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Scholarships: What Every Student Should Know

March 27, 2008 By: Category: Scholarships

Almost as soon as you start thinking about college, the money questions won’t be far behind.  As the price of higher education continues to skyrocket, more and more students seek scholarships to help pay for school.  Thousands exist, but how do you get them?

Here are four things you can do right now to jump start your scholarship process:

1)  Make the Internet Your Best Friend

Create a profile on a good scholarship search engine like Fastweb or check out our scholarship site recommendations.  Sign-up is free and FastWeb will match your profile with scholarships in their database.  Tip: Do your own research on these sites. You may be eligible for more scholarships than the site thinks. 

2)  Talk to Your Counselor (Again!)

Counselors are familiar with your skills, history and college goals.  They also may know of local or school scholarships you would have a good chance of receiving.    

3)  Find an Angle 

The main question on the minds of the people reading your scholarship app is “why”?  Why do you deserve this scholarship?  Talk to your family, friends and teachers for input about what makes you stand out, and figure out how to tie this into the “why” question. 

4)  Be Realistic About Your Financial Need 

Scholarships are either “merit-based” (meaning they look at something you’ve done to deserve the scholarship) or “need-based” (translation: you’ll need to show you really need the money).  Be aware of the requirements of each scholarship you apply for.  Demonstrating financial need is tricky, and you will usually have to file the FAFSA form, which will then use a government formula to determine your actual “need.”  Just because your parents don’t have $80,000 stored away for your college doesn’t mean you’ll automatically qualify for financial need.   For more information about FAFSA and financial need, check out this book: