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What You Need To Win A College Grant Or Scholarship
Most high school guidance offices provide support for students seeking to earn college grants and scholarship dollars. However, most high school guidance counselors are focused solely on administering the scholarship dollars they award routinely. This typically includes locally awarded scholarships and endowments that have been provided to the schools in previous years.
However, there are large amounts of grant and scholarship money which can be earned from foundations, corporations, government agencies, and private citizens from around the country and in many cases the high school guidance office will not know about these scholarships and may be unwilling to provide support for you in competing for these scholarships.
Keep in mind that completion of every scholarship application process takes time. It is not possible to compete for every scholarship available, nor would it be a good use of your time and resources. Also, you must be careful of offers that seem too good to be true as they probably are. Many scam artists will ask for money up front to provide professional assistance in completing scholarship applications.
While there are legitimate businesses that do provide assistance in the scholarship application process, you should use these types of businesses with great caution and whenever possible only on the recommendation of individuals you trust who have received results from these companies.
If you choose to pursue scholarships on your own without the assistance of the high school guidance office, then you need to be organized with a variety of documents. These are the same documents which are required for the high school scholarship process and may be available from the high school guidance office.
These documents include:
1. high school transcripts provide the student's grade point average and the student's class rank
2. PSAT, SAT, and/or ACT scores.
3. Listing of awards the student has received
4. Listing of activities in which the student has participated including documentation of the number of service hours earned and the activities in which these hours were earned
5. Scholarship essays
6. Letters of reference for the student
Note that the guidance department can not create or even gather all of these items. However, they may maintain records that will support you in completing scholarship applications, whether private or high school provided.
Sources of Private Scholarships: No single source exists to document every scholarship that is available or every organization that awards scholarship dollars. There are many organizations that you may wish to contact, or at least check their web site, to determine if they award scholarships. These include:
* The college or university the student plans to attend
* The specific school or department within the college or university the student plans to attend
* Service, civic, professional and/or community organizations with which the student, parent, or in some cases grand parent is affiliated.
* Religious organizations with which the student is affiliated.
* The student and/or parents employers
* National organizations that award scholarships
a. Government agencies and departments
b. Corporations and corporate foundations
c. National service and civic organizations
Making Yourself an Outstanding Scholarship Candidate:
It is important to remember that the student has opportunity to demonstrate their eligibility for a scholarship in many different ways scholarship candidates are not just based on grades. Scholarships are awarded based on a variety of different factors that include community service, involvement in student life and student activities, and volunteerism and other civic engagement.
Students should document their activities throughout the high school process to make the scholarship application process easier and to ensure that nothing is missed.
It is also important that if an essay is required for the scholarship that the student spend time preparing the essay and ensuring that the essay meets all the requirements. You should also consider having a trusted friend or peer review the essay for grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and flow. Finally, ensure that the essay meets requirements for length.
After scholarships are awarded:
Students who are awarded scholarships should remember that the people and organizations which award these scholarships do so because they feel that it is important to invest in the future and in the education of those who will lead the way in the future. However, it is appropriate to thank those who provide these awards if you receive one. When applying for scholarships on your own students should verify who to send the thank you notes to for each of the privately awarded scholarships they receive.
Disclaimer: The advice provided above is for informational purposes only. Material changes can and do occur. Programs, plans and definitions may change. Therefore, we encourage you to do your own research.
Preston is an avid reader and researcher of all subjects related to student financial aid and scholarships. Preston also shares his extensive research for free. If you are interested is finding out more about this subject you can view his lens on Squidoo.
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