Winning free money, without the random chances of a lottery, can significantly reduce your dependence on student loans when your child is ready for college. Many families procrastinate in their search for free money because of time commitments for school, sports, extracurricular activities, work, or lack of information.
With the cost of tuition for a college degree averaging between $50,000 to over $200,000, depending on whether you attend a private or public school, or whether you are in-state or out-of-state. Add books, fees, technology, room and board, and those numbers more than double. Recognizing the true cost of a college degree can increase the motivation to find free sources of money. The challenge is that most students wait until they begin filling out college applications to start applying for scholarships. At that point, there is a lot of missed opportunity for winning thousands of dollars in scholarships.
Here are the best ways to increase your chances of winning more college scholarships to assist with the high cost of a college education.
1) Start Early. There are scholarships for nearly all ages from elementary, middle and high school students. You can also find scholarships for graduate degrees, adults returning to school, and other non-traditional educational routes. Beauty pageants, spelling bees, and other contests start early awarding scholarships to children at very young ages.
For most students, you can enter information on automated scholarship search websites as young as 13 to automate the process, and send potential scholarships to an email throughout the middle school and high school years. Update the account as the child’s experience warrants to ensure the maximum number of scholarship opportunities.
2) Start Local. National scholarships get a lot of attention from students across the country. Local scholarships have a lot less competition, making them easier to win. You may not find these in the national databases. Instead, look for local groups, non-profits or organizations that want to support local children.
3) Start Small. Do not begin by applying for 100 national scholarships. . Instead, choose five or ten applications with close deadlines and focus on giving them your full attention. Then, as you apply for one, find another to replace it. You will create a pipeline of scholarship applications that will reap solid results over time. Smaller scholarships tend to receive fewer applications because many students do not feel they are worth the effort. However, if you spend two hours perfecting an application for a $250 scholarship, that breaks down to $125 an hour in value. Follow this procedure 100 times, and you could pay your way through school. All those small amounts add up, especially if you have six years of applying to accumulate the balances
4) Ensure You Qualify. Spend your time on offers you fully qualify for and find ways to make your application stand out. A scholarship requiring a GPA of 3.5, will not accept a 3.4 average. It is a simple way for the selection committee to rule out a large number of applications from the start. If you always qualify for each requirement, you will likely find yourself on the short list of finalists.
5) Stay on Top of the Details. Just as not qualifying leads to quick elimination, so will not following the rules. If they ask for an essay of no more than 1000 words, do not send in one that is 1001 words. Respecting the guidelines shows the selection committee you can follow directions and this increases your chances of winning. Don’t reuse the same application over and over. Make sure yours is specific to the scholarship you are seeking.
6) Put Your Best Foot Forward. A scholarship is like an interview on paper. You must impress and convince a stranger that you will make good use of their money and provide a return on their investment through the pursuit of your degree. Companies and organizations want to invest in students who will best represent their values. The application is how you show them you are worth their investment. Treat the application as you would the SAT exam, a course final, or major class project.
7) Build Your Resume. Work experience, hobbies, memberships, and other outside activities can lead to qualifying for more scholarships. For example, employers such as Chick-fil-a offer employee scholarships, and local clubs such as the Rotary, scouting, and hunting clubs offer scholarships to either members or students in the community.
8) Perfect Essay Skills. Writing an essay is an opportunity to persuade the selection committee to choose your application. Fill in the blank applications make it difficult to stand out. Short answer questions and essays are a key way to create a stronger application with less competition.
9) Work in Batches. With thousands of opportunities for scholarships, you can get overwhelmed trying to apply for everything, leading to rushed applications that are less likely to win any money.
10) It is a Numbers Game. Most scholarships are not random drawings based purely on luck. Over time you will increase your skills and offer stronger applications if you stick with the process. The more applications submitted, the more scholarships you will win. The less money you must borrow to pay for school.
If you are burdened with high amounts of credit card debt and are struggling to make your payments, or you’re just not seeing your balances go down, call Timberline Financial today for a FREE financial analysis. Our team of highly skilled professionals will evaluate your current situation to see if you may qualify for one of our debt relief programs. You don’t have to struggle with high-interest credit card debt any longer. Call (855) 250-8329 or get in touch with us by sending a message through our website.