Service Journalism: Different ways to find scholarships

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As college application season rolls around, Morse seniors find themselves scrambling to scholarship money. What most students probably don’t know is that they can start searching for scholarships their freshmen year!

Let’s face it: none of us can afford to pay $30,000 worth of tuition and fees per year so we need that scholarship money. Staff do their best to give students the resources they need, but many students are left uninformed on how to apply for scholarships. The following tips can help you successfully apply for scholarships and win free college money:

Scholarships are everywhere

Scholarships can be obtained from local businesses and online sources alike. If you are like most students who prefer the latter, you need to make sure the websites you are looking on are reliable. If the websites you are on are asking for your social security number of credit card information then they probably are not. Check out the following reliable websites to search for online scholarships:

Along with the SAT and AP Tests, CollegeBoard also provides scholarships for students; make sure to check those out as well.

Although a majority of scholarships are directed towards high school seniors and college students, there are scholarships that are directed towards students as young as freshmen. No matter what grade you are, it is never too early to start looking for scholarships. The money will certainly build up by the time you graduate.

Keep track of your GPA and test scores

Many scholarship websites may ask for your GPA and SAT/ACT scores to match you with potential scholarships. Scholarship applications may also need this information to confirm if you qualify. Always keep track of this information along with awards you received, extracurricular activities you’ve joined, and work experience earned during high school.

Write essays that show the good side of your personality

Some scholarships may require you to write an essay or two. These essays can range from “How did you contribute to your community?” to “What was your favorite subject in school?” Use these questions to show how you are as a person. Don’t talk about your grades or extracurricular activities here, that’s for another section in the application! Think about how you want the people reviewing your application to view you as person, not a set of numbers.

Get good teacher recommendations

Some scholarships may ask for teacher recommendations to get a better understanding of how you are in the classroom compared to your peers. Make sure you have a good relationship with at least a couple of your teachers, preferably in your core classes. Think about a teacher who you don’t mind reaching out to for help; he or she should know you as a person and not just a good grade in his or her class (though you don’t necessarily need a good grade in the class).

Keep track of your scholarships

You want to apply to as many scholarships as you can, and the more you apply to the more you need to keep track of them. Start a spreadsheet on google sheets and keep track of every scholarship you apply to, it will make your life easier! It should look something like this: