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  With the cost of college continuing to skyrocket, many students will no longer be able to pay for school out of pocket. While many students use financial aid to offset the cost of school, this can a lifetime of debt.

College scholarships, on the other hand, are a great way to pay for college without taking on any debt. With planning, research, and careful preparation, you may be able to get scholarships to pay
for part, or all, of your education.

Fast and easy way to get a scholarship online.

Finding Scholarships Search online for scholarships.

Begin by searching for scholarships that are specifically for your grade in
school. For instance, there are many scholarships designed for high school seniors. The best place
to begin in the US is the U.S. Department of Labor's scholarship search, here, which searches over 7,000 scholarship opportunities by category and other keywords. If you are currently enrolled
in college, there should be
some resources through your
school's website that will help
you find scholarships.

You should also search for
scholarships within your institution that are designed for continuing students.
You can find a list of state
grant agencies.

TRIO offers guidance counseling and scholarship opportunities.
Think about your
background. Many
scholarships give money to
students with particular ethnic or
racial backgrounds. There are even
a variety of scholarships for
students in military families or for
students with parents in volunteer
or fraternal societies.
There are also a lot of scholarships designed
for students who are returning to
school late in life or beginning at a
non-traditional age. Think about
your background and search for
unique scholarships that you are
eligible for.
Check the Federal Student Aid website, here, for information on scholarships for students from military families.

If you're a current or former foster care child, you may be eligible to participate in the Educational and Training Vouchers program through
the federal government. Find
more information here.

Consider also checking websites from your church or religious organization, community organizations, and local businesses. Man students.

Keep track of deadlines.

Deadlines for scholarship
applications are firm. This means
that you can’t send in your
application late and expect you will
get the scholarship. Keep track of
deadlines by using a spreadsheet or
your personal calendar. Then you
won’t miss an important deadline.
Make a note of whether the
scholarship deadline is when
your paperwork needs to be
received or if it is a
postmarked deadline. If the
deadline is when your
paperwork needs to be
received, you should send in
your application at least a
week before it is due. This will
assure that it's received on

Avoid scams
While there are thousands of legitimate
scholarship opportunities out
there, there are also plenty of people who would be willing to take your money or steal your personal information. Use the following tips to keep your search

Don’t pay for scholarship information.

Most of the time, the information that
financial aid “services” provide is already available for free elsewhere.
Furthermore, these services may promise to “guarantee” financial aid or lock in a scholarship if you just give
them a credit card number.
This is a scam.

Be careful of application fees. In most cases, “scholarships” that require an application or processing fee are fraudulent. Reputable scholarships are there to help you out, not milk your money.

Don’t pay someone else to file a FAFSA.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is used in the US to help the
government determine your eligibility for aid. It’s free to file and is very easy. Save your money and don’t hire
someone else to pay to file it
for you. These companies are
never associated with the US government.
Be wary of “winning”contests. You may receive notification that you’ve “won” a contest or been “selected”
for a scholarship that you never applied for. If it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is. Usually, you will have to pay money in order
to claim this “scholarship,”
which kind of defeats the point.

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Preparing Your Application Gather important documents.
Many scholarship applications will ask for academic records, financial
information, and other details
about you. Try to gather these materials well in advance, as documents such as transcripts and
test scores can take a few weeks to

Type up a resume outlining your extracurricular activities.

Make a list of every activity that you’ve participated in during high school and college. This will include school activities, community and
volunteer activities, and work experience.

  Type up your resume on the computer.

Be specific with details on this resume.

Include the name of the organization that you worked with, the dates that
you worked or volunteered
there, the position you held,
and the tasks that you completed. Include scholarships and honors that you’ve received. If you have any special skills, such bilingualism or computer coding knowledge, list those too.
If you have a lot of activities
or experience, consider
making a long version and a
short (one-page) version of this resume. Different scholarship organizations may have different preferences. Check out this sample applicant resume from the University of Texas Honors Program.

Fill out a practice copy of
the application form.

You want to make sure your
information fits on the application
form, so fill out a copy before you
fill out the official version. If the
application form is not online,
make a photocopy of the form.
Type your information into
the form. Typing your information into the form is best, as it will be more legible than handwriting. Many scholarship forms are available online in PDFs, so typing your information into these forms is simple. Some forms may be available only in hard copy.

Writing a Scholarship Essay  Determine the audience
for your essay.

Each scholarship organization has
particular goals. This can influence how it wants to spend its scholarship money. Do a little research on the organization so that you understand who is giving out the money.

A good place to start is by looking at the mission statement of the college,
university, or institution.
Every higher education institution should have a mission statement and it should lay out the priorities of the school. Most philanthropic organizations will have mission statements too.

Follow the instructions. If the essay directions ask for answers to particular questions, make sure you answer them. If the essay instructions call for 500 words, don’t write 700. Double check the instructions after you’ve finished writing.
College scholarship essays are
sometimes boring because writers
often use cookie-cutter answers to
the assigned topics. Make sure your
essay has passion and personal
voice. This will help your essay
stand out to the scholarship
Keep things personal.
The scholarship committee is interested in getting to know you, not “modern society” or “humanity.” Use specific examples.
Avoid vague statements that.don’t say much. Go for vivid imagery to paint a picture for your
Ask someone else to edit your essay. Once you’ve finished your essay, ask someone else to read it and give you
Getting Letters of Recommendation
Find people who know your work.
Most scholarship applications will ask for at least one letter of recommendation. The letter can come from a teacher, employer, or other person familiar with your work. The letter should focus on your work, grades, community service, talents, and so
Don’t choose a relative for this role.

Friends usually won’t work either. Ask the person if he or she
will write a letter on your behalf. Don’t assume that your teacher or other referee will write you a letter. You must ask to make sure that he or she is familiar with your work and has the time to write a letter for you.
Give your application materials to your referee well in advance
send a reminder to your referee about writing a letter
Finalizing Your Application
Proofread your application. Go through each page of your application and carefully proofread it
Assemble your application
in order
Make copies of you application
Send in your application early. Don’t wait until the deadline to turn in your materials.
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Fast and easy way to get a scholarship online.

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