It is not an easy task to get into college. It can be difficult, from the long application process to the entrance exams.
Paying for college can sometimes seem daunting. It’s not as hard as you think. But, I can tell you how to get a college scholarship. A lot of scholarships are not paid out every year because no one applies.
Billions. With a “B.”
A portion of that money can go to college.
This article will help you understand how I got over $100,000 in scholarship money.
What types of scholarships are there?
If you aren’t an athlete, genius, or child prodigy, it can be easy for you to believe there aren’t any college scholarships.
This is simply not true.
Many untapped scholarships go unclaimed each year. They amount to millions of dollars. There is money out there. All you have to do is know where to find it. This section will help you to see the possibilities for scholarships available in your situation.
How to find scholarships that pay thousands of dollars (and no one applies)
You have many scholarship options available for high school students. These resources can be divided into five categories:
Career centers for high school students
Bookstore and library
Sites for scholarship search
Organizations of ethnicity
Family and friends
These resources will allow you to make thousands in scholarship money. Here’s how:
High school career centers
Go to your high school’s career center. If your high school does not have a career center you can ask your counselor to help you locate similar resources online. High school career centers usually keep a current list of scholarships, sorted by date. Take a look at the list and note every scholarship that applies to you. It doesn’t matter if it seems too difficult, keep it in your mind. It’s amazing what you might find later.
The following information should be written down for each applicant. You’ll need it to start the application process. I suggest you write down:
The scholarship name
The amount it is worth
a due date
Whether or not you have yet applied
This can be done in an Excel or Google spreadsheet so that you can search, filter, update and save the data later.
It’s important to stay organized when you apply for hundreds (or even thousands) of scholarships. You can go as in-depth as you like with your spreadsheet, including details such as GPA requirements or whether you require an essay.
Tip: Check out other schools
After you have exhausted the scholarship opportunities at your school, contact other high schools to see if they can help you find scholarships. That’s right. You should call other high schools in the area to find out about scholarships. This will be a great idea because they won’t mind helping other high school students get scholarships. Most advisors will gladly help you if you take initiative with your education. Record all scholarship opportunities at your school and do the same with them.
In high school, I applied for 60 scholarships through my school’s career center. I also earned thousands of dollars for college.
Use library and bookstore scholarships to your advantage
After you have exhausted all scholarships offered by your high school and other schools, go to a library or bookstore to pick up the most recent copy of the annual scholarship reference book. These books can also be purchased on Amazon. However, it is cheaper to borrow one from the library. You can request a scholarship from 1977 if your library does not have a copy. What? What? These scholarship books contain a comprehensive list of scholarships and grants that you can receive as a high-school student. These books are fantastic resources for students looking for cash to pay college costs. Here are some good scholarship books:
The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2021 Gen Tanabe and Kelly Tanabe
Peterson’s Scholarships Grants & Prizes 2021
Pace Scholarship Academy’s Ultimate National Scholarship Book
These Amazon links are provided so that you can go to Amazon. However, I recommend purchasing them at your local bookstore or library so you can get started as soon as possible. After you have the book, you can do the same thing as you did with the scholarship resources at your high school and take note of any scholarships that you are interested in applying for. This is where you can add to your long list. You may not be able to use all the scholarships that you have written down, but it is important to build a huge idea list before you apply.
Looking for college scholarships?
After you have found all scholarships that you can through these resources, you can use different search engines to help you locate scholarships. Pro tip: It’s tempting to go online first. Guess what? Everyone else is doing it too. This means that the most difficult-to-find scholarships online will be the most competitive. We recommend that you start with career centers and books. Many scholarship websites offer features that let you search for specific criteria such as:
Special school-specific scholarships
Scholarships for specific interests
There are many more.
You can also set up email alerts, which I highly recommend, so you’re notified whenever the site finds scholarships that match your needs. These are some great websites to help you find scholarships.
Apply for a scholarship to an ethnic group
Scholarships are offered by many ethnic organizations. These scholarships can allow you to earn hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in scholarship money. These scholarships are often based on ethnicity, which means that you will need to be of a particular race or background to be eligible for them. Here are some suggestions:
Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund
The United Negro College Fund
Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Irish ancestry scholarships
German ancestry scholarship
It’s not enough to meet the racial requirements for ethnicity-based scholarship applications. The application must be submitted professionally (more details later).
Friends and family can help you find scholarships
Ask your parents and friends for information about scholarships. Many companies offer college scholarships, often companies your friends work at. Ask around! Sometimes the most surprising places offer the best scholarship opportunities. My sister worked at Kaiser when I applied for scholarships. Kaiser offered a college scholarship to Kaiser employees’ relatives. My mom is a teacher so she was aware of the California Teachers Union scholarship. These scholarships are not available to everyone because most high school students don’t know about them or the small eligibility pool. You automatically gain an advantage over others if you do find out about them. Even if you feel strange about it, remember that everyone wants to help a high school student. They won’t find it strange. They will admire your efforts to secure your future and get into college.
