The Road to Scholarships

tips and hints for junior high & high school students planning to use scholarship monies to pay for their continuing education

Scholarship Success Tips – Part 2

As promised in the last post here are five more tips to help you reach scholarship success. Tips to help make finding college funding easier.

  1. Multiply your skills. Academics aren’t the only things scholarship committees look for. They  want their recipients to do more than study. They want students who are involved in their communities, through sports, civic organizations, religious organizations, or extra curricular activities. Go ahead; live a little while you’re keeping up with your studies.
  2. Accept any assistance offered. Your parents and other adults in your life really do know a thing or two. Let them help you. They may know of a scholarship possibility for you. They can help you remember some of your achievements. Help from others will make your scholarship quest easier.
  3. Check out “facts” for yourself. Accepting help is great, however, don’t take someone’s word as fact until you check it out. Too many students don’t apply for grants and other assistance because they don’t think they qualify. Find out if you qualify, then apply..
  4. Always apply when you meet the requirements.. If you meet the rules and qualifications for a grant or scholarship, you should apply. Don’t decide too many other students will be applying and you don’t have a chance. The only things that will guarantee you don’t receive an award is if you don’t qualify, or you don’t apply. Naturally if you don’t qualify you won’t apply, but that’s the only reason, not because you don’t think you’ll win.
  5. Financial aid is acceptable. Free money is free money. You don’t care where it comes from, as long as there aren’t strings that will choke you attached. Don’t overlook any financial aid that is available to students in your area.

April 2, 2009 Posted by | scholarships | , | 3 Comments

Speeding to Scholarship Success

This week I’m going to share fifteen suggestions to help you reach scholarship success. They will be broken down into a series of three posts with five ideas each.

Today’s tips are:

1. Define success. What does scholarship success mean to you? Do you want enough money to pay for your entire college career before you’re a senior? Do you want to obtain the skills and attributes the larger, for seniors only, scholarships will be looking for? Do you want some scholarship money now, and to feel better about your chances of success later on? You have to set the bar. How will you know you’re succeeding if you don’t have a way to measure your success?

2. Budget your time. Your time has many demands. You need to budget how much time you’ll spend on different projects to enable you to have enough time for all of them. That’s alright, if you haven’t sacrificed scholarship time for goofing off time with your friends. While you do need some down time, you don’t want your down time to take over your life. However, it doesn’t help, if you spend all of your time studying and applying for scholarships. You will soon burn yourself out and not do well. You need to find a balance, and budgeting your time will help you do that.

3. Be organized. Be organized everywhere, not just in your scholarship or academic areas. Because ultimately everything connects and you don’t want your disorganized social life to hurt your scholarship life. This doesn’t mean every minute of your life needs to be accounted for, just organize your time, and supplies to make your life easier.

4. Keep a log book. Keep track of upcoming scholarships, and their deadlines as well as scholarships you’ve applied for with the date it was sent in. This will help you avoid missing out on a scholarship because you missed the date.

5. Invest in yourself. Remember, you are selling your skills, abilities, and talents. You want to make the ‘product’ yourself appealing to the scholarship committees. Find your weak areas and work to improve them. This can be an academic area, if you have trouble with math you take an extra class or study on your own to master math. However, it can also be a personal area, you may be uncomfortable talking in interview situations, practice or join the debate team to help build your confidence. You are the product; make yourself the best you can.

There you have five tips, Wednesday I’ll post five more tips you might not consider when improving your scholarship abilities.

March 31, 2009 Posted by | scholarships | , , , | Leave a comment

Scholarships for Helping

Today I have two long range scholarships for you. One, the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes has a rapidly approaching  deadline, April 30,2009.

To receive this award you must be nominated by an adult, who is not a family member. This can be a teacher, scout leader, or volunteer coordinator, to name a few possibilities.

According to their website, the goal is to award young people who have, “demonstrated the power of one person to make a difference to the world.” You can help make that difference, and qualify for money. Not a bad deal.

Winners  have focused on helping their communities and the people living in them, have concentrated their efforts on protecting the environment.

Guidelines, rules, for who can be nominated, can be found here.  The nomination packet for the nominator can be found here.

Since the deadline is April 30, it’s doubtful you will have time to complete a project for this scholarship this year. However, you can keep it in mind while  your working on a project for the next scholarship, Nicodemus Wilderness Project Ecologist Award .

For this award you will select from one of three environmental protection areas to develop and implement your project. Take pictures of your project in action. Once you’ve completed, all or part of your project write your essay and upload it and you photos here.

