What Every Student Needs to Know About Scholarships

Scholarship Infographic

College Raptor is a free platform that helps students discover and compare colleges based on academic, cultural, and financial fit. They have created this awesome infographic showing some interesting schlarship statistics to share with Scholarship Opportunity subscribers. You can check out their website at: www.collegeraptor.com.

Scholarship InfoGraphic

 

 

Why You Need to Read the Fine Print

Read the Fine PrintNot All Scholarships Are Created Equal

When you begin to search for scholarships, what’s the first thing you read? If you said the eligibility requirements, you’re right! This information is crucial because if you aren’t eligible to apply, your application is headed directly into the trash can. You’ll have wasted the time and effort it took to complete the application and send in your supporting documents. Nobody has time to waste, especially if you absolutely need scholarship money in order to attend college.

However, you also need to read and understand what the scholarship is funding. Some scholarships can only be applied to tuition while others are only for books and supplies. Many scholarships are awarded to the student for just one year and others are “renewable” which means you can reapply for the scholarship again after you’ve won it. Some scholarships are even renewable for all four years of your undergrad degree. Those are the real gold mines.

You’ll also want to understand how and when the scholarship money is disbursed. Is it sent directly to the college? Will you receive a check then pay the college yourself? Is the money sent at the beginning of the school year as one lump sum? Or will it be sent at the beginning of each semester? If it’s sent at the start of the semester, are there requirements you need to meet in order for the money to be sent for the second semester? Some scholarships will require you to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) and others may require you to complete a progress statement by a certain deadline. Miss either of these and your second payment won’t be sent and you’ll be left scrambling for money you counted on. This can mean you might have to take out student loans or drop out of college altogether. Neither is a good alternative.

If you’re lucky or good enough to be offered an athletic scholarship, make sure you understand the ramifications if you become injured. Is there a clause in your scholarship that states if you’re injured and cannot return to the sport you’ll lose your scholarship funding? Are there restrictions for the number of games missed? Are there academic requirements such as a certain GPA must be maintained in order for you to continue to receive your athletic scholarship? For many students on sport scholarships this may be a deal breaker when it comes to completing their college education.

There are other “scholarships” that should rightly be called unpaid student internships. Here’s a good example of what I mean and why it’s so important to read the fine print (i.e., all of the information about the scholarship provided on the sponsoring organization’s website). If you read the requirements of the Emerging Voices Scholarships, you’ll discover that you’ll be doing a lot of writing and that you are required to attend their special luncheon at your own expense. If you’ve ever been to New York City, you know everything there costs more (hotels, taxis, food) and, if you live far away, you’ll have to pay your own airfare. Even if you live nearby, you’ll still be paying for your own travel costs. They offer $2,000 in scholarship money, for which you may well end up spending the bulk of the award JUST to attend their luncheon. Plus, you’ll be working to create content on a topic of their choice to be used on their website. Does this sound like a scholarship opportunity? Not to me. It sounds like good publicity for the sponsoring organization along with free content development.

If you’re a reader of this blog or our scholarship books, you already know we’re strong advocates for funding your college education with scholarship dollars NOT student loan debt. We encourage and support you to go after as many scholarships as possible. Having said that, we also want you to read the fine print so you won’t be caught off guard and lose the funding you need to graduate debt-free.

Do you have a scholarship story to share?

High School Bloggers Internship UPDATE

Internship for High School Students

UPDATE: May 26, 2015

We’ve started receiving emails from high school students all over the country. We have four high school student blogging internships to fill and would LOVE to hear from you too! It’s not too late! So, don’t be shy and don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Send us an email so we can schedule time to chat. — Gyan

Wanted: High School Students Who Love to Write & Plan on Attending College

Are you a high school student who enjoys writing? Are you planning to attend college? Do you need an internship? The Scholarship Opportunity Blog would love to hear from you! We’re currently looking for four high school students (preferrably one freshman, one sophomore, one junior, and one senior). We’d like you to write about topics relating to issues that are important to high school students like yourself. We’re interested in hearing what you’re doing to prepare for college including:

  • Studying for and taking standardized tests (PSAT, SAT, and ACT)
  • Selection of classes and coursework
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Community service
  • Working while in school
  • Dual enrollment
  • Selecting a college
  • Applying to college
  • Paying for college
  • Finding and winning scholarships
  • How you use social media
  • Student loans and debt

We’re interested in YOUR experiences, thoughts, worries, questions, and issues you bump up against while in high school.

