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How to Get Scholarships for College
Are you a college student or a parent who has a child going to college in the next few years (or is already in college)? Then you’re going to find a lot of value in this interview.
If you read my article on paying for college when you have no money than you know that one of my tips was to try and get as many scholarships as you can.
But how? How many scholarships can you get? Is there a cap on scholarships? Do you qualify? These are all great questions you may be asking yourself.
I applied for a number of scholarships in high school and I actually won a good amount but I still wish I had applied for many more.
Especially after hearing about how my guest Jocelyn Paonita was able to get over $125,00 in scholarships to cover her tuition!
After hearing about Jocelyn’s story, I knew I had to interview her.
Jocelyn was able to secure enough money to cover her tuition including 6 months living abroad (in Spain) and had a little left over for other expenses!
Now Jocelyn is not only a great example of someone who was able to pay for college with scholarships but she is also passionate about helping others do the same.
She took her experience and created The Scholarship System which helps families all around the country pay for college with as little student loan debt as possible by teaching them how to secure scholarships and supporting them along the way.
I absolutely love how she used her experience to help others!
OK, now it’s time to pick Jocelyn’s brain on scholarships. I gathered some common questions I hear people ask and she was kind enough to answer them and share her tips.
Jocelyn’s Tips on Getting College Scholarships
Q. Can anyone really get scholarships? Do you have to be an athlete or a straight A student?
A. If they are willing to do the work, nearly any student can get some sort of scholarship. This is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to scholarships.
My SAT score was well below average and believe me when I say I was the FURTHEST thing from an athlete. My family hides when I pick up a ball! Still, I was able to graduate completely debt-free because of scholarships. The trick is knowing which ones to go for.
Q. Where do I find scholarships?
A. When it comes to finding scholarships, you want to try to find the ones that have less competition. They take some extra digging but the extra time spent up-front will be more than worth it because students compete against fewer people for the money.
For example, it’s quick and easy to find the Coca-cola or Dr. Pepper scholarships but they also receive tens of thousands of applications. Instead, try asking your local guidance office or the financial aid office first.
Then, look around at local businesses to see if they sponsor scholarships. Many times, local community foundations are a great place to look as well. Once you look local, then you can start looking on online search engines. Two great sites to start your search are Brokescholar and Big Future.
We cover this extensively in our Free Webinar 6 Steps To Quickly Secure Scholarships For College.
Q. How do I know if a scholarship is real and not a scam?
A. This can be tricky. I got sucked into scams before I knew what I was doing! The easiest way to know if a scholarship is a scam is to ask whether or not they are basing the selection on luck or an applicant’s competitiveness.
For example, does it take 10-15 minutes to apply? Does it say “easy scholarship” or “no essay scholarship”? If so, these are typically NOT worth your time! Instead, if they ask for transcripts, recommendation letters, essays and other materials, that is a good indication that the scholarship is legitimate.
Q. What is the most money I can get from a scholarship? Is there a maximum number of scholarships I can apply for?
A. Some universities will cap students at the total cost of attendance before they reduce other aid you receive from them.
For example, if a student receives a grant or loans from the university, they will be capped at the total cost of attendance. If your child hasn’t received anything from the school, technically there wouldn’t be a cap. They may have to claim excess earnings on taxes though.
Q. Is it possible to get enough to cover my tuition?
A. Absolutely! And you don’t have to get enough to cover tuition in one big award. Students can apply for smaller scholarships that add up to cover all of the tuition. That’s exactly what I did.
Q. How soon should I start applying?
A. Ideally, students should begin no later than junior year. Still, students can apply all the way through their senior year in college so if they are beyond their junior or senior year in high school, it still isn’t too late to start.
Q. Can I get scholarships while in college?
A. Not only can students apply if they are already in college, but they should!
As a college student, they are actually more competitive because they are showing committees that they are actually going to school and doing well there. This makes it an easier decision for scholarship committees when they want to choose someone who they know will graduate.
Q. Can scholarship money only be used for tuition or can it be used for other college expenses?
A. Scholarship money can be used for all sorts of expenses including tuition, room and board, books, fees and more. Some scholarships will dictate what the money can be used for but, many times, they will just send it to the university and have it applied to the bill.
If a student gets enough scholarship money to where they have more than their bill, they will actually receive an overage check.
Q. Any other tips or tricks for applying for scholarships that you would like to share?
A. Applying for scholarships can seem overwhelming. The way to survive the process is to take it one step at a time. Don’t look at it as a major undertaking but instead create your own process and materials. That is the beauty of The Scholarship System – we break down the massive process into a 6-step system to follow. It’s a roadmap to scholarships.
The Scholarship System has saved families over $720,000 through our online course and we have yet to tally up the most recent semester. I plan on surpassing $1million in savings this year and hope to see this number continue to grow!
This is such valuable information!
I want to thank Jocelyn for answering all my questions and taking some of the guesswork out of scholarships!
Since we couldn’t go into ALL the details in this article I want to make sure you go over and check out Jocelyn’s FREE WEBINAR: 6 Steps To Quickly Secure Scholarships For College.