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I Have not Received ANY Scholarships! 60+ applications!

I have applied to many merit and need-based scholarships. I am from a middle class family and have a 5.4 unweighted GPA, as well as a 1520 on my SAT. I am half Asian and half white. Both my parents are first-generation college students. We have low income and high assets, and I really want to reduce the financial burden of paying for college on my parents, especially since we aren't getting any grants from the government or university. I am attending Texas A&M University for Engineering this fall and am getting very frustrated, since I started applying since the beginning of the year. I filled my FAFSA correctly, and have already received loan options from A&M only. I have received two scholarship rejections and nothing else. I have spent countless hours on dozens of pages of essays, grammar checking, proofreading, rewriting, and I have not received anything. I admit I am not very good at writing in general, but I am really trying my best here! I've written about my success stories, my failures, my personal stances on controversial topics, my ethnic background, my interest in engineering, analysis of technological breakthroughs and applications of engineering, my dream to contribute to space exploration, environmental issues, and many other topics! I have applied to every local scholarship that I could find, and have also applied to nearly every scholarship I was fit for in three main scholarship-search websites. These are Scholarships.com , CollegeGreenlight.com , and ScholarshipOwl.com (Mostly CollegeGreenlight) I have mailed(physically), emailed, filled out Google Forms, done online applications, submitted multiple letters of recommendations from my teachers and counselor, sent my transcript, SAT scores, and just about anything else I was asked for every time. I have applied to scholarships related to my specific interest in Engineering, as well as more general groups, such as PSAs and quick-and -dirty 1 minute applications(only a couple). I also submitted scholarships relating to my passions as a competitive swimmer and high level musician. I have applied for scholarships ranging from $500 to $10,000. I even have a spreadsheet keeping track of each scholarship I have applied to. I always read the requirements and qualifications of each application, and made sure I live in the right area, have the right interests/experiences, and meet any other criteria. I have given all the above information about myself to these applications whenever possible. What am I doing wrong? To date, I have applied to over 60 scholarships since January. Thank you for taking your time to read this. #scholarship #college #financial-aid #help #engineering #rejections #essay


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Kuei-Ti’s Answer

Have you applied for Texas A&M's scholarships? It's usually easier to get scholarships from your school.

Scholarships are competitive. It's normal not getting any. In addition to having almost perfect grammar, make sure, when applicable, you emphasize on what you've done, how what you've done helped you improve you knowledge and skills, and what other good things resulted from what you've done in the essays. It might help to think of writing most scholarship essays as writing a hero's story.

In case you don't know - scholarships aren't the only way to get money for school. Several universities hire undergraduate students for grading student homework. Texas A&M's math department has such a paid position: https://www.math.tamu.edu/hiring/swork.html You can check whether other departments offer such positions and apply for them. Note that in most cases, you have to be at least a sophomore to get such a position, but there are exceptions.

Of course, there are other student jobs. Check the school's website to see if you can apply for them: https://jobsforaggies.tamu.edu/?_ga=2.151734512.854595880.1591595077-808738683.1591595077

Kuei-Ti recommends the following next steps:

Apply for Texas A&M's scholarships: https://scholarships.tamu.edu/Apply-for-Scholarships
Check Texas A&M's student jobs and apply for them if applicable: https://jobsforaggies.tamu.edu/?_ga=2.151734512.854595880.1591595077-808738683.1591595077

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John’s Answer

APPLY FOR EVERYTHING NATHANIEL– If you meet the basic eligibility requirements, go for it…Even if it’s for a small amount, say $500, and you spend three hours completing the application, you were just paid $166/hr for your efforts. Would you rather have a one in a thousand odds or one in a hundred? The fact that there are fewer students applying for these financial opportunities puts you in the unique position to try for scholarship that might not entirely match your interests or experience.

TRY DIFFERENT APPROACH – Write down personal interests, clothing brands, foods, companies, hobbies, talents, or skills and then add the word scholarship to their search. In my 40+ years of higher education experience, I’ve seen some really unique scholarships appear. There are countless scholarships out there designed to reward athleticism, a high GPA, or community engagement, but what about all the students who do not fall into these categories?

WATCH FOR SCAMS – Just because these scholarships are quirky doesn’t mean some of them might be too good to be true, and it’s important to keep your eye out for red flags. If they request any money to start the application it's probably fraudulent. Beware of telephone numbers with a 900 area code. A dishonest operation might put pressure on you by saying that awards are on a first-come, first served basis. Fraudulent operations may also claim endorsements by groups with names similar to well-known private or government organizations. For instance, the Better Business Bureau and government agencies do not endorse businesses.

STAY IN CONTACT WITH TEXAS A&M – It’s important to stay in touch with your school’s financial aid office, outside scholarships can affect this funding. Your school cannot refuse outside resources, however, they have to account any scholarships you receive as part of your total financial aid package. So, if a you bring in several outside scholarships, and their aid exceeds their cost of attendance, you might see a reduction in non-need-based aid.

Nathaniel check below for a few examples of strange scholarships that have been popular over the last few years.

