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Tips to Help Apply for College Scholarships

As high school graduates cruise through those first few weeks of summer, it feels as though all the hard work is over. It seems as though your effort paid off, with freedom finally ringing. Fast forward to the end of summer, just when the hint of autumn is in the air. Now, high school graduation feels like it happened a thousand years ago. The ultimate question looms: what, if anything, have these new grads done to secure their spot on that first rung of the career or higher education ladder? One thing would certainly help, winning some college scholarships.


High school graduates pointed in the right direction by parents, counselors, and advisors will know how to save money through obtaining scholarships. What they know, and we’re going to explain in detail is how to research, find, and use college scholarships to save money.


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When Do I Apply for College Scholarships?


Start Researching During High School, at Least a Year Ahead of Time

As the old Nike tagline notes, “Just Do It.” While it might feel like you’re jumping right from the frying pan into the fire, there’s no time like the present when it comes to researching, finding, and obtaining a scholarship. What many high school grads couldn’t possibly realize is the universe wastes youth on the young.


You won’t have the energy, time, or resources you have in your late teens and early twenties ever again. You probably won’t have access to rent-free living (AKA “mom and dad’s house”). Being able to work eight hours on three hours of sleep will be a dream of the past. Only having to worry about your part-time job and school is a luxury that will fade. As most of us look back, it’s what we didn’t do that we regret — not what we did.


Research 

Utilize the finite resources only available to you in your young adult years to springboard you to where you want to be later in life. If your passion is justice, look for law firms offering college scholarships in exchange for coming to work for them once you have your law degree. If you’ve applied to UC Davis for an undergraduate degree to support a veterinary degree later, go to the vet you use right now and ask him or her how they would go about getting a scholarship for college today if they had it to do all over again.


Use the Internet, social media, and your network of friends and family to find the scholarships. Find ones that will work for you, allow you time to study and rest. You need these to help you and your family save money on your every degree you plan to obtain in the future.


Flipping Burgers

We’ve all heard the phrase, “flipping burgers.” Unless your passion in life is to own and operate your restaurant or hamburger franchise, you shouldn’t be standing in front of a grill. What most young people new to the job market are unaware of is that there are scholarships available in literally almost any field, trade, job, vocation, and beyond. You can learn the trade of your dreams and also get paid to do it.


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Start Your Scholarship Search Between Your Junior and Senior Year of High School


For students who are serious about obtaining a scholarship to pay for school, the time to apply is now. You need funds for school supplies, rent, food and of course tuition. We suggest you start looking the summer between your junior and senior year of high school. But that doesn’t mean you stop as soon as high school resumes. Keep looking for the scholarships that will help save money throughout your senior year of high school — and don’t stop, give up, or let go until you’ve struck gold.


They say there are only six (or less) degrees of separation between you and any other person on the planet. That said, it’s safe to say that one of your friends or family members knows someone who can help you obtain your college scholarship before high school graduation. You’ll be amazed to find out your uncle plays basketball every weekend with a lawyer who is friends with the partner at his firm, and that this partner can line up a scholarship for you even before you begin your senior year or before you walk across the stage at high school graduation.


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Tips to Get Your College Scholarship: Organization, Professional Online Profile, and Data Storage


Find the college scholarship that makes you light up like a Christmas tree. Next, there are a few steps you’ll probably have to take unless you obtained your scholarship in an unconventional manner (take the uncle’s basketball buddy connection, for example). You’ll need to create the best possible CV you can, and put yourself out there, even if you’re only 17 — create a LinkedIn account and organize everything an entity would need to know about you to consider you for a scholarship program. If you’ve garnered any awards, have made Dean’s list, or are bi- or trilingual, place all of this information to your LinkedIn or other professional profiles.


For your private information, create a hard copy folder as well as a digital folder on a thumb drive that contains pertinent information toward obtaining scholarships. Save things like transcripts, your SAT or ACT (or other) test scores, and if available to you, a copy of your parents’ most recent tax returns. By creating this folder, the information scholarship programs need is all in one place, ready to go.


The Key is to Keep Trying and Keep Applying

The key is to continuously focus on the goal of getting that scholarship until you’ve secured it. How you get it and where it comes from are irrelevant. What matters is your future after high school graduation. Saving money by winning a scholarship is the best way to secure a brighter future for yourself. It also decreases the pain of disgustingly high college loan payments for the rest of your life.

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