Highlights From The Scholarship Coach

Scholarship America's blog, The Scholarship Coach, appears weekly at USNews.com, featuring expert advice on all kinds of scholarship issues.

Every week, we'll feature highlights from The Scholarship Coach blog in this spot. If you're searching for financial aid and scholarship advice, check back often!

Love The Scholarship Coach? Catch new posts every week at USNews.com, follow Scholarship America on Facebook and Twitter, and download our free e-book for much more!

3 Tips to Ensure Fair Treatment of Scholarships

This might surprise you, but not all colleges treat your hard-won scholarship dollars the same way. Some colleges will reduce the amount of need-based grant aid, loans, and/or work-study if you get a scholarship.

Think this is unfair? Me too. Read on to learn how to ensure your scholarships actually help you pay for college.

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3 Steps Adults Returning to College Must Take

For students going straight to college after high school, the path toward getting in and paying for school is well defined: take your tests, write your essays, fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and apply for scholarships. But for students who have spent some time away from the world of postsecondary education and want to return, the scholarship and financial aid process can look daunting.

Fortunately, there are some steps to find scholarship opportunities and financial assistance if you're taking a nontraditional route, whether you're coming back from a year of traveling or considering a midlife career change.

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9 Signs of College Scholarship Scams

The Scholarship Coach always encourages prospective and current college students to apply for as many scholarships as possible in order to receive the maximum amount of free financial help. But every year, scores of students fall victim to those looking to make a quick buck off of your dream of going to college.

To protect yourself from scholarship scam artists, look for these warning signs. After all, the last thing you want is less money in your pocket.

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An International Student's Guide to U.S. Scholarships

The idea of the "American Dream" means many things to many people, but one of its most common—and important—elements is the ability to further one's self by getting a college education. And for students born outside the United States, scholarships can be an invaluable help toward achieving that dream. Whether you're a new immigrant, a student going on to graduate school, or a learner returning to college, there's international scholarship assistance out there for your studies in the United States.

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Skip These 6 Scholarship Essay Errors

We've all heard the news reports: Tuition is skyrocketing and students are leaving college with tens of thousands of dollars in loan debt. Just the thought can be enough to make any high school grad consider flipping burgers for a living instead of earning a degree.

But don't give up hope. There are plenty of generous people out there, funding numerous scholarships, and all you have to do is apply. Before you even think about opening up a Word doc, though, consider these mistakes that could get your essay—and your free money hopes—trashed.

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Find Scholarships in Your Own Backyard

Launching your scholarship search via Google can be quite daunting—you'll end up with thousands of results, and most of them will be completely irrelevant to you. Earlier, we shared with you some great online scholarship search engines that are extremely comprehensive but also allow you to focus your search on relevant awards. But there's another place to search for scholarship money that even these targeted search engines can miss—your own backyard. This process will take a little more work than typing in a few search terms, but doing some extra digging for scholarships in your community will pay off if you're selected as a recipient. 

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4 Do's and 1 Don't for Finding Scholarships

There may be around $3 billion in private scholarship aid available each year for students who know where to look. Scholarship search engines like fastweb.com, collegeboard.com, and scholarships.com are a great start. Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Fastweb, stresses that you should "complete all of the optional questions in the scholarship search profile for about twice as many [scholarship] matches." And that's not his only recommendation.

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Consider These 8 Scholarships For Aspiring Writers

It's safe to say that if you're in the midst of applying for colleges, scholarships, or financial aid, you're busy doing your fair share of writing already. For some students, this is a chore on par with cleaning the bathroom or shoveling the sidewalk—but if you're looking at taking it a step further and writing for a living, there's plenty of scholarship help out there. Here are eight scholarships for everyone from novelists to journalists to travel writers.

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Look to Parents' Employers for College Scholarships

It was a great summer, but now that the school year is back upon us, it's time to crack down and get to work, and not just on your math homework. Yes, we're talking about college again. It'll be here before you know it, so don't wait until it's time to fill out the FAFSA before you start to seriously think about how you're going to pay for it. Before you dive into your search, there's one not-so-obvious place you should look first: your parents' place of employment.