John recommends the following next steps:

Debt.com Scholarship for Aggressive Scholarship Applicants • https://www.debt.com/our-story/scholarships/
Make Me Laugh Scholarship • https://www.unigo.com/scholarships/our-scholarships/make-me-laugh-scholarship
Shout It Out Scholarship • https://www.unigo.com/scholarships/our-scholarships/shout-it-out-scholarship
STARFLEET Scholarships • http://sfi.org/Backup/scholarships/
National Potato Council Scholarship Program • https://nationalpotatocouncil.org/events-and-programs/scholarship-program/

Thank you for your feedback! Lately I have been aiming for the smaller scholarships, around $500 to $1000. And your advice has been great! I'll make some changes to my process. Thank you! Nathaniel T.

Your Welcome Nathaniel, nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible.” John Frick

Thank You Lia. “Our generation has the ability and the responsibility to make our ever-more connected world a more hopeful, stable and peaceful place.” — Natalie Portman John Frick

Thank You Sara. “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” – Albert Pike John Frick

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Stephanie’s Answer

Two things I would like to suggest.

First, I would look into getting paid co-op or internship if possible. Use that money to help pay for school. After that first year, I found it harder to get any scholarships.

Second, one of the co-ops in our department did semester of study abroad in Spain. All the classes and everything was in English. She was able to get a multiple scholarships. Apparently, there were a lot of scholarships that are directly for study abroad but most are not used. Most people think it would be expensive, but it was actually a cheaper semester for her in the long run. This of course was one persons example and at Purdue University.

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Laura’s Answer

Please do not take the abbreviated nature of my response negatively - based on your background and tenacity, I will share with you what has always aided me when I feel exhausted in my applications or requests anywhere - remember that you only need 1 yes. Keep going until you hear the 1 and don't take the other 60 to heart. You will find the 1 who believes in you if you keep looking and open your mind and heart to any and all opportunties!

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Matthew’s Answer

Nathaniel,

I am sorry that you are having so much difficulty with this process. I encourage you to find some trusted mentors to review your submissions and coach you to improve your writing. I remember being frustrated with and overwhelmed by the scholarship application process. I ended up applying for an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship. That was fourteen years ago, and I can say that while my chosen path as an Air Force officer was challenging it was also very rewarding. You might consider this path, given your interest in engineering and space exploration. They like to give scholarships to engineers! https://www.afrotc.com/scholarships/desired-majors/

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Dante’s Answer

Did you fill out the FAFSA for 2020-2021? That would be the start. And depending on which school you plan to go to, have you looked into their internal scholarships and grants?

Try: https://myscholly.com




Hi, Thanks for the fast response! I have filled out the 2020-2021 FAFSA. And I already looked at those scholarships associated with my school. I really encourage you to read deeper into my question(Sorry its so long!) And I'd appreciate some advice if you can give it! My problems run a lot deeper than finding scholarships and doing the right paperwork. Nathaniel T.

Well to be honest, you affirmed that you are not patient with this process. And that is a conversation separate from what you have stated. Depending on the vary of scholarships, receiving a scholarship won't happen overnight. Dante Kelly

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Patrice’s Answer

Here are some options you might want to try:

1) If you don't write well, consider getting someone else who does to double-check your work before you turn it in.
2) Look for grants as well as scholarships (if you are not already doing so).
3) Consider applying to other schools that can offer you more financial aid, like Rice or University of Texas.
4) Look for local sources of money such as your home town's civic and social clubs (4-H, Scottish Rite, Kiwanis, etc.) if you belong to any of these or have access to them. Ask around with any local people you know whether they know of any local grants or scholarships.
5) If your parents both graduated from college, check to see if either of their schools or alumna/e clubs offer scholarships for alumna/e children.
6) Ask A&M if they offer any work-study jobs you can qualify for.
7) Take a part-time job once you get to A&M to supplement the cost of the tuition.
8) Take the student loans if you have to. I did, and it took me a long time to pay them off, but I did eventually do it and if you have good discipline and keep a steady job, you can eventually pay it all back.
9) Don't stop looking. Once you get there, you may be able to identify other sources of funding there you are not aware of yet. I re-negotiated my aid package after my sophomore year because I was told my grant was going to be decreased. You don't have anything to lose by staying vigilant.
10) Consider taking summer internships for companies that would sponsor you for grants or scholarships, especially if they are in the field you are studying (because then you would gain experience as well as money).

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Victoria’s Answer

I would not say that you are doing anything wrong. Major corporations often have scholarship programs and/or programs that pay tuition for students while they work part-time (if that is something you desire to gain experience).

Google "scholarship aggregator" and "scholarship programs" to research platforms that may allow you to apply for many at the same time (cut down on application time).

Lastly, nasfaa.org has a resource for students, parents, & counselors including state financial aid programs; and, state & regional tuition exchanges.

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Updated Translate

Victoria’s Answer

I would not say that you are doing anything wrong. Major corporations often have scholarship programs and/or programs that pay tuition for students while they work part-time (if that is something you desire to gain experience).

Google "scholarship aggregator" and "scholarship programs" to research platforms that may allow you to apply for many at the same time (cut down on application time).

Lastly, nasfaa.org has a resource for students, parents, & counselors including state financial aid programs; and, state & regional tuition exchanges.

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