Yes, You Can Afford College: 4 Tips for Getting Scholarships

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You'll want to apply your Type-A personality traits to the job of finding and then successfully applying for scholarships. I did, and it really helped my college-bound kids.

Looking at that money mountain that must be climbed to get through college is more than intimidating. Luckily, we can break down the job of getting those finances together into simple steps that make getting a college education achievable.

In the first of this three-part series, we looked at filling out FAFSA. Now, let’s look at scholarships, which can ease your burden, or even pay the whole way.

If you are a parent, the more you can help your busy students, the more scholarship money they are likely to earn.

Here are some helpful things to know about getting scholarships. Yes, they may require Type-A behavior, but I can say from experience, it pays off. My children received thousands of dollars in scholarship money, which enabled them to attend their schools of choice.

1. Document volunteer service

Make sure to prepare your student by encouraging him or her to do lots of volunteering during their high school years. Colleges want to see that students are well rounded, active and involved in their communities.

This is very important, especially if they have a lower grade point average. My son graduated from high school with a 3.3 GPA, but he had completed more than 1,000 hours of volunteer work. This track record of giving impressed several scholarship committees, resulting in some excellent financial aid.

Be precise with your documentation. I learned that my daughter won a $4,000 scholarship in a close competition with another girl because of her precise documentation of her hours, broken into quarter-hour segments.

I recommend keeping track of hours on a calendar for each year of high school and transferring the information to a student activity resume.

2. Create impressive student activity resumes

You can create one student activity resume or more, depending on your needs. When you begin to think about all of the activities that your student has been involved in, you may be surprised at how many things they have actually accomplished. Document them.

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