Go for the Gold in the Scholarship Olympics
by Jean Burk
Let the games begin! Looking for scholarships can seem like a marathon. The competition is fierce, but hard work can pay off in scholarship gold. With the right knowledge and some persistence, students can put themselves ahead of the game and bring home the prize in the way of college money.
Finding college scholarships is not as hard as you may think. Begin looking at your local high school guidance counselor’s office as well as in your own community. Local organizations often have contests for area students who will represent their companies well. And the fastest growing scholarship resource is the internet with sites such as www.fastweb.com and www.collegeNET.com. Many are offered at the beginning of the school year and generally have a deadline. Make sure you only apply for the scholarships that you are qualified for.
On your contest application, be sure to convey who you are, where you are going, and what you have to offer them (i.e., the contest giver, the college). Make a good first impression with a concise and memorable description of yourself. The judges may never meet you so it will be your writing that will win the contest. Do not be afraid to brag a little on yourself.
You should also enclose the following items in your scholarship letter: a list of your volunteer work, extracurricular activities, leadership positions, and awards received. Add several letters of recommendation from teachers and employers. Attach a cheerful picture of yourself so the judges can connect your face with your application.
Most scholarship contests require an essay. Make sure to keep the topic positive and upbeat. Put yourself in the place of the judges and ask yourself how they might feel after reading your paper. Read some previous winning essays to help find clues to the judges’ preferences. Be as specific as possible when asked about your accomplishments. Somewhere in your essay, interject how you are a world-changer and a future leader who will represent the contest well if chosen as the winner.
Winning scholarships can be within your reach. Finding known and little-known contests and creating a stand-out application can make a great team to help you triumph in your college financial goals. Victory can be yours so good luck and go for the gold.
Jean Burk is a published author, speaker and teacher. Her “Master The SAT Class” has been featured on NBC, CBS and Fox. To sign-up for her free report, “Good-bye Student Loans, Hello Free College, go to www.collegeprepgenius.com     
Contact info:   jean@collegeprepgenius.com      81-SAT-2-PREP