Tip #1: Get involved in something you are passionate about Every school counselor we interviewed had this piece of advice: “Be yourself.” Do not think of this process as trying to fit into some “scholarship winner’s” mold. Pursue activities that you enjoy doing and participate in organizations that you are passionate about. You are much more likely to stick with an activity if you enjoy doing it. There are thousands of organizations out there, looking to give money to high-achieving students, whatever the activity may be. Not every scholarship requires that you participate in a sport, that you be on the school newspaper, or that you play an instrument. Being the National Yo-Yo Champion will likely impress many scholarship committees.
Tip #2: Quality Over Quantity Pick a handful of activities and do them well. Most scholarship committees are not interested in seeing that you participated in dozens of activities for 5 minutes each, but would rather know that you dedicated considerable chunks of time to a few activities. Scholarship committees want candidates who have made significant progress towards a goal or who have achieved something meaningful. By really immersing yourself in an activity, you demonstrate that you are a committed and responsible person.
Tip #3: Don’t Just Participate, LEAD! Scholarship committees want people with initiative. They want students who will squeeze all they can out of the opportunity that a college education offers. Therefore, once you’ve selected the activities in which you are interested, it is important to display as much leadership and initiative as possible. Don’t just join the environmental club, start a recycling program. If you are in the Spanish club, run for treasurer. CollegeToolkit.com is your one-stop scholarship and college admissions resource!
Tip #4: Make Yourself Known Don’t be a stranger to teachers and school counselors. They can be great sources of information on college, scholarships, and other opportunities in your school and your community. Also, lots of scholarships require letters of recommendation. If you have built a strong relationship with a handful of teachers and counselors, they are better equipped to write effective recommendations. This could just be the difference between being a finalist and winning a scholarship.
Tip #5: Keep Track of Your Accomplishments Don’t just throw away your “A” papers or your 1st Place ribbons. Start a file where you can save all these important documents and awards. They will come in handy down the line when you are preparing your scholarship and college applications. An outstanding English paper could give you a great idea for a scholarship essay. A collection of your Speech Team ribbons could help you as you create a list of all of your high school achievements.
Tip #6: Be Confident Don’t sell yourself short. Most students have a story to tell about their high school accomplishments. The easiest way to be eliminated is by not applying at all.
CollegeToolkit.com talked with school counselors to help unravel the mystery of winning a scholarship. While there may be no “magic formula,” we did uncover some useful advice formaking yourself a great scholarship (and college) candidate.
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CollegeToolkit.com is a one-stop scholarship and college resource. We allow students to find and apply for scholarships, search through a database of more than 4,000 colleges, and explore 900 careers all in one location. It is one of the most comprehensive sites for life after high school… and everything on the site is free for students to use!
Use the Internet to Find Scholarships
— Article Courtesy of Scholarship Experts
Okay, so you are ready to tackle the daunting task of finding scholarships to pay for college. And you want to use the Internet to expedite your search process. But there are so many scholarship services out there: which ones should you use? How do you know what qualities and features to look for in a scholarship search service? Should you use a fee-based service or a free one? And how do you avoid getting scammed while looking for awards? Use the following guide to determine what to look for and to help you find the service that will best fit your scholarship needs.
Profile Matches Are Key
First and foremost, find a scholarship search service that has sophisticated matching technology. A good scholarship search service will match the personal information you provide to them with scholarships that you are eligible to apply for. This will minimize the time you spend browsing through lists of awards, and will give you more time to actually work on the application process itself. Beware of simple keyword search services or services that only ask a few questions about your background. Many such services will return hundreds of scholarships for you to wade through, consuming valuable time that you simply don’t have. Look for services with easy-to-use, thorough profile pages that generate results closely matched to your profile.
Up-to-Date Scholarship Information
Secondly, find a scholarship search service that provides accurate and up-to-date scholarship information. Reading requirements for scholarship programs from two years ago will not help you at all; in fact, using outdated information will simply slow your progress in actually securing scholarship funding for college. Remember, you need to find a service that offers scholarship information for the current academic year. Don’t waste your time on websites with out-dated contact lists, broken application links, and discontinued programs.