The photo essays will be posted on their website, and the winner of the $500 award will be selected after Dec. 31.

Select an area that interests you, be creative and let one project serve for at least two scholarship applications.

You now have two scholarship possibilities to add to your growing compilation of scholarships. If you’re too young for a summer job, you now have a summer activity to keep you busy as well as help you and your community.  Your project, whatever it is, will serve you well in life. Not to mention it’ll look good on all your scholarship applications, because they all ask for community involvement.

March 26, 2009 Posted by | scholarships | , , | Leave a comment

Scholarship Marketing

If you were a store, what sort of people would you attract? What assets do you have they would be willing to buy? Would they spend money on your merchandise?

I’m not talking about physical items you’ve purchased and can resell. What about your  attitudes, skills, and background would someone be willing to pay money for? If you had a store offering your assets would you attract shoppers or would your store be eerily silent?

That all sounds a little strange doesn’t it? The fact is, when you apply for scholarships, that’s exactly what you’re doing, selling your abilities, skills, and background. You are the store, and scholarship committees are the shoppers. The idea is to make your store welcoming to the buyers.

When a scholarship committee keeps your scholarship application for a second or third look, rather than discarding it on first glance, you have made them feel welcome. Naturally you won’t receive every scholarship you apply for, stores don’t sell to every customer who walks in. However, you will receive multiple scholarships if you have the product the scholarship committees are looking for.

How do you know what they want? The same way store owners figure out what their customers want, doing research.  Talk to people who have “been there done that”.  Talk to students who have received scholarships, ask them what they did. Research available scholarships, they have their requirements listed, can you fill their needs? Read books and blogs, such as this one, that tell you what scholarship committees are looking for. If programs like “Gear Up” and “Talent Search”  are available, sign up for them.

Once you know what your customers, the scholarship committees, are looking to find, you can work to fill that need.  When you give them what they want, they’ll respond by giving you what you need, money for college.

March 23, 2009 Posted by | scholarships | , , | Leave a comment

Tape a Scholarship

You may be wondering about the title of today’s post and thinking, how in the world can I tape a scholarship?

It’s simple really, by using Duck Brand Duct Tape to construct a couple’s prom outfit you can benefit in several ways. Most important, both of you can receive scholarship money for your outfit. But, you will also have a lot of fun designing and constructing coordinating outfits. You will absolutely have one-of-a-kind outfits.

For more information about this fun scholarship, check out their website, here . Winners from the last couple of years can be seen here.

So, while  you’re busy with all your other Spring Break activities, take some time for yourself. Brainstorm with your friends, and  your date if you’ve already made plans to attend, come up with a super prom outfit. Maybe I’ll see your picture next year on their website as a winner.

March 18, 2009 Posted by | scholarships | , , | 1 Comment

Scholarships during Spring Break

For many of you Spring Break has begun, for others it’s just days away.  You are already enjoying plans made, or making plans for the coming days off. But, what are you doing for your scholarship quest?

Sure, take this time to relax and enjoy yourself. But, also take a few minutes each day to do something towards your scholarship quest.

Here’s a list of things you can do while enjoying your time off:

1. Read the Ayn Rand book with an essay contest for your age group. Check out their website here. Some of the deadlines are looming, you may not have time to read and write a compelling essay in the remaining time. However, you can take your time reading the book, and taking notes, so you’ll be prepared to write the essay for next year.

2. Spend some time on the internet researching scholarships to increase those you do, or will qualify to enter.

3. Write an essay for an upcoming scholarship.

4. Write an essay for a past scholarship in preparation for next year.

5. Organize your files to make it easier to find upcoming scholarships, and your accomplishment.

Now  you may not be able to do everything on this list, and you certainly can’t, and don’t need to,  do everything, every day. You do want to save some time for fun and relaxation. Just remember to keep your scholarship quest in mind while you have some time away from school

March 16, 2009 Posted by | scholarships | , , | Leave a comment

Scholarship Searches Include Ethnic Scholarships

How are you looking for scholarships? Are you using every venue available? Are  you using every possibility?

One scholarship possibility many students neglect is the ethnic scholarship. You probably know there are scholarships available for certain ethnic groups. Most people know there are scholarships available for the African American or American Indian. But did you know there are scholarships available for many different ethnic backgrounds?

There are scholarships for students desendents of several nationalities.  Generally these one  requirement is that  the applicant actually be the nationality sponsoring the scholarship.

Occasionally, as in the previous post for the German Russian scholarship, the blood line is not important. Finding these scholarships may be a bit tricky.

