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How do I get scholarships?
Over $3 billion is available in U.S. scholarship funding. So why was the average college debt of a 2016 graduate over $37,000 (US News, 2016)?
There are several reasons, ranging from rising university costs and decreased financial aid funding. But another reason is that many students don't apply for scholarships or other financial aid. In 2015 $2.9 billion in federal grant awards went unused for the simple fact that no one applied it. The number one lesson when it comes to scholarships: apply, apply, apply! A little effort can go a long way in preventing future debt.
What to Include on Your Application
Eagle Scout, varsity sports and Student of the Quarter are all excellent things to include on scholarship applications. But don't be afraid to think outside the box. Have you worked a part-time job? Volunteered at a food drive? Brainstorm with your friends, family and teachers about anything and everything you've done outside the classroom, starting freshman year.
Find more ideas on what to include in your scholarship portfolio or application:
- Scholarship Application Strategies
- Create Great Scholarship Applications With These 6 Answers
- 4 Ways to Make Your Scholarship Essay Stand Out
- 5 Items to Include in Your Scholarship Portfolio
Not Just for Seniors
Did you know students can start earning scholarships as early as middle school? Some scholarship websites allow students to apply as early as freshman year of high school and will hold on to the scholarship until the fall semester following the student's high school graduation. It's never too early to start searching!
Common Scholarship Mistakes
- Only applying for high award scholarships.
- Applying to every scholarship available.
- Not applying to any high award scholarships.
- Allowing someone other than the student to do the work.
- Reusing the same essay for every scholarship.
- Not checking details before submitting the application.
- Paying for a scholarship.
- Waiting until the last minute.
Top Scholarship Website