Junior Year: Winter, Step 4

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Get Scholarships: Start Your Search Junior Year

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Scholarship scams exist. Watch out for websites with flashing lights and scholarships that sound too good to be true.

Millions of dollars in scholarships goes unclaimed every year. Start your quest for free money for college.

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If someone said you could get free money for college, would you turn them down?

Of course not.

Well, you CAN get free money for college. It just takes a little time and effort on your part.

Intro to Scholarships

We’ve touched on the scholarship basics but it’s important to remind you that scholarships are different than loans. And loans and scholarships all fit under the umbrella of “financial aid” but aren’t interchangeable. You have to repay loans, scholarships provide money that you don’t have to pay back.

But of course, there will be stiff competition when it comes to winning this free cash for college. American higher education has never been more expensive, so millions of students just like you are trying to get their hands on scholarship money.

Before you start your first scholarship search, keep in mind these key points:

  • Scholarships are usually merit-based (recipients are chosen by talent or skill), and grants are usually need-based (recipients are chosen by living situation or financial circumstances), but in today’s college environment they’re basically the same thing.
  • Competition among scholarships that divvy out big money is high, so never count out the smaller awards. They can add up.
  • It’s worth repeating: millions of dollars go unclaimed each year. Don’t stop searching until you get your share.

Your First Scholarship Search

You’ll fill out most of your scholarship applications when you’re a senior but your junior year is an excellent time to get familiar with local scholarships and the scholarship application process in general.

Step 1: Pop by your guidance counselor’s office for information on local scholarships and any tips she might have for eager, scholarship-seeking youth like yourself. Pick up any application forms she has on hand.

Step 2: Get acquainted with the scholarship application form. Look at one of the applications you picked up from your counselor. What will you need to apply? Make special notes of where you can find the scholarship’s important information – most notably eligibility requirements, award amount, and scholarship deadlines.

Step 3: Save all the scholarships that look intriguing.

Step 4: Separate your scholarship applications into two piles:

  • Scholarships that need action now
  • Scholarships that need action later

Step 5: File those that need action later in your college preparation organization system. For those that need action now, get to work!

Some of the scholarships you find are going to be a pain to apply for. They might require essays, questionnaires, or letters of recommendation. Don’t let this stop you; think of scholarship applications as your part-time job. And it might keep you from needing one in college.



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Junior Year: Fall, Step 1: Start Junior Year By Taking the PSAT-NMSQT Test Junior Year: Fall, Step 2: Organize College Planning Strategies With a Counselor Junior Year: Fall, Step 3: Explore Colleges By Region, Size and Specialty Junior Year: Fall, Step 4: Research College Costs and Tuition at Prospective Col... Junior Year: Fall, Step 5: Narrow Your College List: Select 10 to 20 Schools Junior Year: Fall, Step 6: Develop a System for Your College Documents Junior Year: Fall, Step 7: Choose a New Extracurricular Activity for Junior Year Junior Year: Winter, Step 1: Study Hard: Junior Year Grades are Essential Junior Year: Winter, Step 2: Avoid SAT and ACT Disasters: Make Your Test Prep Pl... Junior Year: Winter, Step 3: Juniors: Take Your Extracurricular Activities Up a ... Junior Year: Winter, Step 4: Get Scholarships: Start Your Search Junior Year Junior Year: Winter, Step 5: Attend College Fairs: Compare Schools and Refine Yo... Junior Year: Spring, Step 1: Dominate the SAT or ACT Junior Year: Spring, Step 2: Beat the Letter of Recommendation Rush Junior Year: Spring, Step 3: Educate Yourself About College Admissions Requireme... Junior Year: Spring, Step 4: Get to Know Colleges: Schedule Visits and Interview... Junior Year: Spring, Step 5: Impress College Admissions: Build a Strong Senior S... Junior Year: Spring, Step 6: Juniors: Make the Most of Your Summer Junior Year: Spring, Step 7: Know the Facts About AP Tests Before Test Day Junior Year: Summer, Step 1: Use Summer School to Get Ahead With College Prep Junior Year: Summer, Step 2: Improve Your Resume: Get a Summer Job Junior Year: Summer, Step 3: Begin Practicing Your College Essay-Writing Skills Junior Year: Summer, Step 4: SAT and ACT Test Season: Are You Prepared? Junior Year: Summer, Step 5: Research Financial Aid and Develop Your Plan Junior Year: Summer, Step 6: Summer Project: Visit College Campuses

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