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Seek out scholarships to help you pay for college


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It takes time and effort to search for and apply to scholarships for college — but it's well worth it. Take it from Aubrey Perry, a college freshman who won enough scholarship money to pay for most of her first year of school, according to Hometown Life. A National Honor Society student with a considerable amount of extracurricular activity, Perry focused her efforts on seeking out as many scholarships as she possibly could during the college application process.

"I applied to over 100 scholarships — and won 14," Perry told the news source. "My first scholarship I won was $75 and the largest scholarship I won was $5,000. Those scholarships for $25,000 a year are really hard to get because they're the ones everyone hears about. But, I researched and applied to any and every scholarship I qualified for no matter how small — because it adds up."

Paying for college
Perry's awards totaled $17,000, which covered the majority of her freshman year tuition and housing at Michigan State University. She took out loans to cover the balance for this year, and plans on applying for scholarships to cover the rest of her college education. Perry's scholarship application process is far from easy. Some of them required everything from a video to a résumé to multiple letters of recommendation. However, the hours of hard work paid off, in her case.

Some people can be discouraged from applying for scholarships because they feel their family's income might be too much or their own academics and extracurricular activities too little to make them contenders for scholarship money. However, Forbes noted that many scholarships don't require information related to family income or SAT scores. When there's free money at stake, it's always worth it to apply, no matter how small the potential reward.

Tips for applying
Scholarship coach Shanice Miller shared her own tips with Forbes for increasing your chances of receiving scholarships for your academic or extracurricular accomplishments. For starters, look to your local community to see what's available. Students who apply for heavily advertised popular scholarships that award large amounts of money have a 1 in 200,000 chance of winning, while those who apply for local awards have a 1 in 20 chance of winning.

Forbes noted that starting early is crucial. Younger high school students may not even have college on their radar, but they should.

"I actually suggest starting in ninth grade because the earlier you start creating a plan for scholarships, the earlier you can start implementing strategies that can make [you] more desirable to the judges," Miller told Forbes.

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