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Berkeley_9432665 copyHigh school juniors need to turn their attention to private scholarships now. There are many scholarships with applications that are due in the fall of the student’s senior year. If you delay this process due to procrastination or because you are preoccupied with upcoming summer activities, you could lose a major opportunity to get money for college.

The worst way to apply for private scholarships is by using the so-called “shotgun” approach. This is where you blast out an application, often hastily written, to every scholarship that you find. Unfortunately, this approach will most likely result in a pile of rejections.

To win a scholarship, you need to be selective in the application process. This means that for every 10 or so scholarships you find, you may only end up applying to one of them. But how do you find the scholarships that are right for you? And how do you make sure you won’t miss out on scholarships with fall deadlines?

The following tips will help you in your search for private scholarships:

  1. Begin your scholarship search during the summer of your junior year, or earlier. The number one reason most seniors miss the fall scholarship deadlines is because they do not start their scholarship search until the spring. Either on paper or computer create a master file of the awards you want to apply for, along with their deadlines.
  2. Start preparing in advance. For the scholarships that are due in the fall, make them a part of your normal homework routine. Work on them a little every day. This will prevent you from being overwhelmed and ensure that you don’t turn in a hastily completed, last-minute application.
  3. Reuse your college application essays for scholarships. You can save yourself some time by pulling out pieces from your college admission essays and reusing them in your scholarship essays.
  4. Start by throwing your scholarship net far and wide. To find the right scholarship, you need to have a lot to choose from. Search the Internet , scour scholarship books, talk to your counselor and look in your community. Your job is to find as many scholarships that you could apply for.
  5. Look for scholarships within your interests. Instead of finding scholarships that match your interests, why not look at your interests to find scholarships. If you’re interested in computer graphics, check out all of the makers of the software and hardware that you use for awards.
  6. Focus on your community. One of the best places to find scholarships is in your community. Not only are there a lot of awards, but many of them are specifically designed to help students within the community. Therefore, as a resident, you are already pre-qualified.
  7. Read your local newspaper. Community newspapers often announce scholarship winners. Use this information to learn about local scholarship opportunities and also to do some research on who wins the scholarships.
  8. Ask for help from your high school counselor. Guidance counselors normally receive an abundance of information on various private scholarships. Take advantage of their knowledge.
  9. Start eliminating scholarships that don’t match you. Look at your list of scholarships with the idea of eliminating those that simply don’t match your background and talents. Don’t feel bad since each scholarship that you remove means less time wasted and more time you can spend on scholarships that you can win.
  10. Prioritize your scholarships. After you have eliminated the obvious awards that don’t match you, the next step is to prioritize the awards that do. You will need to be familiar with each scholarship and understand the goals behind the reason for giving the award.
  11. Consider timing. There’s more to your life than applying for scholarships, which means that you will need to consider deadlines when deciding which scholarships to apply to. You simply can’t apply to every scholarship, and you’ll need to use this as another way to prioritize.
  12. Don’t despair even if you do miss a deadline. The secret to winning scholarships is that you must apply not only when you are in high school but throughout college as well. Apply for the awards that you haven’t missed and get ready for next year when, as a college student, a whole new door of scholarship opportunities will open to you.

When it comes to winning private scholarships, the early bird really does get the worm. If you’re a junior in high school looking for private scholarship money, don’t try to do it alone. Contact our office ASAP. We have experts in college planning that can point you in the right direction.

The author of this newsletter is Brock Jolly.

If you have any questions about the information contained in this newsletter, or any questions about college funding in general, please contact our office.

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