I just caught the last couple of minutes of a great Twitter chat dealing with the subject of Scholarships and college finances. I'm going to be connecting with many of the people who took part in that chat and hope to be able to grab a lot of information and resources which I can pass along. Meanwhile - here's a few points mentioned by the participants.
First, and foremost, highschool seniors should be very involved in the scholarship process right now and moving forward towards the end of the year. Most awards have deadlines early in the new year (if not before) and missing the deadline gives you a 100% chance of NOT getting a scholarship. From Mark Kantrowitz @mkant (the man behind Fastweb.com - which is on our link list to the right) - Make sure you pay close attention to the instructions given with each particular application. Different scholarships have different rules and if you forget a required attachment or some other piece of information, you'll be out of luck. Also make sure you fill out the applications completely. Don't leave any blank spots and get somebody else to proofread your application for errors, omissions and spelling mistakes.
Do your homework on the scholarships and bursaries which are out there. There's over 150 scholarships available just for students who were members of their school's FIRST Robotics team! There are all kinds of 'specialty' scholarships like that available. You just need to do the legwork (or Google work) to find them. Also, don't write off the small ones. Even the smallest dollar amount means less money you (or your parents) will have to borrow. Think about it - 5 to 10 $100 bursaries add up to between $500 and $1,000. Send in all the applications you can - you never know what you might get.
A great final tip from @CollegeCashChat - clean up the email address you are going to use on your applications. Firstname.lastname(at)gmail.com looks a lot better than sexykitten(at)hotmail.
This is the time to really put the push on when it comes to scholarships. Good Luck!
My thanks to the people mentioned in this post and the others on Twitter for some great info and even better connections. Looking forward to joining the discussion next week. Cheers!