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Best way to apply for scholarships

I'm a current college student and I'm finding hard to pay for the rest of my time at school. What's the best way to find scholarships that actually will help me. I've come so far and don't want to give up my dream yet.
#dreams #scholarship #scholarships #college #financial-aid

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Katie’s Answer

Hi Sarah - I would search for scholarships online that are more tailored to yourself (e.g. your degree, what state you're from, your interests, etc.) or ones that are offered through your school. Applying to broad, nation-wide scholarships can definitely become discouraging - so I would narrow down your search. Reach out to your school's advisors to see what programs they recommend, or reach out to your Seniors/Junior friends to see where they've had success with scholarships. Good luck!

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Lynette’s Answer

Hi Sarah, I’m sorry to hear you are dealing with financial hardship, but I’m glad you aren’t giving up!

I agree with Katie – your best bet for earning a scholarship is to go local, where people know you, identify with your background, or share your dream and interests. Seek out groups, organizations, and people who would most want to see YOU succeed, based on your unique characteristics. The more you can narrow it down, the smaller the pool of applicants, and the more likely you’ll be a top candidate for the award.

Where did you come from? What is your dream? What qualities make you unique? What is your family involved in? No matter what your background or interests are, chances are, you’ll find an association or special-interest group related to that, and a lot of them offer scholarships.

I don’t know your background, but here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

· Where do your parents work? Some employers offer financial assistance to employees’ children. My company does! Some industry associations & union groups offer them, too.

· Are you a member of a church? Your church may offer scholarships for members, or they may be willing to take up a collection for you, or start a fund in your honor. [The original “crowd-sourcing” was passing the hat around in church!]

· What is your ethnic background? There are countless organizations offering scholarships for students from various ethnic groups. Does your college have a multicultural office? They may be able to help connect you. For example, check out this list from NSDU’s Office of Multicultural Programs: https://www.ndsu.edu/fileadmin/multicultural/Scholarships/Ethnicity_Based_Scholarships.pdf

· Some groups support scholarships just for women, to help level the playing field. This looks like a great resource: http://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/scholarships-and-resources-for-women/

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas. Remember that persistence pays off. Even after you narrow it down, you may still be competing with many other applicants, so don’t let rejections discourage you. And, don’t be afraid to apply to lots of smaller scholarships, too, because the lower dollar amounts may deter a lot of less persistent students.

Good luck!

Lynette recommends the following next steps:

Check out this article on paid internships: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2016-06-29/discover-ways-to-land-a-paid-internship
You asked about scholarships, but here are some other ideas you may want to consider: • Ask for help from family and friends. Sites like https://www.gofundme.com/ make it easy to crowd-source the funding you need. In your write-up, emphasize: what your dream is, what you will accomplish, why graduating is so important to your dream, how far you’ve come, how hard you’ve worked, and EXACTLY how much money you still need to raise, in order to graduate. Calculate how much each item will cost (books, tuition, transportation, housing, etc.), and show the specific line items. Be transparent, so potential donors know their hard-earned money won’t be wasted. • Consider getting a paid internship to earn some money (plus job experience, networking & references): o Your alumni office should be able to connect you to alumni who are willing to hire interns from your school. o If your desired career field supports the environment, the EPA offers these: https://www.epa.gov/careers/student-internships • Ask your financial aid office about work/study programs: o My university hired students as teaching and lab assistants. They received a stipend, plus tuition assistance. o Programs like ROTC will help pay for your education, in return for a work commitment after you graduate. o Rural towns sometimes offer work/study programs, in order to recruit Doctors, Dentists, Teachers, and even Veterinarians to come serve in their remote area. I had a friend who did this help pay for dental school, in return for working as a dentist in a remote town in West Virginia for 2 years.