Scholarship Treasure Hunt

Published by Financial Aid Consulting on Tuesday, 10th July 2018 - 12:00PM in Scholarships


Scholarship Treasure Hunt 

by Howard Freedman

Copyright 2019 Financial Aid Consulting. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced mechanically, electronically, by photocopying or by any other means without expressed written permission of the author.

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• Read Making College Happen-The Realties of Coping With College Costs

• Meet with family to clarify needs and resources to pay for college

• Develop selection criteria roadmaps

• Review majors and employment outlook

• Compare college admission and financial aid

• Create campus visits analytics

• Ensure families communicate effectively

Prepare Timely and Accurate Forms

• Prepare custodial and non-custodial financial aid forms

• Discuss ways to increase financial aid

• Use a qualified financial aid consultant to keep you organized

• Network to find avenues for merit-based aid

• Counsel students to prepare resumes and college essays

Analyze and Appeal Awards

• Analyze financial aid awards

• Write financial aid appeal letters

• Explain how Professional Judgment works

• Recommend ways to obtain additional aid

• Explore alternatives

Finding the Right Solutions

• Offer tools for family budget analysis

• Recommend ways to pay for college

• Explore gap year, employment and military options

• Provide ongoing support as needed

• Earn trust by providing value-added results

Creativity, networking and hard work are the most essential ingredients for finding the

a treasure chest of scholarship opportunities.

Personal Inventory

For starters, be prepared by keeping up to date records of the qualifiers that you are likely to need when applying for scholarships

• GPA and Class Standing

• Highest SAT and or ACT test scores

• Honors and awards

• Outside Activities (In School and Community)

• Employment history

• Internships

• Leadership Roles

• Heroics

Getting Started

Build a portfolio of your creative works, special projects, problem-solving skills, and initiatives. Identify leadership skills, innovations, and awards. This is also an effective motivational tool and way to categorize the requirements for various types of scholarships.

Essay Inventory

Write an inventory of essays about special experiences, leadership, challenges, family situations or about how you overcame adversity. Do all that you can to make yourself extraordinary as many scholarships will ask about life’s experiences and what you offer. Write them now since they may be needed it later.

Broad Internet Searches

Perform a broad internet search using keywords to find scholarships. Using key terms like-scholarships for creative artists, writers, etc. provide a large field to pare down to more selective and interesting or less well-known scholarships.

Non-Academic Searches

Search for scholarships based in ethnicity, country of origins, organizational affiliations, single-parent families, handicaps, professions, first-generation students, etc. as you may come up with many interesting surprises.


Network with everybody. Include co-workers, store owners, fellow students, teachers, chamber of commerce members or just by being friendly. It is also another way of building confidence and generating leads.


Create your own scholarship by sharing your story with others. Many organizations may want to award scholarships but cannot attract the right candidates or have reasons to award one. Scholarships may not be limited to the best and brightest students but awarded to those that have the drive and ambition, are average or simply just want to further their education.

Professional Organizations

Research professional organizations in your field or for which your background qualifies. Never ask if an organization offers a scholarship but ask to whom you should contact to apply for one. This may mean a phone call, letter, an essay or an opportunity to share your story about why you deserve a scholarship.

Social Media

Keep your Facebook or other social media locations positive, professional. Focus on your accomplishments and works as you never may know who views them. Social media are very powerful complements to formal applications and showcase your talents, creations or other ways to look good.

Evaluating Your Chances

Evaluate the odds of winning a scholarship by reviewing the numbers awarded and if your application will go into a lottery pool. If so, it may be best to improve your odds by seeking local or more unique scholarships with better odds. Use scholarship search sites carefully. Limit the personal information you share and never agree to pay for expensive services.


Ask your college admission’s office how they award merit-based aid and for which scholarships you may be considered. The selection process is usually common information that should not be a surprise.


Keep track of deadlines and know how and when to follow up. A call or e-mail is appropriate and another way of showing interest


Remain focused positive and organized. A scholarship will eventually come your way as long as you create a positive image and network with those that may have the right connections or advice to lead to that treasured scholarship that you will deserve. 

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