Students prepare for incoming scholarships

Karen Ramos

No, money doesn’t grow on trees. There isn’t any “easy” button for paying for college. But, the next best thing to help pay for college is to apply for scholarships.

Here’s a few tips for applying for college:

Start years in advance. The key to receiving the most college scholarships is to prepare in advance. You want to become as “well-rounded” as possible, meaning maintaining a high GPA and participating in extra-curricular activities such as sports and clubs. In other words, get involved in your community. Great volunteer opportunities arise all over and not only are they great for scholarships but volunteering builds character.

If you’re still a senior, you don’t have to panic. There are still scholarships that you are eligible for even without having a perfect GPA and lots of extra curricular activities. However, now might be a good time to get involved. And remember, you can still apply for college scholarships while in college.

Talk to your guidance counselor for advice. She should have many types of scholarship applications available in her office.

When possible, try to apply for the scholarship several weeks or even months before the deadline. This will help your reference have lots of time to complete a reference or form. It will also allow you plenty of time to complete the application without being rushed, so there is no reason to procrastinate.

Be sure to follow directions and follow them. One of the easiest ways to get your application thrown out is to not follow directions. If you are writing an essay, make sure not to leave out any of the information that they are looking for.

Have someone proofread the application for you. Ask maybe a parent, friend’s parent, mentor and possibly a teacher to proofread it for you. But, if for any reason, you don’t have someone to proofread it, try asking you guidance counselor or even your librarian.

Don’t fret. Do everything you can do and do your best. After you have mailed or submitted the application, all you can do is wait and relax.

Keep in mind that you can go to college even if you don’t receive a single scholarship. There are other forms of financial aid such as grants, subsidized loans, and unsubsidized loans available. And you can always work to help defray the cost of college.

There are many successful people who went to college without receiving a single scholarship. Be optimistic, but don’t panic if you don’t receive a scholarship.