It is worth the effort to apply for scholarships.
It can be difficult to imagine all the work and options that it will take to earn a college scholarship.
Is it worth it?
This is especially true if you are busy with your senior year at high school. You may think that learning how to apply for scholarships is impossible when you have so many things going on, including friends, sports, hobbies, AP classes, and clubs.
However, is a good idea.
You will have to pay your college tuition if you don’t get a scholarship. This means that you will have to work long hours in college.
You have less time to study. There is less time to go out on dates. You’ll have less time to enjoy college life. Because you’ll be working.
College life doesn’t slow down, it speeds up. If you don’t learn the best way to apply for scholarships, you will miss out on all of it.
Do not forget to mention that I received over $100,000 in college scholarships. The average U.S. income is $30,000.
Ask yourself: Are a few late nights filling in scholarship applications or missing a game here or there worth three years of hard work?
It’s obvious to me that the answer is “YES”
Let’s now look at how to do this without getting burnt out.
How to apply everything without burning out: Why and how
The strategy is easy: Apply it to all of them. This may seem daunting. These applications typically require you to complete two things.
Send a recommendation letter
Write an essay or a few brief ones.
There is an easier way than writing 60+ essays. Each scholarship application will indeed take some time and nuance to make a compelling case. This will get the reader excited to award you the scholarship money. Letters of recommendation, essays, and other writings can make this process easier and more efficient.
How to get a college scholarship
Yes, it is possible to get a college scholarship or multiple scholarships. It’s more than that.
You need to be smart about how you plan to land scholarships and bank money.
Two things are the basis of this strategy:
Effective letters of recommendation
Strategically unique essay solutions
How to get powerful letters of recommendation
High school students are often afraid to ask for letters from teachers or other trusted adults. It can be awkward to ask teachers or trusted adults to write glowing recommendations for you. However, if your teacher was a good student, and you have a good relationship with them, they will be happy to write a letter of recommendation. This is something that most students don’t do, so they would be more than happy to help. It’s important to approach the matter the same way that I approach requesting a testimonial: professionally and with most of the work already done. You will need to provide several details when you approach your teacher to request a letter.
You want them to be able to see the whole picture.
They should highlight 2-3 points (maybe something that is specific to the scholarship)
You should include your resume in their reference list so that they can see your achievements.
They will be happy to write you a letter of recommendation if you give them everything they need. Many teachers will simply ask that you write a draft they can sign and edit.
Create college scholarship essays that are unique and strategic
If you want to write a truly outstanding scholarship essay, you will need to use a complex and intricate system of algorithms and systems. These are the steps:
Find out what the majority of students will write about
You can also write something else
…and that’s it. This is why it works. Many scholarship essays made judges cry. Imagine yourself as the judge who is going to read your application. They will be reading hundreds, if not thousands of applications per day. The fact is that 99.99999% will read almost identical applications.
Oh, you got good grades? Did you participate in extracurricular activities? Did you know that the junior year mission trip to Honduras was life-changing?
Get in line.
Is there anything particularly special about any of these things? It’s not a lot. If you follow the same pattern as everyone else, your application will not be given a second look. If you do not conform to the expectations of the scholarship judge you will grab their attention and allow them to fully consider your case. Follow the two steps above to do this.
First, find out what other students are writing about
Now you are sitting at your computer, the prompt for your scholarship essay is in front of you and you’re ready. You must stop before you can write one word.
Consider the applicants for the same scholarship. What are they going to write about? How can you defy the prompt? When I was applying for jobs, one of my essays prompts asked me, “If you could dine with anyone living or dead, who would it please?” This prompt is timeless. So I began to think. Nelson Mandela? That would be the “logical” option. To be fair, dinner with Mandela would not be the most exciting thing for a teenager. Perhaps President Clinton? It would be great for bragging, but what would you talk about? Although I could have written a bunch of BS about Mandela and the President, it would have made me sound like everyone else applying for the scholarship. Plus, I didn’t want to meet them. It almost seems like people apply to forget that this is a competition. What if a coach said to his players “Okay guys. We’re going to play against everyone in our division next Wednesday, so we’re just going repeat the same plays over and again.” No.
Why would you not want to do this? When it came time to choose who I would like to have dinner with, my gut told me to pick Chris Rock. This leads me to the next step…
Next, write your application using UNIQUE answers
If you look at the most common responses to the prompt you will be able to find an answer that is both surprising and unexpected. While other students were writing about historical figures, my answer was Chris Rock, the well-known comedian.
