Category: Scholarships

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Psst…Here’s the Secret to Winning Scholarships!
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Have you been applying to scholarships for a while now, but don’t seem to be having any luck? We’re betting that there are plenty of students who can commiserate with you. We know it can get downright frustrating to send out 5, 10 or even 20 applications without any results. Of course, there are always a few students who seem to have money falling out of the sky (insert evil glare here). So, what gives? Do they have an inside connection or have they paid off the scholarship committee? It’s doubtful. In fact, those students probably have many of the same qualities you possess. They do, however, have one thing you don’t…the secret to winning scholarships. So, do you want to know how they win all that free money? Read on!

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The Early Bird Gets the Scholarship!
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early bird scholarshipsDo you know when you should start looking for scholarships to help pay for your college education? If you’re like many people, you may think that you have to wait until your senior year of high school to start winning free money for college. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth, and it’s a myth that could cost you thousands of dollars in financial aid. Every year, we hear stories about students who waited too long to start their scholarship search. You probably know a few of them. They’re the ones frantically applying to every scholarship under the sun between March and May, hoping that they will win enough money to cover the gap between their financial aid offers and the cost of their dream college. Most will be faced with the tough decision of choosing an alternate school or taking on more student loan debt than they anticipated. Neither is a decision you should have to face.

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Make Scholarships Part of Your Financial Aid Plan
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financial aid planWhether you’re a high school student, current college student, or returning adult learner, you need to have a college financial aid plan in place. Why? Well, for one thing, finding money to cover tuition, books, housing and other fees will not be limited to your freshman year of college. You will find that the amount of money you need to cover your college expenses only increases over time.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for your financial aid package. In fact, you may find that the money your school offered as part of your admissions package decreases as you get further along in your degree program. This is known as front-loading and some colleges and universities use it to entice you to enroll at their schools. That is why it is so important to ask about long-term financial aid support when researching potential schools.

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Which Scholarship Search Tool is the Best? Let’s Find out!
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Best Scholarship ServiceLast year, CBS Money Watch published an article, “Do College Scholarship Search Engines Work?” In the piece, some well-known scholarship tools took quite a beating, especially one of the most prominent players in the space, Fastweb. As someone who has used all of the services listed, I was surprised at how badly they fared, but then I realized that the article didn’t fully discuss how it arrived at its conclusions. Yes, it states that Money magazine recruited some teenagers to test the services, but if each was using different criteria to search for scholarships, the results could hardly be considered fair. For example, I found it unlikely that Fastweb would return zero ‘promising’ matches, considering many of its sponsored scholarships are open to just about everyone. I also took issue with the article’s failure to include ScholarshipExperts and Chegg  in its results. Both are two well-known and deserving sites that should have been listed. So, I decided to do a little research of my own to see how several of these services would compare using the same data points.

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