Archive for the ‘Scholarships & Financial Aid’ Category

Your Sophomore Year: It’s Scholarship Crunch Time

Have you started applying for scholarships yet? We get it – you’re only a high school sophomore. But scholarships aren’t only for seniors and college students. There are plenty of organizations that give college money to teens regardless of age or class year. Here’s what you can do to get your hands on some of that cash.

college money

Find Scholarships You Qualify For
Different scholarships have different requirements. Here are a few things many organizations take into account when they’re choosing a winner:

  • GPA or academic history
  • Ethnic background
  • Athletic ability
  • A history of volunteer work
  • Extracurricular activities or hobbies
  • Your planned major or course of study
  • The school you want to attend
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Unusual skills or talents
  • Religious affiliation

With so many scholarships (and requirements!) out there, it’s tough to figure out what exactly you’re even eligible for. That’s why your Cappex account only shows you the scholarships you’re a good match for. We don’t want you wasting your time applying for awards that you aren’t eligible to win – and chances are, you don’t either.

Get Organized
Once you have your list of scholarships, it’s time to get moving on those applications. Mark the deadlines on a calendar and write down all the application requirements. Do you need to send a resume, write an essay, get letters of recommendation, or create a video? Every scholarship is different.

Even if the closing dates are weeks away, get started now. Procrastinate too long and you could miss the deadline completely.

Cross Your Fingers and Hope for the Best
Chances are, you won’t get every scholarship you apply for. That’s why it’s so important to get started sophomore year – you have three whole years to build up money for college! With any luck, you’ll be able to win a few awards that will cut the cost of college significantly.

Good luck on those applications!

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Scholarships Expiring in September 2015

With summer vacation quickly coming to an end, it’s time to get serious about college. Obviously that means adding more schools to your college list, checking out your new recommended schools, and taking our Careers and Majors quiz, but don’t forget about applying for some scholarships. It’s never too early to apply – even if you’re only a freshman or sophomore in high school!

Hispanic girl holding â'college' savings jar

You still have a few weeks to enter to win these awards that close in September:

1. North American Van Lines Logistics Scholarship Competition
Deadline: September 1
Award: $1,000

Five students who plan to study logistics or supply chain management will be eligible for this big award.

2. Karman Healthcare Scholarship
Deadline: September 1
Award: $500

Two high-achieving students with a mobility disability will have the chance to win this scholarship.

3. Dr. Joseph and Sonya Landholm Scholarship 
Deadline: September 1
Award: $4,500

Veterinary students who are originally from Nebraska have the opportunity to save thousands on their education with this award.

4. South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship
Deadline: September 1
Award: $1,000-$2,000

Students who will graduate from a South Dakota high school and boast decent test scores and GPAs will be eligible to apply for this renewable scholarship.

5. Barberton High School Alumni Association Scholarship Fund
Deadline: September 1
Award: Unspecified

This award is open to graduates of Barberton High School.

6. Vidal Sassoon Professional Beauty Education Scholarship – Basic Competition
Deadline: September 1
Award: $10,000

New students attending a qualifying cosmetology school will have the chance to have a significant portion of their tuition covered by this program.

7. Montana Tree Farm Scholarship
Deadline: September 15
Award: $500

Full-time students who are residents of Montana can apply for this award if they attend an accredited school and have a tree farmer or inspector as a reference.

8. NEWH Icon of Industry Scholarship Award
Deadline: September 15
Award: $7,500

You’ll be eligible for this scholarship if you’ve completed at least half of a degree focused in textile or interior design and an industry-relevant internship.

9. Don’t Text and Drive Scholarship
Deadline: September 30
Award: $500-$1,500

Submit a message consisting of 140 characters on texting and driving and you could be chosen as a final contender for this award.

10. BloodCenter of Wisconsin Summer Scholarship Blood Drives
Deadline: September 30
Award: $250-$750

Full-time students at an accredited university or college who are interested in giving blood will be entered to win.

11. Noet Humanities Scholarship
Deadline: September 30
Award: $500

Studying the humanities? You may qualify for this award.

12. Writer’s Square Essay Contest
Deadline: September 30
Award: $300-$1,000

If you’re a skilled writer, check out this essay contest that required you to submit a unique piece on what you’re grateful for.

13. Lemberg Law StopCollector Scholarship
Deadline: September 30
Award: $1,000

Students who want to study consumer law can submit a short essay on debt collection to qualify for this free money for college.

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The Top 4 Types of Scholarship Essays

One of the most important aspects of your college application is the scholarship essay. For many, scholarships may be the only way to afford the cost of attending college. This makes crafting a stellar essay all the more important. Topics for scholarship essays may vary by institution, but there are some common ones that you can expect to come across as you prepare your college applications.

scholarship essay

Here are four of the top prompts you will likely encounter when applying for scholarships – and how you should (or shouldn’t) answer them:

1. Where do you see yourself in five years?
This question is about planning. Have you thought ahead about your goals for your career and life? It’s a question that asks you to imagine your future. Scholarships are limited, and the essay is a chance for an institution to judge students’ ability to plan and execute short-term and long-term goals. Organizations awarding money are also interested in investing in a student who is serious about his or her goals. Be sure to keep your response limited to academic and professional goals (unless the prompt specifies otherwise). While you shouldn’t be afraid to think big, keep your goals realistic.

2. Who do you admire and why?
Mentors or idols can inspire you to pursue a specific academic or career path, and a prompt such as this provides an excellent opportunity to illustrate your passion for a specific field of study. What has your mentor achieved in his or her career that inspires you? How has your relationship with this mentor strengthened your resolve to pursue this path?

You can also broaden the scope of this prompt by writing about a teacher or other academic figure outside your field of study. Regardless of who you write about, it is important to remember that this essay should not be biography on the person you admire – it is also a chance to highlight aspects of who you are as a student and a person. Also, be wary of writing about a family member. If you do write about a relative, be sure to have an extraordinary reason for doing so – otherwise, you risk blending in with many other applicants.

3. Discuss a special attribute or accomplishment that sets you apart
This can be a deceptively difficult prompt and requires you to boast, which can make many students uncomfortable. A question that asks you to differentiate yourself from the scores of other students applying for the same scholarship requires concrete examples and anecdotes. How you tell the details of your story is important, and could be the very thing that helps your application stand out.

4. Describe how you have demonstrated leadership both in and out of school
You have likely demonstrated leadership in many situations, but the difficulty in answering a prompt like this one is choosing the right example. Remember: Only include instances that clearly and concisely demonstrate your leadership ability.

Don’t be afraid to discuss any mistakes you’ve made along the way. However, it is also important to write about how you corrected those issues or what you learned from the experience. Perfection doesn’t make a great leader – adaptation skills and the ability to learn do. By acknowledging challenges you faced and how you overcame them, you can make your essay stand out.

An essay prompt is an invitation to tell a story. As with any good story, giving concrete examples allows your audience to understand your message. The more specific you are in your essay, the more likely it is you’ll stand out from the other applicants. Regardless of the question you’re asked, a scholarship essay is a chance to demonstrate the specific skills, experiences, and passions that make you the most qualified recipient.

Brian Kornell is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, the leading curated marketplace for private tutors. The company also builds mobile learning apps, online tutoring environments, and other tutoring and test prep-focused technologies.

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