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Explore 5 Unusual Scholarships

While it's true that successful scholarship winners often have a lot in common—good grades, thoughtful essays, and varied extracurricular activities—there are some scholarships that reward your interest in a very specific niche. These out-of-the-ordinary scholarships aren't for everyone, but for some students they may just be a perfect fit.

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10 Twitter Handles to Help Your Scholarship Search

Maybe you use Twitter for fun, or maybe you use it to keep up with companies and causes you like. Did you know Twitter could also help you in your scholarship search? Here's a list of Twitter handles you may want to follow to ensure you're making the most of every opportunity afforded to you. (And check out the follow-up post on USNews.com for 10 more!)

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Get Your Scholarship Application Noticed

Before you get down to the business of filling out those applications, Scholarship America's Scholarship Management Services division -- which has been evaluating scholarship applications for 35 years and last year alone processed more than 350,000 -- offers some advice to consider. These tips are all pretty much common sense. No single thing will make an application stand out—but if you follow all of these suggestions, your application will be noticed for its completeness and professional presentation.

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4 Tips Before You Pursue Athletic Scholarships

One of the biggest myths about college athletics is that unless you swim like Michael Phelps or play basketball like LeBron James, you don't have a chance of getting an athletic scholarship. The truth is you don't have to be in the top 5 percent of your sport to get an athletic scholarship. On the other hand, you also can't sit back and expect the phone to ring with scholarship offers.

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Get a Jump Start on Money for College

While most scholarship deadlines are still several months away, there are a few with summer deadlines that you definitely don't want to miss out on. Plus, by starting your scholarship search early, you may be able to breathe a sigh of relief if you win scholarship awards now — before your friends have even started the search process.

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Use Summer to Boost Scholarship Applications for Fall

Summer break is officially here for most American students: time off from early mornings, hitting the books, and taking tests. In years past, many teens looked to the summer months as a time to increase the hours they worked at their part-time jobs or take on summer gigs; you can also do plenty this summer to help boost your scholarship applications in the fall.

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7 Prestigious Scholarships for Undergrads

Yes, it's true that scholarships labeled "prestigious" usually have lengthy applications, require special projects, and are certainly more competitive than most. But if you're eligible for one of these scholarships, it definitely can't hurt to apply.

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Study-Abroad Scholarships for U.S. Students

We tend to think of college in terms of a journey. There's the higher-education path through high school, the various routes to financial aid, and the long road from your first freshman orientation to your degree. And one of the most rewarding parts of this metaphorical journey can also be an actual journey, if you take the opportunity to study abroad.

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Compare 5 Top Scholarship Search Engines

There are so many free scholarship search engines available to students online that it can be difficult to know which websites to use. It's a good idea to set up profiles on multiple sites so you catch as many opportunities as possible. Which sites you choose is up to you, but in case you need some help with your decision making, I've looked at three key elements of several free search engines

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Turn Community Service Into College Cash

The great poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that "no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." Never does that statement ring more true than when you're looking at higher education.

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The Dream Award

Dream Award Scholarship America’s Dream Award is a new multi-year, performance-based scholarship fund targeted toward completion. These renewable, annually-increasing awards will be given to students selected from across the nation who are entering their second year of education beyond high school.

The Scholarship Coach

The Scholarship CoachScholarship America's blog, The Scholarship Coach, appears weekly at USNews.com, featuring expert advice on all kinds of scholarship issues. Here on the site, we feature a new highlight from the blog every week, and you can also download a free Scholarship Coach e-book!

Focus On The Finish Line

Scholarship America is dedicated to helping students get their degrees. Our 2013 Annual Report, Focus on the Finish Line, features statistics, stories, and student accounts of the importance of college completion.

 

Visit the online report to learn more and hear from our President, Lauren Segal.

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