The Necessary Investment for A Better Future

by Denicia Alves
(Sacramento, California, USA)

Choosing to go to college and further your education is necessary in today's society, but you must understand that when you go to college it is an investment into your future. This is because college is not free, either you are paying for it or you have been lucky enough to have found some sponsors.

If you are a student in high school you need to be applying to at least two scholarships a week to increase your chances of being awarded and decrease the money you would have to take out in loans. There are a lot of scholarships out there that you can find on web sites and in general all you have to do is write an essay.

You should also make sure that you fill out your FAFSA as soon as you can because that money is first come first serve (you have a higher chance of getting more money if you complete your FAFSA early).

If you make the choice to go to college it is important that you take your first year just as any other year seriously. While you are in college it is vital for you to master the skill of time management because it can be the death of you if you don't. You will either learn this skill the easy way or unfortunately the hard way because balancing your social life and school life can
be difficult at first.

While you are in college it is also vital that you keep yourself motivated and remind yourself why you are in college, so that you are less distracted and you are more focused on your grades and your future career. If you are in college and you don’t have a full ride scholarship you should still be applying to scholarships because there is still free money out there for you to be rewarded with that will help your financial situation.

It is also important that if you receive a refund check you do not go crazy and blow the money because it should only be used towards your education plus if you are in debt you can start making payments towards your debt.

My most important advice of all is for you to always try your hardest and if are struggling with a class don't be afraid to seek help from your schools student help services or your instructor.

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Denicia offers some very good college financial aid advice. Complete your FAFSA early, keep applying to scholarships and stay focused in college. Check out some of our pages on scholarships and grants for free money for college. Good luck with this investment in your future.

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Do What You Love

by Janice Pang
(Davis, CA, USA)

Are you tired of writing “personal” scholarship essays that are anything but? Has the lack of scholarships tailored to your interests – to you! – gotten you down?

Well fear no more!

I have a simple, and surprisingly practical, piece of advice: Do what you love.

The key to obtaining scholarships is not necessarily to apply to every single one you can (although this doesn't hurt your chances), but to narrow down the ones that address subjects in which you are truly interested. It's simply a matter of looking!

More often than not, scholarships tailored to your interests are listed elsewhere other than the major scholarship-finding sites. For example, I obtained $400 to fund my Design schooling by presenting my t-shirt design at a local music festival. No matter what you are into, you can be certain that people before you have shared your interests and are now willing to give scholarships out to people like you – people who are passionate about what they do.

So, what is YOUR passion? Is it chemistry? Soccer? Painting? If it is, then show it! But note that the focus should NOT be on the subject, but on what the subject reveals about YOU.

Show your love of discovery through each novel hypothesis and careful calculation. Show your competitive side through detailed descriptions of the adrenaline rushing through your veins before a soccer game. Show your creativity through a mixture of wild blotches and fine brush strokes.

Do what you love and you cannot fail.

Allow me to explain: Of course, you can't win them all. You have to understand that there are others who share the same passions as you, who have the same goals. You will win some and you will probably lose more. I had submitted eight other designs to eight other scholarships before I had won the $400. Had I lost hope after my first rejected design, I would have gotten nowhere. But you cannot give up; as long as you keep doing what you love, and you truly care about your subject, it will show through your work and it will be recognized.

Read more College Financial Aid Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Janice for reminding students to do what you love. There are many smaller scholarships available that are local and very specific. If you dig around organizations with common interests to you, you will find them. Best of luck to you.

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You have been awarded the

by Lauren Peterson
(West Bridgewater, MA, USA)

You fill out the FAFSA and you receive your SAR back. How can they say our Expected Family Contribution is this! We don't have that much money. I will be filling out Student Loan Applications for the next four years.

We are a middle class family with a mortgage, car payments and everyday bills. We will not feel defeated when it comes to college financing.

Finding Scholarships

Plug in anything when searching for scholarships. They are out there. If I don't continuously look I will be paying for college for the rest of my life. Visit your guidance counselor on a weekly basis. Go to other schools websites. You will be amazed at the information you can find.

Visit retailers, financial institutions, clubs. So many organizations and businesses offer scholarships. Yes you may not meet all the criteria for some but there are many of them out there that don't scrutinize the middle class.

Always remember to complete the application and double check their requirements before you seal the envelope. This is so important because if by chance you miss one thing or don't sign where it needs to be signed you will be disqualified.

Finding scholarships that a middle class family can receive is possible. The challenge is to search every engine possible and send them out. I've been searching since December to see what is out there. Make a file for everything you've applied for and have a calendar so you can mark the dates when the winner is announced.

It's like winning the lottery when you get a congratulatory letter. Stay positive!

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Finding scholarships for the middle class is very doable, as Lauren describes. There are many merit based scholarships and corporate scholarships that do not have big financial need requirements. Check out some of our scholarship pages too. Good luck.

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