You would write one blog post per month on a topic of your choice. We will provide you with a professional writer and editor to polish your post prior to publication. We often receive requests from companies to review their products. While we are not paid for endorsements or reviews, we do receive these products for free. If you write an honest product review, you’ll get to keep the products for your own personal use. We think your opinion as a high school student is invaluable.

While this is a blogging internship, your photo and name will be published monthly, allowing you to gain real-world work experience and get the attention of college admissions counselors and scholarship committees. While this internship is unpaid (this year), there are perks! You’ll receive FREE:

Although we work in Vermont, our student bloggers can be located anywhere in the US. We’re looking for students who can make a one-year commitment. If you’re able to meet deadlines and want to learn how to blog and write professionally, reach out and send us an email today along with a short statement as to why this opportunity excites you.

Internship for High School Students

Internship for High School StudentsWanted: High School Students Who Love to Write & Plan on Attending College

Are you a high school student who enjoys writing? Are you planning to attend college? Do you need an internship? The Scholarship Opportunity Blog would love to hear from you! We’re currently looking for four high school students (preferrably one freshman, one sophomore, one junior, and one senior). We’d like you to write about topics relating to issues that are important to high school students like yourself. We’re interested in hearing what you’re doing to prepare for college including:

  • Studying for and taking standardized tests (PSAT, SAT, and ACT)
  • Selection of classes and coursework
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Community service
  • Working while in school
  • Dual enrollment
  • Selecting a college
  • Applying to college
  • Paying for college
  • Finding and winning scholarships
  • How you use social media
  • Student loans and debt

We’re interested in YOUR experiences, thoughts, worries, questions, and issues you bump up against while in high school.

You would write one blog post per month on a topic of your choice. We will provide you with a professional writer and editor to polish your post prior to publication. We often receive requests from companies to review their products. While we are not paid for endorsements or reviews, we do receive these products for free. If you write an honest product review, you’ll get to keep the products for your own personal use. We think your opinion as a high school student is invaluable.

While this is a blogging internship, your photo and name will be published monthly, allowing you to gain real-world work experience and get the attention of college admissions counselors and scholarship committees. While this internship is unpaid (this year), there are perks! You’ll receive FREE:

Although we work in Vermont, our student bloggers can be located anywhere in the US. We’re looking for students who can make a one-year commitment. If you’re able to meet deadlines and want to learn how to blog and write professionally, reach out and send us an email today along with a short statement as to why this opportunity excites you.

10 Ways to Maximize Your Last Summer as a High School Student

Maximize Your Summer

Have Fun AND Use Your Last Summer as a High School Student to Reduce Your Senior Stress!

School’s almost out for the summer, and while it’s important to savor the well-deserved break and engage in social activities, it’s also crucial to use the next few months to get a jump start on essential tasks before being swept up in Senior-year activities. This will help you get a step ahead and make your transition into the fall semester a smooth one while minimizing feelings of overwhelm as you head into college application process.

