As you help college-bound students and their parents navigate the college admissions and financial aid processes, we call your attention to a new resource that USA Funds offers, free of charge, to help families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the FAFSA.
- The CollegeUp blog, which tracks financial aid trends, alerts readers to free FAFSA services, dispels common financial aid myths, and offers students and parents free advice and tips on paying-for-college topics. You can publish CollegeUp.org blogs on your website through our RSS feed.
- Links to other FAFSA-filing resources, including College Goal Sunday and the U.S. Department of Education’s FAFSA.gov site.
- Information about federal financial aid programs, including Pell Grants, work-study and federal student loans.
- Free, comprehensive scholarship search engines.
1. Become Brag Worthy
Find your passion and celebrate it though action in your school, neighborhood, and local or even national community. Scholarship providers are seeking applicants who are active and have the potential to positively impact society. Who does not look forward to the moment when they can claim a future philanthropist, industry leader, or superstar as one of their own. This could be you! Start exploring
your passion now. Over time your passion can develop into an expertise or you may decide there is a better fit out there. It is your life experiences, decisions, and actions that make you, well, you.
2. Begin with the END in Mind
Get started early searching for scholarships, chart your deadlines, and keep copies of all of your documents in one place. There is nothing worse than creating your accomplishments resume, requesting outstanding letters of recommendation, and painstakingly writing and reviewing your essay only to miss your deadline; not to mention thousands of dollars to fund your education!
3. Show Instead of Tell
A winning scholarship essay is personal, passionate, and specific. Your essay should paint a vivid picture of who you are through highlighting examples of your impact on the lives of others, involvement that showcases your shining personal qualities, and proof of the intestinal fortitude required of you to achieve your goals. If you tell the scholarship readers that you are passionate about helping animals there should be examples that show your commitment such as hours volunteered at the local animal shelter or possibly a memorable experience during your volunteer work that convinced you becoming a veterinarian is your destined career.
4. Secure Outstanding Recommendations
Scholarship readers can review your laundry list of extra-curricular activities and every grade you have earned, this information is in your application. An outstanding letter of recommendation enhances the portrait that you have painted of yourself through your essay and involvement. Choose wisely when requesting a letter of recommendation. A teacher, counselor, supervisor, or mentor whoknows you well and has witnessed your personal growth and accomplishments can help you highlight your best qualities. He or she will not mention that you were Secretary for FBLA but will highlight your accomplishments and impact on your peers while in that role. Your recommendation should, like your essay, showthe scholarship reader why it would be wise for them to invest in you.
5. Be Persistent
If you have followed all of the above steps, in your hands or on your computer, will be the makings of a winning scholarship package. Your polished application package in addition to persistence and careful scholarship selection increase your chances of submitting a winning scholarship application. Tailor your application to each scholarship and pay attention to the details. Apply, apply, apply and…
Check out our Minute for Your Money video clips!
These are short, quick and timely reminders on how to stay financially healthy throughout the year!