Financial Aid, Tuition

Increase Your Chances Of Getting A Scholarship

Graduating from college is a huge accomplishment. However, many students graduate with substantial debt from both college loans and credit cards – and some of those students go on to accrue even more debt with graduate study.

Make no mistake about it, college is expensive. But, not all students graduate with huge amounts of debt. There are options for students, if they are willing to put in the time and the effort. Scholarships are abundant for college undergraduates, and taking advantage of them is critical.

education-cost-Ken Drysdale

Whether you’re a high school student or the parents of a high school student, it’s important you understand that preparation and the scholarship search should begin early.

Grades matter

Many scholarships require that students have a minimum grade point average (GPA). Additionally, many colleges give out merit-based scholarships to academically strong students. Sometimes to maintain a scholarship, students must often keep a strong GPA once they’re enrolled at a university. Therefore, it’s absolutely essential that you work toward strong grades – it could mean the difference between a scholarship and a student loan.


In many cases, scholarship judges are looking for “well-rounded” students. It’s important to show you have interests and are doing more than just your homework! Participate in extracurricular activities, volunteer in the community or get a part-time job. Just remember that no matter how busy you become, it’s important to keep solid grades.

Talk with your guidance counselor

Plenty of students go through their high school careers and only visit their guidance counselors only when it’s time to sign up for classes. Make an appointment to meet with your guidance counselor to discuss your career goals. Inform him that you are looking for scholarships to apply for, and ask for any applications that are available. Many scholarship sponsors send application packets to high schools. Then, stop by from time to time to find out if there are any new scholarships for which you may be eligible.

Visit your local library

Talk to the librarian – she may be able to tell you of scholarships only available to local high school students. She can also lead you to any scholarship listings and resources.

Talk to people

Start calling local organizations, such as the Rotary Club, to find out if they offer scholarships to local high school students. You’ll also want to try businesses in your hometown – some also offer scholarships to local students. Some employers even offer scholarships for employees’ children, so find out if your parents’ employers offer such opportunities.

Apply early

Prepare your scholarship applications early – that way, you don’t have to worry about missing deadlines. Have your guidance counselor or English teacher look over your scholarship essay and application for grammar, punctuation, spelling or other errors. Their comments can also help you make your essay stronger, thus increasing your chances.

It’s never too early to start thinking about college – if you work hard, participate in extracurricular activities and start searching for scholarships early, you increase your chances of securing one. But, remember, while it’s important to do your best and focus on your goals, you still want to make time to kick back and have fun.

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The Author

Mary Brown

Mary Brown

Mary Brown has enjoyed writing about education and finance related topics, such as scholarships, student loans, college, vocational degree choices, and adult education since the early 2000's. She also writes about school budgets, accreditation and fundraising.