#CampusChat Q&A: Scholarship Tips Galore!

College visit scholarship questions - don't miss the opportunity to ask current students and staff about scholarships while you are there.Last night (October 14, 2015) on #CampusChat, Monica Matthews, our Scholarship Mom, shared her best scholarship tips. Other experts joined in for a lively conversation about the importance of searching and applying for scholarships. Parents and students received the best advice for searching, applying, and winning college scholarships.

Monica and other experts discussed all aspects of the college scholarship process including:  the application, the essay, getting strong letters of recommendation, using a scholarship/activity resume, meeting deadlines and more.

Following is the Q&A from the chat:

Q1.  How do students get started in the college scholarship process?  #CampusChat

A1  Make lists of student strengths, interests, possible majors, volunteering, leadership roles, clubs, hobbies, job info #CampusChat

A1  Get organized – place report cards, awards, honors, comm. service contact info into a folder #CampusChat

A1  Become familiar with terms:  FAFSA, need-based scholarships, merit scholarships, financial aid, net price calculator, etc… #CampusChat

 

Q2.  What are the best ways to find college scholarships?  #CampusChat

A2  Get the word out!  Ask employers, churches, clubs, and local businesses if they offer scholarships #CampusChat

A2  Check websites of all local high schools and colleges – most have a dedicated scholarship page #CampusChat

A2  Get a local list from high school guidance counselors, sign-up for scholarship matching sites #CampusChat

 

Q3.  How can students make their scholarship applications shine?  #CampusChat

A3  Follow ALL directions, include ALL required materials.  Only apply if fully qualified.  Type all apps. #CampusChat

A3  Proofread all parts of the app & have at least one trusted adult do the same.  Check for missed boxes/fields. #CampusChat

A3  Submit clean, well organized apps & research the background of the organization to use in the essay. #CampusChat

 

Q4.  What can students do to write a fabulous scholarship essay?  #CampusChat

A4  Make sure word count requirements are met & write with passion.  The essay is the heart of the app! #CampusChat

A4  Direct the essay to the organization offering the scholarship money.  Let them know WHY you are the best applicant. #CampusChat

A4  Fully answer the question asked.  If a 2 part question, answer both parts.  Start with a hook to draw the reader in.  #CampusChat

 

Q5.  How do students get the strongest letters of recommendation for scholarship apps?  #CampusChat

A5  Give the letter of rec writer LOTS of time to write, at least 2 weeks before app is due #CampusChat

A5  Give writer an activity/scholarship resume.  This helps the letter become more personal.  http://how2winscholarships.com/do-i-need-a-college-scholarship-resume/  #CampusChat

A5  Pick the writer carefully & let them know the focus of the scholarship.  (Future med student picks hospital  director) #CampusChat

 

Q6.  How can parents motivate students & help them in the scholarship process?  #CampusChat

A6  Parents should guide, help & assist in the scholarship process, but not do all the work for the student. #CampusChat

A6  Parents can find the scholarships & remind students of deadlines and essay details. #CampusChat

A6   Parents can help students get & stay organized, let them know they are not alone in the scholarship process. #CampusChat

 

Q7.  What are some ways to get a mailed-in scholarship app noticed by the judges? #CampusChat

A7  Mailing a neat (not crumpled or stained) application that is typed & well organized with proper postage affixed #CampusChat

A7  Making sure the app & materials get to the organization by the due date and NOT late.  Mail extra early! #CampusChat

A7  Student name on each page of the app, no missing documents, right materials for THAT scholarship included #CampusChat

 

Q8.  What are some submission tips for online only scholarship applications? #CampusChat

A8  Submit online scholarship apps early, websites can get overloaded at the last minute #CampusChat

A8  Include links to impressive Pinterest boards, personal websites, LinkedIn profile, newspaper articles #CampusChat

A8  Write in another program & save as info is transferred to the online app.  Info gets lost when sites/computers freeze. #CampusChat

 

Q9.  What are popular scholarship mistakes and how can students avoid them? #CampusChat

A9  Mistake:  Assuming they won’t qualify because of income or GPA.  Read all guidelines carefully! #CampusChat

A9  Mistake:  Avoiding scholarships w/essays.  Write a few great ones & reuse them.  Double check word count. #CampusChat

A9  Mistake:  Starting in spring of senior year.  Start EARLY!  There are scholarships for ALL levels of students. #CampusChat

 

Q10.  What are your 3 very best college scholarship tips? #CampusChat

A10  Print out the guidelines & read them over several times, check off materials as they are gathered & included. #CampusChat

A10  Never assume a student will not qualify for scholarships.  High income?  Apply for ones w/o financial need requirements. #CampusChat

A10  Search EVERYWHERE for scholarships (not just the net!) & have friends/family help you.  More eyes find more scholarships! #CampusChat

Author: Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer advises parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation at ParentsCountdowntoCollegeCoach.com. She is excited to share her knowledge with the readers of Smart College Visit.

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