When I was about eight-years old (some time ago, by the way), I distinctly remember opening up what I believed to be the very first Snoppy Snow Cone stand. It was great. I had a rickety TV table, little paper Dixie cups, a shoebox of change and of course, the Snoppy Snow Cone machine. The charge was 50 cents a snow cone. It was awesome! My friends and I sat and waited and waited. Not realizing our ice cubes were melting and the fun of the stand was really eating all of the flavorings. So, we were quite surprised when a team of construction workers pulled up to work on our street and they all ordered a snow cone – all ten of them! It took a lot of cranking, a broken wooden spoon in a blender and a realization that we couldn’t meet the order. So, we went from thinking we would be paying for our college to selling Kool Aid for ten cents a cup instead.
What does this have to do with scholarships? If you don’t use your time wisely, you will miss opportunities. Scholarship searching isn’t just for the first year of college. They are available the whole time – if you pay attention (remember the melting ice cubes). Your chances increase you if approach it as a “must do” instead of a “when I have time”.
Here are some tips to incorporate the scholarship search into your schedule and get the pay off in the end:
Schedule the time! Treat it like a part-time job. Punch in and punch out, if you need to. Set aside 1 hour a week to just find scholarships. If you have found them, set aside two hours a week to apply for them. Putting in your schedule makes you more accountable.
Talk to your guidance office. There are typically lots of local scholarships available but you might have to do something extra. For example, the Women’s Garden Club may have $500 available but they would like to see you do some community service work. Find out now so you can make the time to hit what they are looking for.
Talk with your teachers and/or coaches. You will likely need letters of recommendation for scholarships. Based off of the research you have done (see Schedule the time!), you will know what you need. Go and ask those teachers and coaches who know you best. And, please, give them enough time to do it. You don’t want to miss a deadline because they had did not have enough notice.
Create a resume. As you participate in activities or community service, everything you have done becomes more difficult to keep track off. Make something formal and track it all – the event, the time you gave, the contact person and what you did at the event. This will help save you time later.
Don’t be afraid of the essay! MSOE often has scholarships that have limited applications because students do not want to take the time to write a usually short essay. Use your scheduled scholarship time to start writing the essay that will knock them dead.
So, grab a snow cone and kick off your scholarship search by checking out what MSOE can offer.