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Score a Scholarship!

November 1, 2016

Learning new things is priceless, but getting an education is can be expensive—that’s why scholarships are so important. If your child is heading off to college or if you’re thinking about going back to school yourself now is the time to start thinking about scholarships.

College used to be within the financial reach of millions of Americans, but that changed in the 1970s. Since that time college costs increased nearly every year at a higher rate than inflation. Today, CollegeBoard reports that the average American will spend up to $11,580 for one year at community college and up to $45,370 for one year at a four-year college. To avoid the trap of student loans, scholarships are crucial.

November is National Scholarship Month, the perfect time to start applying for aid for the upcoming academic year. Listed below are three short scholarship tips.

  • Create a routine. Just like a job search, applying for scholarships is a full-time job and requires a lot of time and dedication. It takes hours to search for scholarships, fill out the applications, acquire the scholarship recommendation letters, and submit the essays or required assignments. To apply to as many scholarships as possible you’ll need a regular schedule. Set aside a few hours every day and stick to it. Make a weekly scholarship goal—for instance, try to complete about five scholarships a week.
  • Keep a look out for unique scholarships. Searching for scholarships can be a daunting task because there are so many out there. There are scholarships based on academic achievements, military connections, artistic accomplishments, community service contributions, and financial circumstances. But don’t forget to look for unique scholarships as well. For instance, there are special scholarships for vegetarians, amateur cartoonists, and greeting card artists. If you have a unique skill or interest there may be a scholarship just for you.
  • Get organized. Once you’ve made a list of scholarships that you’re interested in it’s time to get organized. Review the requirements for the scholarships and make a list of what you’ll need, including the number of essays, portfolios, and recommendation letters you’ll need altogether. Estimate how much time you’ll need to accomplish each task and set reminders on your smartphone’s calendar. Also, add the due dates for the scholarships to your daily planner or calendar so you won’t forget.

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