20 Tips For Applying For College Scholarships

As seniors begin to celebrate their final year in high school, their thoughts quickly race to senior prom, senior pictures and grad night. However, it is just as important that they focus some of their energy into applying for college scholarships.

It is estimated that more than 9 million students receive grants or loans from the Department of Education each year. Despite the $83 billion that they will award this year, students and families must look at additional options to help pay for college including scholarships. Below are 20 helpful tips to begin the process.

APPLICATION PACKETS:

1. Request packets in advance.

2. Make copies of the packet information in the event you make anY errors and need to redo the
application.

3. Type your application packet.

4. If you do not have a typewriter consider having the document scanned and put on a disk.

5. Print your information on the application (only as a last resort).

6. Have your application reviewed for typos and clarity.

APPLICATION DEADLINES:

7. Send out the application a week before the application deadline.

8. Keep a copy of the completed application for your records.

9. If the packet needs to be received within a few days considering sending it overnight.

10. Do NOT send your application late, it reflects poorly on your organizational skills and ability to meet deadlines.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION:

11. Request letters of recommendation well in advance of deadline.

12. Request letters from individuals that can speak to your accomplishments.

13. A generic letter is worse than having a missing letter.

14. Provide your writers with prepaid postage envelopes.

15. Provide your writers with a resume or brief portfolio of your accomplishments and activities.

16. Follow-up with your writers to be sure that your letters of recommendation have been
mailed.

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES:

17. Include all extracurricular activities during high school.

18. Include activities that occur sporadically.

19. Service activities are necessary to be competitive.

20. Activities that demonstrate leadership qualities are also important.

FREE SCHOLARSHIP DATABASES

FinAid: The SmartStudentTM Guide to Financial Aid

Website address: http://www.finaid.com

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10 Tips for Transferring College Credits

College students head of each August to colleges both domestically and internationally. Many students leave with the belief that they will graduate from the college where they are headed. However, some will find that life circumstances such as loss of financial aid, family issues or poor academic performance may result in them having to transfer to a college that may be cheaper, smaller, or closer to home. There are some students who at the onset of their college career decide to attend a 2-year community college and later transfer to a 4-year college or university. Below are several tips to help maximize acceptance of transferred college credits.

1. Keep your Course Syllabus.

Make sure to keep copies of the course syllabus from all of your classes. The course syllabus provides information about the course number, number of credits, outlines the course objectives and details course content. The course syllabus will allow the transferring college to match the course with a similar course in their catalogue to see if you can receive transfer credit.

2. Keep your coursework.

Keep all of your relevant coursework from each course in a labeled folder. Some colleges may request work samples in addition to the course syllabus. Also keep copies of the quizzes, exams and homework within the same labeled course folder.

3. Make an A in your courses.

Getting the transfer college to accept all of your course credits will be a daunting task. However, to help ensure that your course credits are accepted, you are encouraged to make the highest academic grade possible in your courses. Colleges are less likely to accept courses in which you demonstrated average (C grade) performance.

4. Keep a copy of all report cards.

All colleges provide a college transcript that details course number, course title, number of credits for the course, credits earned for that course and grade earned. However, it is important that the student maintain their own report card file. Review your report card at the end of each semester to verify that both the proper grades and courses were credited to your college transcript.

5. Start the transfer process early.

Once you decide that you intend to transfer, meet/email an admission advisor from the transfer college to determine what necessary paperwork will be required. Adhere to all posted deadlines to ensure that you are able to enroll in a timely manner.

6. Keep a copy of all files.

Don’t give the transfer college your original paperwork/documentation. Make copies or have them make copies of the required documentation.

7. Complete any additional paperwork.

Some colleges may require additional paperwork, entrance exams, placement tests etc. Complete all required paperwork before the deadline otherwise it may delay your enrollment and/or the disbursement of your financial aid.

8. Provide an official transcript.

Transfer colleges will require that you provide an official sealed transcript from the registrar at your current college. Some will want the transcript to be sent to them directly from the registrar while others may allow you to hand deliver a sealed transcript to their office.

9. Request several personal copies of your official transcripts.

Be sure to request several personal copies of your official transcripts for your own records. In the future you may be required to provide transcripts from ALL colleges you attended regardless if you obtained a degree. It may be challenging to get your transcripts if you no longer reside in the state or if you need to provide transcripts ten years later for employment/educational purposes. Do NOT open the sealed transcripts as this will make them invalid and unofficial.

10. Be patient.

Transferring to a different college may be intimidating. Take your time and don’t wait until the last minute to start the process. Plan ahead to ensure a smooth transition to your new college.