The Ultimate Guide to Earning a Scholarship

Need money for school? Then you need "The Ultimate SlugBooks Guide to Earning a Scholarship" infographic!

Check out the image below for helpful tips on how to find scholarships and awards to apply for, prepare your applications correctly, avoid common mistakes and ultimately find the cash you need to make your educational dreams a reality:

The Ultimate Guide to Earning a Scholarship
The Ultimate Guide to Earning a Scholarship
The Ultimate Guide to Earning a Scholarship

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Tips for Scoring a Scholarship

Finding Scholarships:
1. Don’t fall for scams. you should NEVER pay to get a scholarship. Beward of anything promising guaranteed money. Do not give out personal financial information like bank accounts, credit card #’s, or your social security number.
2. Don’t underestimate small scholarships. The smaller award scholarships are often less competitive. Winning smaller awards adds to your resume and can help you win bigger awards.
3. Don’t wait until the spring before college to start looking. Scholarships are available all year round. The second biggest deadline cycle is in the fall.

Before You Apply:
Create an accomplishments resume.
Use a calendar and checklist to get organized.
Prioritize your applications by deadline and expected value of the scholarship.

Essay Tips:
If you have trouble writing, answer the essay question orally and transcribe the recording.
Use an outline to organize your thoughts.
Give examples and be specific.
Be passionate in your essay and write about something of interest to you.
Proofread a printed copy of the essay for spelling and grammar errors.

Additional Tips:
Use a professional email address (like [first name].[last name]
Remove inappropriate and immature material on your social media profiles.
Google your name to see what shows up and see what you can do to clean it up.
Make a photocopy of your application before mailing it.
Send the application by certified mail, return receipt requested or with delivery confirmation.

Most Common Application Mistakes:
-Missing deadlines
-Failing to follow directions - both regarding essay length and number of recommendations
-Omitting required information
-Failing to tailor the application to the sponsor
-Failing to proofread the application
-Including exaggerations or lies on the application
-Applying for an award when you don’t qualify
-Writing a boring essay or an essay that may offend the reviewer

Best Scholarship Resources
The top 4 scholarship search engines: bigfuture, zinch, fastweb and
When using a scholarship matching service, answer ALL questions for twice as many matches.
A 100% completed profile sees 100% of potential scholarship matches.
A 70% completed profile sees 75% of potential scholarship matches.
A 60% completed profile sees only 60% of potential scholarship matches.

Other places to find scholarships:
Financial Aid Office at your target college. Most financial aid resources are made available through this office and can inform you about scholarships specific to their school.
High School Guidance Counselor. Check their bulletin boards, newsletters, meet with a counselor, etc. They are there to help you and can offer additional resources, too.
Local Newspapers. This is a great resource for local scholarships. These tend to be less money but also have less competition.
Your Place of Worship. Some offer local, regional, or even national scholarships through the denomination or related charitable groups.
Your Local Community-based Organizations. Local Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Eagles, Elks Club, etc may offer scholarship opportunities.

More facts about scholarships
Sources of college scholarships (% based on total quantity of individual scholarships awarded). 44% Federal government, 36% Colleges, 9% State Governments, 6% private scholarships.
Higher GPA = Winning More Scholarships. The higher your GPA was in high school, the better chance you have of winning a scholarship. If you’re applying while in college, your college GPA will maximize the scholarships you win as well. SAT and ACT scores have similar affect on likelihood.
8.3% of students at 4 year colleges win scholarships, while 2.6% of students at 2 year colleges win scholarships.

Of students enrolled full-time at a 4 year college:
0.3% get enough scholarships to cover 100% of college costs
1.0% get enough scholarships to cover 90% or more of college costs.
3.4% get enough scholarships to cover 75% or more of college costs.
14.3% get enough scholarships to cover 50% or more of college costs.

Major Matters! STEM are fields of study in the categories of SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, and MATHEMATICS. STEM majors tend to receive more scholarships and in higher amounts than non-STEM majors.

Athletics. Athletic scholarships represent only 2.1% of all college scholarships.
% of students receiving athletic scholarships has not risen over 1.8% in a year since 1995-1996.
$7,855 is the average athletic scholarship, which is only 1/3 the total cost of attendance.

Income. Of full-time students enrolled at 4-year colleges, 10.6% of students from low income households won scholarships, 13.8% are from middle income households won scholarships, and 10.8% of students from high income households won scholarships.