The Scholarship Application Process

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With the cost of a college degree rising year after year and the grand total of student debt continuing to grow, scholarships can be a lot of help for incoming freshmen and returning upperclassmen as well. Scholarships are provided by different businesses and institutions, including the federal government. Here are some key pointers to help you successfully obtain a college scholarship.

Start scholarship applications well in advance so you’ll be ahead of the game. There are many types of scholarships available — such as ones for academic achievement, sports, underrepresented groups, first-generation and more. For additional rewards, reach out to your guidance counselor, financial aid officer, coach or parents’ employers. Online search engines will also help you find scholarship opportunities — including many you may not have considered or didn’t know existed. Almost all online search options provide the ability to filter search results to match your qualifications with available aid.

Once you have a solid list of scholarships for which you are eligible, it’s time to review those results and prioritize certain ones. Start by focusing on the rewards with approaching deadlines and those you feel you have the best shot at winning. Always read the application form carefully — even the fine print. Some scholarships that charge a fee are most often scams. For more ideas on how to prepare, organize, search and apply for college scholarships, see the accompanying infographic.

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