Paying for College

Tips for Applying to Scholarships

As senior year approaches, the reality of heading off to college begins to settle in. Students who go away to college start to worry about the debt they will soon put themselves in. A good way to help is to start applying for scholarships.

“Finding the right and suitable scholarship can be tricky as well as time consuming, but in the end applying to as many as I can will soon be beneficial for my future,” said junior Carissa Occhipinto.


Applying for scholarships is similar to applying to colleges. There are deadlines to meet, essays to write and documents to submit. Just like college applications, students must prove that they deserve that scholarship.


“I suggest to spend an hour a week to find scholarships to apply to; do not procrastinate to last minute,” said school counselor Rob Lundien.


Students do not want to take time to fill out scholarship applications because it can be a long process, but it can mean less money to worry about for college. Each scholarship has different criteria that has to be met in order to apply for it, but there are thousands of scholarships available for everyone to qualify for.


“If you take the time to fill out a $500 or $5,000 scholarship application and end up winning it, it’s like getting paid that money an hour,” said school counselor James McNeely.


On the counseling website, there is a list of scholarship reminders. First, write neatly, and always use blue or black ink but the majority of the time, the applications are typed. The second tip is to double check grammar, punctuation and spelling.


“I would just give your essay for a scholarship application to your English teacher to edit it and make sure it’s free of errors,” said Lundien.


They also suggested students notify teachers and counselors in advance, usually two weeks in advance, for letters of recommendation. Also make a photocopy of the application before mailing it.

“If in doubt, fill it out.” Lundien said.


Students were recently introduced to NextTier, a website designed to guide them and keep them on track on their path to college. It offers access to thousands of scholarships.

“Apply to as many scholarships as possible, and plan in advance, so whatever you submit, make sure it’s your best work and most professional because you are competing with people for free money. Professionalism is key,” said Lundien.