Tag Archives: college scholarships

Applying for College Scholarships? 6 Tips to Maximize Your Chances of Winning One

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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By Guest Blogger Ashlee Hodson

Scholarships, better known as free money, are an important part of many students’ income and a cornerstone of their collegiate financial planning strategy. There are lots of scholarships out there, but with hundreds of applicants for each good one, actually winning the scholarship or grant you want isn’t a sure thing no matter how qualified you are. But keep in mind a few simple guidelines when you’re applying for scholarships and you could go straight to the head of the class.

by Keith Williamson

1. Work as hard on apps for small scholarships as you do for the big ones. Many students don’t even bother to apply for small scholarships because they feel that it’s a waste of their time. But when you’re in college, every penny counts. And while winning a $250 scholarship won’t cover your room and board, those tiny little awards – whether for $100 or $1000 – have a way of adding up.

2. Be organized. You’d think that this would be obvious, but people lose potential scholarship awards all the time because they forgot when their app was due or left out an important document. Invest in a calendar or use an online planner so that you can keep track of due dates, chart your progress, etc. Make sure the info you have for each scholarship is complete. Read the instructions and follow them to the letter. For example, if the essay assignment is to write about your community service efforts, don’t write about why people should be active in their community.

3. Be honest. A high GPA isn’t everything. Don’t exaggerate your grades, memberships, skills, or qualifications. In this day and age, it’s easy for scholarship sponsors to check your claims – and they will. Besides, many sponsors are more interested in well-rounded students who will add value to campus life through their involvement in the local community or school affairs; their interest in clubs, fraternities, and sororities; or their participation in team or other sports.

4. Be thorough. Remember, the people who’ll be reviewing your scholarship application don’t know how wonderful you are. And in early review rounds, when the panel will be looking for any excuse to winnow their list of applicants down to a manageable level, a simple typo or a misspelled word could land you in the reject pile. Proofread everything. (Consider asking a friend, teacher, or parent to read over your application packet with fresh eyes.) Spend quality time on the concept and execution of your essays. Create a CV to go along with your app, even if it’s not requested. It shows initiative and is a great way to highlight your activities and special interests. Make copies of everything and send your application packet by registered mail.

5. Be selective in asking for letters of recommendation. Choose people not only on the basis of how many great things they’ll have to say about you, but because of their standing in the community or school and their own reputation, especially as it relates to your areas of interest.

6. Watch out for scams. Remember the old adage that “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Don’t pay to search online for a scholarship or pony up dollars to pay for the chance to be awarded a scholarship. As one online website counsels, “Sponsors want to give YOU their money, they don’t want yours.”

Spending hours – or days – applying for scholarships might seem like a waste of time, especially with everything else that’s on a college-bound student’s plate. Tempted to take a few shortcuts? If you want a successful outcome – in other words, if you want to win that scholarship or grant – don’t. As with anything in life, you’ll get out of the scholarship application process exactly what you put into it.

Ashlee Hodson I DAYTONA STATE COLLEGE: Quirky, creative, a little goofy – and passionate about making a difference. This is a girl who dreams big. Hopes to one day earn a degree in Psychology. Ashlee, the world is waiting!

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Charmaine’s Top 4 Ways to Pay for College

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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Guest Blogger Charmaine Ng

After college, we will emerge with four years of unforgettable experiences, a group of lifelong friends, and a very expensive piece of paper. Tuition is rising across the country, and most of us resort to taking out loans, landing us in debt for years. Here are my top 4 ways to help you pay for that diploma.

by AMagill

1. Open up shop.

You don’t need business expertise to run with an idea. Just dedication and passion! One afternoon, two sophomores at my college, Erika Welsh and Keely Tillotson, ran out of peanut butter and decided to experiment with a bag of raw peanuts and a food processor. Soon, they were whipping up a wacky variety of peanut butter flavors, from “Sneaky Cinnamon” to “Pretzel Pizzazz.” By spring break, their Flying Squirrel Peanut Butter business regularly received over 100 orders a week from all over the country! By charging $4 per 8 oz. jar, they’re definitely making a profit that can go towards their tuition. Etsy and Shopify offer easy ways to set up online shops.)

Did you know you you can open your own custom book rental site? Check out the Stores Lite opportunity here: BookRenter Stores Lite

2. Display advertising on your blog.

Fancy writing for an online audience? Start a blog, create a following, and partner with businesses to sell advertising. You can even partner with BookRenter as an affiliate.  A simpler route: the Blogger platform allows you to easily arrange advertising with a Google AdSense feature that delivers targeted ads to your site. If your blog becomes popular, the pennies will add up!

3. Apply for scholarships.

People want to help you. You just have to find them. Talk to your university’s financial aid offices, and see what they offer in terms of scholarships based on merit, ethnicity, desired profession, financial need, and athletic talent. Also look beyond campus. The College Board and College Scholarships both offer national search engines. Be patient!

*You can Apply Now for BookRenter’s Rock the World Scholarship!

If you’re in the Bay Area, give ScholarMatch a shot. By posting select profiles, ScholarMatch hopes that potential donors will personally connect with a student in their community and support his or her education.

4. Sign up for tests, studies, and focus groups.

My school’s Psychology and Human Physiology departments are always conducting studies that need participants. You can receive over $100 for spending time in an MRI lab or hooked up to an exercise machine. You may not feel comfortable with the idea at first, but think of it this way: you’re contributing to science AND getting paid for it! Another option is donating plasma, the liquid portion of your blood cells. My friend does this regularly and can make up to $200 a month. Head to your nearest Talecris Plasma Resources location, and see if you qualify for donation.

College doesn’t have to be as expensive as it sounds. While none of these options will completely solve your tuition woes, they can help you along the way. Don’t flounder in debt, and use your imagination!

By Guest Blogger Charmaine Ng I UNIVERSITY OF OREGON: Ambitious and talented, honest and human, this tri-lingual social media strategist and curator is also a published author. Harbors a secret desire to one day have a multi-hyphenated title

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