Now that the acceptance letters are rolling in, college-bound students and their families are faced with how to pay for college. Reality sets in when that first tuition bill is due. Here are 10 tips for high school students to follow to increase their chance of winning scholarships and avoiding student loan debt.
- Start searching for scholarships now! Don’t wait until spring of your senior year in high school to start searching or you’ll miss half the deadlines. Senior year is the ONLY time you’ll be able to triple-dip in the scholarship pool. You can apply for scholarships specifically for high school students, entering college freshmen, and undergraduates. Search throughout your high school and undergraduate years.
- Ideally, you’ll want to hit the ground running by Senior year and apply to every scholarship where you meet the eligibility requirements. This means having your Scholarship Portfolio documents assembled and ready to submit. (A great way to use your summer and you can get help here.)
- Run your scholarship project as if it was a business start up. According to our research, it will pay you a whopping $66/hour.
- Assemble your Scholarship Circle—Enlist the support of family, friends, teachers, guidance counselors, and other people in your network. Let them know you’re looking for scholarships and ask for their help to find those you qualify for.
- Use social media to your advantage to both share your accomplishments to stand out to scholarship committees and to find more scholarships.
- Use search methods to yield high-value scholarship returns. Find out which scholarship search sites are the best by downloading our free guide when you subscribe to our blog. Or you can get it here for 99¢.
- Apply to every scholarship that you meet the eligibility requirements. Pursue less competitive scholarships such as small awards and local sources. There is far less competition and the money adds up.
- Don’t miss deadlines. Use a calendar and a tracking form to stay organized. (If you send us an email, I’ll send you a free Scholarship Tracking Form that students love.)
- Follow the scholarship directions exactly. If you’re unclear, send the funding organization an email to get your questions answered. Make sure your applications is completely and correctly filled out and that the requested documents are sent too. Forgetting one document or missing one question can and will get you eliminated from consideration.
- Proofread everything before you submit your application. In fact, submit your application when you’re fresh not when you’re tired. Make a copy of your entire scholarship package and log it into your Scholarship Tracking Form. Send the application by certified mail, return receipt requested or with delivery confirmation unless you’re applying online. Print a copy of your online confirmation page.
A Note to High School Seniors: Don’t panic if you haven’t started to find and apply for scholarships yet. Yes, you’ve missed the opportunity to triple dip, but you can use your summer to jumpstart your scholarship pursuit. Be ready to apply immediately to every scholarship you find your Freshman year by developing your Scholarship Portfolio now!
Do you have any tips to add? We hope you’ll share them with the Scholarship Opportunity community in the comments below.