  1. Have a Discussion with Your Parents About Paying for College—Are you afraid to ask your parents if you will need to apply for financial aid? With tuition rates soaring and the current state of our economy, discussing financial aid and your family’s financial concerns with your parents has never been more important. Knowing how much money you’ll need to contribute will help you make a plan to raise the money by the time your first tuition bill is due. Need some help? Check out this great post to get started.
  2. Learn How to Find and Win Scholarships—Did you know that devoting yourself to finding and applying for scholarships as a part-time job can pay up to $66 an hour? We’ve run the numbers and can prove it’s true. You can read our ebook on how to do this (it’s a fast and easy read!) or get extra help by joining a small group of like-minded students for one hour a week in a Skype chat workshop.
  3. Assemble Your Scholarship Portfolio So You Can Hit the Ground Running in the Fall—This is super important because when you apply for scholarships, the sponsoring organization will request certain documents from you, which must be submitted with your application by their deadline. If you’ve created and assembled your documents ahead of time, you can apply immediately, never miss a deadline, and submit dozens (dare I say hundreds?) of scholarship applications. Being “scholarship ready” by your senior year is critical because you’ll be absorbed by  college applications, leaving little time for procuring much-needed scholarships. Learn what documents should be in your Scholarship Portfolio here and if you need extra help, you can always sign up for a Skype class to get help writing and editing standout documents.
  4. Volunteer with an Organization You Feel Good About or that Works in a Field that You Want to Study or Work In—By now you’ve likely engaged in community service throughout your high school career. This is important because scholarship committees look for students who give back to their communities. After all, that’s what these organizations do when they offer scholarships! If you haven’t volunteered, start this summer and make a commitment for a year. Here’s a great list of volunteering ideas.
  5. Get a Part-Time Job—While part-time jobs are unlikely won’t pay you $66 an hour, they will look great on your resume. Plus, scholarship committees like to support and award scholarships to students who make an effort to earn their own money for college. As a bonus, you can ask your supervisor and coworkers for the critical Letters of Recommendation you’ll need!
  6. Clean up your Social Media Accounts and/or Set Up New Social Media Accounts to be Used Exclusively for Your College and Scholarship SearchA recent study from Kaplan has found that 31% of college admission officers check social media to see if an applicant would make a good fit and 12% of colleges report rejecting an applicant because of what they discovered on social media. These numbers are growing every year. These are sobering numbers and I strongly suggest spending time this summer reviewing and revising your social media accounts or putting in place tight privacy settings. The other option is to open brand new social media accounts that you can use to show yourself in the best possible light to colleges and scholarship committees. 
  7. Get Letters of Recommendation (You’ll Need Several for College and Scholarship Applications)—Recommendation letters from people who know you and your work well—give scholarship committees a glimpse into your strengths, your qualities, your personality, and your accomplishments. These letters can often be the difference between winning a scholarship and having to try again next year. Summer is a great time to request Recommendation Letters because people are more relaxed and have more free time available. Start reaching out to people early in the summer because it can often take a month or two to get the letter you need! Here’s a few tips on how to get a great letter!
  8. Assemble Your Scholarship Team—Successful entrepreneurs never go it alone. They build a team to help them achieve their company’s vision and mission. If you’re in need of scholarships, your vision is to pay for college and graduate debt-free. Your mission is to win scholarships. The bigger your team is, the faster and easier you’ll achieve both. As the old saying goes, “Many hands make light work.” So use the summer to build your team.
  9. Create a Personal Website—Creating a personal or professional website is a great way to tell your story. Showcasing your work and portfolio is an excellent project to take on this summer. Start your own YouTube, channel, blog, or buy a domain name to post your resume and samples of your clips. When applying for scholarships, college, internships or jobs, having a website dedicated to your work will help you stand out. Here are two great posts from one of my favorite blogs, The Daily Muse: Build a Personal Website in a Week and 14 Stunning Ways to Build Your Personal Website This Week.
  10. Take Time Out to Relax and Recharge—The importance of taking time off from work cannot be overstated. I’ve had to learn this lesson over and over again but I finally understand that when I take time for self-care, time to rest and recharge, I get more done in less time. Here are some ideas from another favorite blogging team, Marc and Angel: 9 Ways to Feel Less Stress When Life Gets Crazy Busy.

School is out for the summer in less than 4 weeks (at least here in Vermont). Now is a good time to plan your summer activities to achieve maximum results and reduce the feelings and stress that go along with being a Senior next year. How will you spend your last summer before becoming a Senior? I’d love to hear your thoughts…