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I need an academic counselor? I'm a junior.

I know my school has counselors, but I feel like this is such an easy platform to get answers. I'm a Junior, and I want to start applying to scholarships. I have high expectations for myself and my future, I really want a head start now. #academiccounselor #NHS #HOSA

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Subject: Career question for you


2 answers

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John’s Answer

Apply for scholarships early and often. Some scholarship deadlines are as early as a year before you start college. You don’t need to wait until you’ve made your final decision about where you’re applying for school. There are college scholarships out there for everyone: crafters, gamers, vegans, green thumbs, Trekkies—you name it. Scholarships aren’t just for straight-A students or all-star athletes. As you get ready to apply for college scholarships, keep in mind that different scholarships have their own qualifying criteria and require certain documents. Don't exaggerate your grades, memberships, skills, or qualifications. You’re more likely to receive scholarships if you apply for the ones that match your interests and skills.

Getting a head start gives you more time to research which scholarships are worth your time and energy. Once you know the best options, you’ll have plenty of space to complete the applications that other students may have skipped. Some scholarships are available to freshmen and sophomores in high school, so knock those applications out of the way as early as possible. Many scholarships have limited funds. That means the earlier you apply, the more likely it is you’ll be rewarded before that budget runs out. It’s even more of a reason to get a move on.

Gone are the days of paper applications in the guidance counselor’s office. Now you can quickly search through huge databases of thousands of available scholarships online. Through filters and keywords, you can find the ones that fit your qualifications, experiences, background, or unique interests. Focus on the scholarships you’re a good match for and rule out the ones where you don’t meet all the requirements. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the options. Just take your time narrowing down the scholarships that make sense. You shouldn’t have to pay for scholarships or for scholarship searches. School counselors and school financial aid offices can recommend reputable options.

Spread the word to your employer, coaches, friends, and members of your community that you’re looking for scholarships. Ask your parents to check with their friends and HR departments at work about scholarships for family members. There are usually a lot of scholarships offered locally that are not particularly well advertised. You can often find these through your high school counselor, in the local paper, or at the library. Check in directly with local foundations, community organizations, and local businesses to see if they offer any scholarships, too. Ask your guidance counselor which scholarships are the most popular and which are more tailored to your background. You can also work together to find specific scholarships from the schools you want to apply to. Talking with an expert will help you focus your search so that it serves your needs more efficiently.

When applying for scholarships (or jobs or colleges), the person reviewing your application might Google you. Make sure they find the right kind of results. Most students opt to make their social media private, but you should know that there are still ways for colleges to see what you post. It’s a good idea to refresh your LinkedIn profile, social media accounts, and personal website so you can control what searchers will find. If you don’t have a personal website or portfolio, now is the time to make one. Sites like Wix or Squarespace offer free, easy-to-use website builders. It’s never too early to invest in a domain name and website you control. Getting your name out there and highlighting your strengths and interests is a great way to make yourself known and available.

Hope this was helpful

John recommends the following next steps:

BE ON TIME – Some scholarships are very quick and easy to apply for. Others take a little more time. Meet all deadlines. If the scholarship application can’t be submitted electronically, use certified mail. Missing a deadline could disqualify you.
BE DILIGENT – Pay attention to details. Some scholarships require you to write an essay while others may want letters of recommendation. Send in what’s requested and proofread everything. Typos and missing materials can be the difference between winning or losing a scholarship.
BE PROACTIVE – Apply for scholarships every year you’re in college. Approximately 50 percent of available scholarships are for students already enrolled in college. Don’t overlook smaller scholarships. Even a few hundred dollars can help offset the cost of textbooks and supplies.
TAKE A SCHOLARSHIP CLASS – If your school or community offers one, take a scholarship class. A class can give you step-by-step instructions to help you with the scholarship process. If you don’t have any in your local community, you can see if you can take a class online. There are a lot of options to gain some extra help in filling out your scholarship applications.
Thank you comment icon Thank You for your continued support Kim. Our input determines others outlook. Our outlook determines others output, and our output determines other potential futures. John Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You Anonymous in Buckeye, AZ. If you talk about it, it’s a dream. If you envision it, it’s possible. If you schedule it, it’s real. John Frick
Thank you comment icon Tasneem, the way you see your future determines your thinking today. You're thinking today determines your performance today. Your performance in the today of your life determines your future. Believe you can and you’re halfway there. John Frick
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Kim’s Answer

Hi Anonymous!

John gives excellent advice! Bottom line, starting now, and all through the remainder of your academic career, YOU need to be responsible for You! Academic advisors have way too many students to be able to delve into what is going to be best for you. There's no shortcut. Read. Don't skip over anything. Read it all. Make lists. Do whatever works for you!

When you get to college, you will find there are different lists of required classes. There are the basic state required ones, ones the school requires, and ones required for your major. Sometimes the advisors are good and give you checklists to help keep you on track. Other times, not so good. So, make your own checklists!

The more you can learn to be your own best advocate, the further you will go, in school and career! Sorry I don't have much to say about scholarships. Apply to all the ones you are qualified for! It's a lot of work, but it's worth it!

Good luck!