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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Start Your Scholarship Search in Your Own Backyard
When we began looking for scholarships, we made what is perhaps the biggest mistake of the novice scholarship hunter—we started by looking as far away as possible. We were mesmerized by the big prizes of the large (and often well-publicized) national awards. We thought, “If I won just one of these national scholarship competitions, I’d be set and could end my search.” This turned out to be a big mistake and an even bigger time-waster. It seemed that everyone and his brother, sister and cousin were also applying to these competitions. The Coca-Cola scholarship competition, for example, receives more than 100,000 applications each year.
It turned out that the last place we looked for scholarships was our most lucrative source. Best of all, this place turned out to be in our own backyard!
What are backyard scholarships and where do you find them? Think about all the civic groups, clubs, businesses, churches and organizations in your community. Each of these is a potential source for scholarships. (If you are already in college, you have two communities: your hometown and the city in which you go to school.) Since these awards are usually only available to students in your community, the competition is a lot less fierce.
You may be thinking, “What good is a $500 Lions Club scholarship when my college costs 20 grand a year?” It’s true that local scholarships don’t award the huge prizes that some of the national competitions do. You already know that we won over $100,000 in scholarships. What we haven’t told you is that the majority of this money came from local scholarships! We literally won $500 here and $1,500 there. By the time we graduated from Harvard and added up all the awards, it turned out to be a huge amount. Plus, some of the local scholarships that we won were “renewable,” which meant that we received that money each year we were in college. So a $500 renewable scholarship was really worth $2,000 over four years.
If you still can’t get excited because these local awards seem small compared to the cost of tuition, try this exercise: Take the amount of the award and divide it by the time you invested in the application. For the $500 Lions Club award, let’s say that you spent one hour each night for three days to complete the application and write the essay. Take $500 and divide it by three hours. That works out to a little over $166 per hour. (Now imagine that the award was for $1,000 instead. That would make it $333 per hour!) Not bad by any measure. If you can find a job that pays you more than $166 an hour, then take it and forget applying to scholarships. If not, get back to applying for scholarships–even the little ones!
Let’s get specific and look at all of the places in your backyard to find scholarships.
Table of Contents1 How to Use the Ultimate Scholarship Book
2 Where to Find the Best Scholarships
3 How to Win the Scholarships You Find
4 How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay
5 The Scholarship Resume
6 Getting Great Recommendations
7 Ace the Scholarship Interview
8 Final Thoughts
9 The Ultimate Scholarship Directory
10 Scholarship Indexes
What People are Saying About This
"A present for anxious parents."
"Advice on applying for scholarships from start to finish."
Town & Country Magazine
"All students will profit from this highly detailed book."
David Miller, Director of College Counseling, Stevenson School
"This guide (has) practical tips on where to find scholarships; how to write effective applications, resumes, and winning essays; and how to get glowing recommendations and ace scholarship interviews."
C.E. King, Iowa State University, Choice Magazine
“A common sense approach to scholarship searches. The Ultimate Scholarship Book gives a down to earth step by step method of finding, applying for and winning scholarships.”
Lynda McGee, College Counselor, Downtown Magnets High School, Los Angeles
“Upbeat tone and clear, practical advice.”