College prep planning: all about scholarships

Financial aid for college can be confusing. Sno-Isle Libraries is partnering with Andrea Main of Main Education Consulting to provide a series of free college preparation planning programs at the MarinerMukilteo, Granite Falls and Snohomish Libraries this fall. Andrea provides personalized advisory services to individual high school students, and their families, as they navigate the college admissions process. She has over nine years of experience as a college admissions adviser. In 2017, Main Education Consulting was awarded Best of Everett’s Educational Consultant award. In advance of the college preparation programs, Sno-Isle teens brainstormed their best questions about college and Andrea answered them. Each week we feature new questions.

Please give us the most important scholarship deadlines, including for FASFA (Free Application for Student Federal Aid), that we should not miss this year.

FAFSA, CSS Profile and WASFA (Washington Application for State Federal Aid) all open on October 1st.  Earlier applicants who are eligible for financial aid receive the best financial aid packages. The deadlines for financial aid applications-and this is for each college’s institutional aid ad scholarships-vary and students must check with each college for its deadline. Private scholarships, however, open and close throughout the year. Read the application instructions for each scholarship to determine its deadline.

How do I apply for scholarships and which ones should I apply for?

Apply for every scholarship for which you are eligible!  Read the application instructions and follow them carefully.  If the application states “preference will be given to <x-type> students.” and you are not an x-type student, you may still apply-because it’s simply a preference.  If, however, the application states, “applicants must.” and you do not fit that guideline, then you are ineligible to apply-because, in that case, it is a requirement.

Where do I start looking for scholarships? What are some reliable scholarship websites?

Look for scholarship opportunities at school, at places you do business, at businesses where friends/family work, online or in newspapers. Sno-Isle Libraries has a great selection of scholarship books. Washington students can be connected to Washington scholarship providers through theWashBoard.org. In addition to the millions of dollars of scholarship money available through this site, I like it because all the scholarships are vetted for legitimacy and it is spam-free. Other scholarship sites include CollegeBoard.org, Fastweb.com, Niche.com, ScholarshipMonkey, and Cappex.

You can also create your own search for search for scholarships by typing in your major, talent, ethnicity or other variable into a search bar.

Do you have any tips for applying for scholarships?

Never underestimate yourself. Never think that there may be someone more suited to the scholarship than you.  Apply. Read the instructions carefully; follow the instructions precisely and apply on time. Keep in mind that your scholarship application is a professional representation of yourself. Spend the time to ensure your application is completed to the best of your ability. Apply!

How will I know which scholarship is the right one for me?

If you are eligible-then it’s a good one for you. Prioritize the scholarship applications that are your best fit. There are so many different scholarship opportunities.

Any general advice on how to approach them?

Scholarship providers want to support the students who they feel will be academically successful and best represent their organization’s ideals, so research the organization before you write your scholarship application. Know your audience, believe in yourself, proof read the entire application, apply on time and, most importantly-APPLY!

 

Come to the Sno-Isle Libraries’ college planning series at one of our community libraries!

College Planning: Fundamentals of Financial Aid and Scholarships with Main Education Consulting to learn more about the FASFA.

College Planning: Touring a College

And check out College Planning: Getting an Early Start

You can also find more information about college planning on our life after high school page!

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