My essay argued that he is not only a comedian but a very intelligent social commentator. His jokes showed us the things we long to say but are afraid to articulate. I was able to deconstruct one of his jokes and go into a detailed analysis of why it was an examination of the racial attitudes in our society.
My approach was unconventional but professional. You shouldn’t use offensive words or make inappropriate suggestions when searching for unusual angles. You should instead aim to make your angle personal, deep, and a bit different from the rest.
Examples of scholarship essay questions (good examples and bad ones)
Here is some common essay prompts to show you how I mean it.
Example essay prompt question #1
“Is it fair professional athletes make millions of dollars?”
The boring answer is: “No way!” That money should be paid to firefighters and teachers. Athletes don’t play a sport.
Is this a bad answer? This opinion could be found in any newspaper’s “Letters To the Editor” section. It doesn’t matter if you get the right answer, it is boring and plays all safe.
You can also answer this question: “Salaries don’t get decided by fairness. They are determined by supply and demand. LeBron James is a millionaire due to the millions of people who pay to see him perform. The owners would also get the money if the athletes were not getting it. These are your only options.
Example essay prompt question #2
“Which of the major global problems would you choose to solve?”
Boring answer: “I would end the world hunger.” This is a basic human right that every man, woman, and child should have.
Is this wrong? You are not the reader’s human connection. They don’t want to stop reading.
Better answer: My life was forever changed when I spoke at the funeral of my best friend. Standing there in the storm clouds, it was clear to me that I had a personal responsibility to ensure that suicide is not an option.
Example essay prompt question #3
“Respond to this statement: America’s middle classes are in trouble.”
Boring response: “The heartbeat of America is the middle class.” To make sure everyone has a seat at the table, we need to remove big corporations from their places.
Is there anything wrong with that response? This answer is so cliché that the judge will roll his eyes at it. This will make them think twice before they can reply, “Full-ride scholarship.”
Better answer: “Classes don’t exist as fixed groups of people. Throughout our lives, most people move between different classes. Many people who were middle-class twenty years ago are now in the upper class.
Standing out is the power of being different
These answers grab you by your lapels and command your attention. These answers stand out in a sea of dull applicants. This is what makes the difference between following the crowd hoping for the best and thinking strategically and winning.
How to get scholarships and afford expensive schools
It can be difficult for average high school students to make enough money to pay tuition at a prestigious school. Yes, top-tier universities will help you in many ways if you can get in. Yes, the phrase “if you are good enough” can have very complex socio-economic connotations that we cannot address here. I am merely highlighting the false belief that tuition costs are holding top-tier college students back because they don’t have enough money.
No. It’s not. Top-tier universities will help you financially if you are good enough to be admitted. They will also offer a better salary and a more extensive network. College is not a technical school. It’s not just about estimating how much you will make when you graduate, as many people claim. It’s possible to have ineffable qualities surrounded by peers of a high caliber.
Although I believe you should, I am not saying “Go to a top university”. Don’t be afraid of applying to them because they are expensive. Tuition should not be the first decision you make. Don’t think about how much money you will need. First, you need to focus on getting into the best schools, no matter what that means. If you have been accepted, don’t worry about finances. Use the information in this article to secure lots of scholarship money.
Keep in mind that if you have been accepted to a university, they want you to go. They also have substantial scholarship funds to make sure you are enrolled at their school.
You might be left wondering, “Okay, now what?”
These are my last words of wisdom. If you’re smart enough not to give up, you will be able to consider these last tips seriously. These suggestions can make all of the difference.
First, don’t wait. Getting scholarships takes time. You can even apply for scholarships as a middle schooler.
It is never too late to begin thinking about scholarships.
It’s never too late to begin looking.
It’s best to begin earlier. Don’t panic if you are a few months away and worried about paying for college in the fall.
Follow the steps above with seriousness and you will find some helpful tips to help you get through your first year.
Don’t forget to mention scholarships available from your school that are open to second-year students as well as those who are not in the first year.
Don’t give up
Final note: There will be highs (“You just earned $1,000”) as well as lows (“We regret to inform …”).
You might feel tempted to quit and do the same thing that most high school students are doing regarding scholarships: almost nothing.
Keep at it. It’s a numbers game. You can apply for more scholarships and you will be more successful in applying.
Beyond college scholarships
Imagine if you think it’s great fun to get free money from friends and family to pay for school.
With just a few simple tasks, you can be WAY ahead of your peers in money matters with very little effort. This is something that most people only consider until their 30s.
You’ll be living a rich life if you start now. Instead of working your tail off at a boring job that you hate, and counting down the days to retirement, you will take control of your finances, and put money to good use.