scholarships

Should You Keep Your Religion To Yourself?

Of the 200+ scholarship help articles I’ve written in the last year or so, the one that’s gotten me the second-largest amount of hate mail is the one about thrusting your politics and religion upon scholarship judges. (It’s a distant second, mind you — the top spot is still held solidly by the admittedly inflammatory …

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Nontraditional Students: Discriminated Against For Scholarships?

The most common question I get around here is also the toughest to answer. It’s some variation of this: “I seem to be doing everything right, but I’m not winning any scholarships. Why?” It’s hard to answer because, without access to each person’s scholarship application materials, it’s hard to say what kind of mistakes he/she …

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Why Don’t I Ever Win? (or) Why Doesn’t My Kid Ever Win?

Happy Easter from the wind-swept plains of Western South Dakota! Where the usual surprise (not really) April blizzard hit us overnight, and is providing good cover for the Easter Bunny as he creeps nigh. Wow, we got a ton of great responses on my hate mail post yesterday, and one of the best was from …

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Scholarships: Community Service Optional? (Counselor Buddy!)

I have a friend who’s a high school counselor and, despite how often I complain to her about poorly prepared high school students, still talks to me and seems to like me at least a small amount. Let’s call her “Counselor Buddy” from here on out. Counselor Buddy does a great job advising her students …

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Scholarships vs. Marketing & Scams: The Wisdom of Jen

Happy Tuesday, estudiantes! I told you yesterday that I was holding back a really good comment from a gal named Jen who added her thoughts to my initial $10,000 Scholarships post. She has some good advice that’ll help you cut through the mountain of scholarship-related bullshit on the Internet, and I’ve chimed in throughout to …

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The $150,000 Scholarships That Aren’t on Fastweb

First of all: Bookmark this page! You’ll want to re-read it many times in the near future. And since you opened it, I’m going to assume that you’re at least a tiny bit interested in a scholarship that would pay you $150,000. After all, it’s not like you haven’t thought about this topic before. If …

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Scholarship Screwup #10: Act Like You’ll Starve If You Don’t Win

Judges know that you would very much like to receive the scholarships that you apply for. It’s natural for you to have some emotional stock in whether you win or not. College costs are serious business, and every dime you can get someone else to pick up for you, the better. But in hundreds of …

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Scholarship Screwup #9: Bore Me With Irrelevant Crap

I know, I know – that’s an abrasive way of putting it for those of you who are easily wounded. In other words, then, do yourself a favor: exclude any unnecessary information that has nothing to do with your scholarship essay. Everything in your essay should be relevant to the topic at hand. We receive …

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Scholarship Screwup #8: Preach To Me

Scholarship essays are certainly about self-expression, and lots of applications ask open-ended questions about how you, the forward-thinking leader of tomorrow, might solve today’s problems. That gives you full license to come out with your ideas on how to change things, and in so doing, you’ll probably find yourself pointing out the flaws of society …

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Scholarship Screwup #7: Give No Details

Over the past two days, I’ve written about how school activities alone aren’t enough to win you scholarships, and that worried some of you quite a bit. Fear not, friends: today we’re continuing yesterday’s discussion of how to beef up those scholarship applications and cash in on the mistakes of your classmates. Here’s a huge …

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Scholarship Screwup #6: Forget About Family

Yesterday I wrote about how school activities alone weren’t enough to win you scholarships, and that sent some of you into a panic. Seems many readers have been banking quite heavily on those school activities to win you some money. Not to worry: Today and tomorrow, we’re addressing how to beef up those applications and …

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Scholarship Screwup #5: Ignore the World Outside High School

The average scholarship applicant lists a truckload of school-sanctioned activities in which he/she has participated over the four years of high school. Sports teams, clubs, projects, competitions, etc. This can only be a good thing, right? After all, that’s what your parents and counselors have been telling you all along — the more stuff you …

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Scholarship Screwup #4: Give Us Some Vague, Self-Absorbed Plans for Your Future

A rule of thumb in scholarship essays (and life, if you will) is that it’s better to be specific than to be vague. Society is accustomed to using vague labels for people and what they do: student, businessman, housewife, factory worker, etc. These labels are convenient for the normal “small-talk” conversations that fill our daily …

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Scholarship Screwup #3: Cry Me a River

Hardships: We all have them, right? If you read as many scholarship applications as I do, you’d certainly think so. With college costs spiraling upward every year and families pinched for cash to pay for it all, students are going all-out to make sure the committees understand how rough they have it.  But the truth …

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Scholarship Screwup #2: Bore Me With Your GPA

Nothing angers the high-ranking students (and their teachers) more than this one, but I’ve some bad news for you, and you’re not going to like it. Are you sitting down? OK, here goes: Your GPA doesn’t really matter that much. If at all. It’s ok, I’ll give you a minute to let it sink in. …

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Scholarship Screwup #1: Thrust Your Religion and Politics Upon Me

More practically, consider this very basic truth: the more contentious the issue you choose to write about, the more likely it is that one or more committee members will completely disagree with you. Divisive issues divide, and in all likelihood, you’ve got no idea who’s even judging your scholarship application, let alone the personal and political beliefs of those people.

NY Times: Basically, you’ll never save enough to pay for college

It’s not a long article — more of a USA Today-style nugget — but it confirms what most of us already know, which is that college tuition rates are rising much faster than our rate of savings (or the interest anyone plans to earn on those savings in the very near future). Long story short: …

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5 Ways to Win More Scholarship Money

If you’re a student who’s already in college or about to start, you have my deepest condolences. The economy you’re inheriting hasn’t only devastated the job market you’ll soon be trying to claw your way into, but also the financial resources of the universities to which you’re applying. That’s right – those fat financial-aid packages …

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You must Beat the Stack.

Once you read this section, it’ll seem very obvious, but most people completely overlook the advantage you can give yourself by paying great attention to the way you physically package your essay. Remember Rule #1: Competitors are everywhere, and you must put your best foot forward. Your essay’s packaging is one way to do this …

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The Most Basic and Fundamental Rule

Please, please, please: Just follow the instructions. Many of the tips you’ll read about in this book are very specific, but this one I’d consider more as a very general “rule to live by” – at least as far as scholarship applications go. It’s a cliché that rules are made to be broken, but don’t …

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Three rules worth repeating. Over and over and over again.

There are several very important themes in this book, and you’re going to hear me repeat these themes over and over again. And again. You’ll probably get tired of them, but the reason I repeat them so often is because they are constantly overlooked by scholarship applicants every day, and because of that, these applicants …

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Rule #1: Competitors are everywhere, so put your Best Foot Forward at all times.

You’ve probably heard me talk about this website before, but it bears repeating: Thanks to the Web, you now have access to thousands of scholarships you never would’ve known about prior to the Internet age. That’s the good news. The bad news is this: So does everyone else. The competition for scholarship money is more …

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Why are Scholarships so much harder to get now?

Whether you’re a student or a parent, you’ve probably been assuming all along that getting a scholarship today is not much different from getting a scholarship 5, 10, or even 20 years ago. You compete against your classmates, and may the best man/woman win, right? Wrong. The process of giving and receiving scholarships has changed …

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