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Financial Aid Tips & Advice

What Makes a Highly Successful Scholarship Winner?

  • Successful students always remember the five P’s - Prior preparation prevents poor performance.
    • Prepare for the scholarship search early. For high school students do not wait until your senior year.
  • Successful students vigorously avoid mistakes on their essays and applications.
    • They always spell-check, proofread, and allow one other person to proofread their applications and essay for errors.
  • Successful students do not ignore scholarships that may be local or those for small amounts.
    • Scholarship amounts, even as small as $50, can add up.
  • Successful students do not rely on only one source such as the Internet for their scholarship search.
    • They use many resources. Many scholarships on the Internet or in the free scholarship searches that you find on the World Wide Web are nationally known and are harder to win due to greater competition.
  • Local and regional scholarships are not found as easily through an Internet search, although they may be easier to win because the applicant pool is smaller.
    • You have to use a combination of resources to find as many scholarships to apply for as possible.
  • Successful students market themselves well.
    • In their applications, they highlight positive aspects about their lives, especially community involvement.
  • Successful students do not apply to one or two scholarships and wait for the best.
    • They apply for all scholarships they are eligible to win. They keep applying until the total they have won exceeds what they need to pay for the college they want to attend or until they graduate with a degree.
  • Successful students are organized.
    • They keep track of deadlines and materials required to complete an application.
  • Successful students are well rounded.
    • They participate in extracurricular and community activities. They write about these activities in scholarship and college essays in a descriptive manner. They try to benefit others as well as themselves with the extracurricular and community activities in which they are involved.
  • Successful students understand that SAT scores and grades alone do not win most scholarships.
    • Scholarship programs look at many factors such as community activities, leadership, presentation of your application package, special or unusual talents or skills, etc.
  • Successful students do not look for the easy way out.
    • It is harder for them to believe in a scholarship scam that promises to do all the work for them. They understand that those things for which we work hardest often bring the greatest rewards. Hard work in the scholarship process as a high school student could result in an easy college life without work later or a loan-free life after college.

Avoid These Most Common Mistakes Made on College and Scholarship Applications

  1. Not following directions
  2. Missing the deadline
  3. Not typing your application, or sending in a sloppy application
  4. Forgetting to spell check, and then forgetting to proofread after you spell check
  5. Not including information such as a transcript or recommendation
  6. Not answering the essay question or another question asked

Taken from

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