A scholarship search engine, (several can be found here) often asks about nationality, and will find those scholarships. Another option is to google for specific nationality scholarships. Networking will often find you these scholarships.

As you compile your available scholarship list, don’t forget the ethnic possibility. Remember, the more scholarships you  have to pay for college, the less out of pocket expense you’ll have. If you have an ethnic background, take advantage of it.

March 14, 2009 Posted by | scholarships | , , | Leave a comment

Ethnic Scholarship Regardless of Ethnic Background

Today’s post is about an ethnic scholarship that is open to all ethnic groups.

The German Russian Heritage Scholarship found here, is open to all students, regardless of their personal heritage. It’s also available to students in middle school, high school, and college. As a bonus, each group has it’s own winner. The middle school students won’t be competing against the high school and college students.

The essay must be related to the German Russian Heritage, and there are specific topics for the students to consider.

The deadline for this scholarship contest is March 31, which doesn’t give students a long time to work on the essay. However, there is still time, and the contest can be entered again next year. Because the German Russian Heritage scholarship is available for middle school through college students, this is a good one to have on  your scholarship list.

Regardless of your ethnic background, check out the German Russian Heritage Scholarship, it may be worth money to you.

March 13, 2009 Posted by | scholarships | , , , , | 2 Comments

No Essay Scholarship

A scholarship with no essay? How can that be? After all, don’t I keep telling  you to practice writing so your essays will be the best they can be? Don’t your teachers continually give out writing assignments to help you improve your writing?  I’ll bet you didn’t think there was such a thing as a scholarship that didn’t include an essay.

Will there is. There aren’t many, but there are a few. Today’s scholarship is one that does not require an essay. It requires a picture. A picture  you draw. A picture you draw that tells a story. Today’s scholarship is for a cartoon.

Not just any cartoon though.  A cartoon that “express your personal vision of peace, diversity and concern for others.” This artistic scholarship/contest is sponsored by The Liberty Museum.

The Museum’s goal is to channel the specialized art form of cartoons for a positive purpose. To help them reach that goal each year they have a specific theme. This year’s theme is: Dreams of Peace

The contest has two division, adult (age 18 and over) and student (under 18).  More information, the complete rules, and the entry form can be found here.

The deadline is March 31.

March 6, 2009 Posted by | scholarships | , , | Leave a comment

Cost of a College Education

How much money will you actually need to attend college? The truth is, it varies. Much of it depends on which college you chose, it’s location, your location, and the type of education you need.

Often students and parents think the high dollar educations are the price of the Ivy schools. Schools like Harvard, and Yale. To be fair, those are expensive colleges to attend. A quick look at the tuition  page on the Harvard website shows the cost of $32,896 for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Since Harvard is located in Massachusetts, let’s look at the pricing of a couple of other colleges in that state.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts,   a four year college lists their 2008-2009 tuition/fees  yearly cost here, at, $15,350 for out of state students, residents of Massachusetts can expect to pay at least $6000 for tuition.

North Shore Community college has their costs listed on this page. They charged  Massachusetts residents $125  and  non-residents $357 for each credit  hour taken in 2008-2009. This totals about $3800 for a resident and $11,000 for a non resident.

You can see the basic  cost of a college education can vary from $4000 a year to over $30,000. How much your education will cost will be determined by you. Where do you want to attend college? How long will your education take? You need to be thinking on these things.

To get an idea of the cost of colleges in  your state, or colleges  you have in interest in attending this site by the University of Texas has links for most colleges in the United States. They have another site here, listing links for community colleges.

Remember basic cost is only the tuition and some fees. There are often other fees required. Don’t forget, you’ll need books, generally you can figure 40 per credit hour for books. This is $600 for 15 credit hours.  This is an average and a fairly good rule of thumb to use for estimating your costs.

In addition to your books, you will living somewhere. That will cost money. Most colleges require incoming out-of-town freshmen to live on campus. This is to your advantage. Each college will have a figure for the cost of a room. If  you live within commuting distance and choose to live at home, remember you’ll still need to pay for the additional vehicle expenses.

You will also need to eat. The cost for this will depend on you, and your situation. Living at home, your parents will probably underwrite the cost of your meals. If you live on campus the college will have meal plans for you. There’s also extra money for snacks, and when you don’t eat the college food, and the need for other miscellaneous items.

You can see the cost of a college education has a wide range, and it’s all in the high range. Determining what college is best for you will be another post. For now, I just wanted you to understand your higher education which will be well worth the money spent, is going to have a steep price tag.

March 4, 2009 Posted by | scholarships | , , , , | 2 Comments