Hi Diana! What a great way to start the week; getting a head start in finding ways to pay for college. You are ahead of the game as many students wait until the fall of their senior year to start applying for scholarships. While it works to do it during your senior year, why not space those applications out? You can start this process as early as the beginning of the 9th grade. Let’s dive into a few simple but powerful activities you can be doing now to better your chances at getting these scholarships.

Create a professional email for all things college!

As a former admissions officer, you would be surprised at how many students applied to college with a funny email address. It didn’t have any bearing on their admissions decision, unless it was offensive but why take the chances? If you don’t already have one, I’d recommend you create a Gmail account. You will get lots of free storage to be saving those college related items, building your college portfolio and allowing others to collaborate and give you feedback on anything. 

Craft an about me message!

Now that you have your brand new account with all the free tools. Create a google doc and title it “About Me”. This will be a document you occasionally work on and will help you with the applications. Here are a few questions that can help you get started:

  • What can you tell us about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?
  • If you could go to any college and study anything, where would you go and what would you study? 
  • If you could travel back in time, where would you go and what would you do?
  • What is something on your “bucket list”?

As you can see, the goal is for you to blend a little bit about your past, think of what you have enjoyed and what are things you want to do in the future.

Research Scholarships!

Okay so that wasn’t so bad, we’ve got those two things out of the way and now we get to the fun phase, researching scholarships to apply for. It’s common to hear to apply for as many as you can and that is good advice but it leaves you with plenty of uncertainty as to how many is too many? One way of doing it is allocating about an hour or so a week or bimonthly so that you are gradually building up how many you apply for. This also doesn’t feel very time consuming, yet you can make good progress overtime. You see, if you are applying during the fall of your senior year, time is very limited and you may need to spend 3-4 hours a week. Here are a few links to scholarship on a national and local level:

Bonus tip: using your resources!

Now you’ve got a plan, please refer to these links throughout your scholarship journey. Keep in mind, this is not a complete list. Consider building upon this list. Use google sheets to keep track of the ones you apply for, keeping deadlines in one place. Google calendar can be used to send you reminders of when deadlines are coming up! Good luck with you hunt for scholarships.