An Easy Process
Make sure the service is set up to save you time. If you take the time to fill out the profile, make sure the information is saved so you don’t have to start from scratch each time you want to look for more scholarships. Also, make sure there is a way to edit and update your profile, in case you change your major or improve your test scores or change your mind about the college or university you want to attend. Search services with such customer-oriented features will save you time and frustration in the search process, and that’s what you should be aiming for: saving time, avoiding scams, and finding money to pay for college!
For additional information about this topic, visit www.ScholarshipExperts.com.
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Common Mistakes To Avoid When Completing The FAFSA
The best way to complete the FAFSA is early, and online. January 1st is the soonest you can apply; remember that there are sometimes early deadlines for awards and that awards often consist of limited funding. Complete your taxes early because you’ll need that information, otherwise you can estimate the amounts from previous years and correct the amounts on the form later by going to the corrections page on the FAFSA website.
If you apply online, your application will be processed faster and will likely be more accurate because your application will be processed on the FAFSA website to catch errors. The online application also provides worksheets that will calculate amounts and enter them into the field for you. You can save and continue the FAFSA at any time online and then sign your application electronically using a personal identification number (PIN) which you can get from the Federal Student Aid PIN website.
Making mistakes on your FAFSA could delay your application and possibly make you lose out on some financial aid. The most common errors people make are listed below. As you complete the FAFSA try to avoid these errors.
- Leaving blank fields–enter a ‘0’ or ‘not applicable’ instead of leaving a blank. Too many blanks may cause miscalculations and an application rejection.
- Using commas or decimal points in numeric fields–always round to the nearest dollar.
- Listing incorrect Social Security Number or Driver’s license number–check these entries and have someone else check them too. Triple check to be sure.
- Entering the wrong federal income tax paid amount–obtain your federal income paid amount from your income tax return forms, not your W-2 form(s).
- Listing Adjusted Gross Income as equal to total income–these are not the same figure. In most cases, the AGI is larger than the total income. This mistake is particularly common.
- Listing marital status incorrectly–only write yes if you’re currently married. They want to know what you’re marital status is on the day you sign the FAFSA, or Renewal FAFSA.
- Listing parent marital status incorrectly–the custodial parent’s marital status is needed; if they’ve remarried, you’ll need the stepparent’s information too.
- Leaving the question about drug-related offenses blank–If you’re unsure about something, find out before you submit your FAFSA instead of leaving it blank. A conviction doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from getting aid.
- Forgetting to list the college–obtain the Federal School Code for the college you plan on attending and list it–along with any other schools to which you’ve applied.
- Forgetting to sign and date–if you’re filling out the paper FAFSA, be sure to sign it. If you’re filing electronically, be sure to obtain your PIN from www.pin.ed.gov. Your PIN is your electronic signature and will always be assigned to you only.
- Entering the wrong address–your permanent address is not your campus or summer address.
- Sending in a copy of your income tax returns–you will be contacted if your information needs verification; you don’t need to send a copy of your tax returns in with your application.
Much of the financial information you need to provide is on your tax forms. Completing your taxes early can make the application process easier because you’ll have the financial information you need in one place. You can estimate your financial information using previous tax years and correct the amounts on the form later by going to the corrections page on the FAFSA website. If you are not required to file taxes you still have to fill out a FAFSA to get financial aid.
Vision requires action. Without vision there is little purpose to working, or getting married, or going to school. College is a time to dream, and dreams are all most people live in these days. I know I spent a number of years living in my dreams with little to no action on my part which left me without purpose and without anything to show for it. So in my life I am making a new direction; I am building a future for myself that is based in vision AND action.
I want to be clear: I want to build a business, and I want to make money, but primarily I want to advise current and future college students how to make decisions and choices that will lead to a bright future and living in the purpose they were born for. What were you born for? What were you called to? Do you even know? How can you make a valid decision on where to go to school or what major to choose if you can’t answer those questions?
Easily, and I can show you how.