just some examples of what some scholarships want you to include with your application.

Once that is all set, make sure to set a time out of your daily schedule and simply apply for each scholarship. If you think about it, if you spend one hour on one scholarship and win $1,000 for it versus working for 3-4 months for $1,000-you would be saving yourself time and money. So why not start now? Save yourself money and simply apply. You have nothing to lose. Sometimes you can achieve more than you think you can.

Read more Scholarship Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Jenniah for sharing your positive attitude and tips for organizing your scholarship search. Good luck to you.


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