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Scholarship Winning Tips

How to Avoid Student Debt in 2019

How to Avoid Student Debt in 2019

Happy New Year from Scholly! It’s 2019 which means new goals, new scholarships, and new opportunities. With college application season all but over, scholarship season is in full swing. It’s our mission to help as many students as possible reach their potential - and that means having access to education. With each year, we strive to propel even more students towards success than the last, so here are some Scholly tips on how to maximize those scholarship applications and avoid student debt in 2019.

File your FAFSA.

Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your first step towards determining your financial aid packages from your schools of choice. The sooner you file your FAFSA, the sooner you’ll know how much assistance you’ll receive from each of your prospective schools, and the sooner you can start planning for your future. Try to finish filing this month if you haven’t already. Filing early will to give you time to take advantage of rolling scholarship opportunities that could supplement your aid.

Check out Scholly.

Log onto Scholly ASAP and check out your new matches. We consistently update our database so that users have a range of scholarships to choose from. Save scholarships to which you would like to apply. Try to save a combination of scholarships with high Scholly Scores and large awards to prioritize your applications.

Now plan your attack. 

Take note of due dates for your saved scholarships and make an application timetable for yourself. Be sure to set realistic goals to give yourself enough time for each application. Some spring scholarship applications are due sooner than others, but a bulk of them tend to be due in March, with another in April. Start early so that you’re not scrambling to apply for scholarships by the time spring break rolls around.

When in doubt, ask!

We understand that scholarship essays can be tricky. Some topics are very broad while others are rather specific, and deciphering what and what not to include can be daunting. Many scholarship programs have a ‘Past Winners’ section where you can see profiles and sometimes essays of previous winners. These sections can help you get an idea of the kind of applications the scholarship program is looking for. Scholly also has an in-app ’Resources’ section with examples of scholarship essays for some extra help.

Edit.

Run your application essays through Scholly Editor! It’s our instant proofreader that scans your writing for both style and grammar mistakes so you can put your best foot forward. Content wise, ask teachers, friends, parents or anyone else in your life whose eyes you think would benefit your application to read your essays. You’d be surprised at how people can pick up on some of your strongest qualities that even you may miss. They can help you articulate those attributes for your applications and make them stronger.  

Lastly, keep going.

The scholarship application process is full of ups and downs. If you’re feeling disappointed about not having won a few scholarships to which you’ve applied, keep trying. There is always another opportunity out there and you are not going to win every scholarship you apply to, but a scholarships is always a better option than a student loan. Remember to stay positive and keep improving upon your applications. If you don’t win an award, you can always reach out to ask for feedback on your application!

2019 is already a big year for Scholly with the launch of our Student Loan Payoff Program in partnership with grownish - and that is just the beginning of exciting things to come for the Scholly community. So Happy New Year, happy applying, and all the best for 2019!

Writing College Essays: Five Myths You Need to Know

Writing College Essays: Five Myths You Need to Know

The college application process is stressful. From deciding on your dream school, prepping for the SAT or ACT, to finishing all those applications, the task can feel near impossible. It's not - and neither is writing a college essay that works. To help our college-bound high school seniors, let's debunk some myths surrounding writing a persuasive college essay.

Myth #1: "I have to write the greatest essay in the world."

Every student wants to stand out, but you don't have to write the Iliad or the Odyssey to do so. The college essay is your opportunity to showcase your achievements and contributions. However, what most people don't realize is that they overindulge and exaggerate when talking about themselves. Admissions offices can read right through self-praise - what they are looking for is authenticity. Emphasize achievements or lessons you have learned that highlight your best traits. Tell a story about your experiences. What have they taught you? The truth sounds a lot better than you think.

Myth #2: "I'm not creative."

You don't have to be creative to write a successful college essay; but you have to be personable. Don't regurgitate the same answers for every application. Admissions offices can tell when an application has been recycled. Add your own flair to each essay. Whether that be in your tone, content, or writing style, be sure to do something unique with each essay so that your reader remembers it.

Myth #3: "I should limit my number of applications because college applications are expensive."

You're right, applying to college gets expensive - but just like scholarships, there is money out there for applying to college too! If applying to college is out of your budget, contact the admissions office of the school you're applying to. They can give you forms to apply for a fee waiver. The process may seem cumbersome, but a free application will be worth it.

Myth #4: "I can wait until tomorrow."

Just do it now. Are you one of those people who writes something ingenious at the last minute? Your brain actually works better when you exercise it. That exercise will make your ingenuity a habit instead of something that saves you when you're under pressure. Your college essay does not have to be perfect the first time. Prioritize consistency over the grandiose last-minute essays and the result will be a well-written and concise articulation of why your dream school needs you.

Myth #5: "I have to know what I want to study."

No, you really don't. If you know what you want to study, good for you! However, having your mind made up about your future has no sway on your ability to write a persuasive college essay. A large part of college is figuring out what you want to do - that's why you're going. So when you write, talk about your interests and passions to showcase your potential. Try adding how you think the school will help you hone these interests. That way, your application will be unique and tailored to the school.

See? Writing college essays isn't as intimidating as it may seem. Keep these myth busters in mind the next time you're stressed about the college application process and you'll be good to go. Remember to always run your essays through a proofreading service like Scholly Editor for the finishing touches!

Need help paying for college after you get in? Get matched to scholarships instantly when you build a profile on Scholly.

Meet the Student Who Won $142,000 in Scholarships

Meet the Student Who Won $142,000 in Scholarships

 
I’ll never forget that feeling of being on the stage and realizing I could go to my dream school.
— Chika
 

Meet Chika Adiele, a determined college-bound Scholly user from Vegas, NV who won $142,000 in scholarships. Scholly was founded on the ideal of providing an opportunity for all. We stay motivated because of success stories like Chika's. This is how she got that bread: 

Since I was little, I was always told to never worry about paying for college. Then one day during the summer before my senior year, my mom told me that I would have to pay tuition by myself because our financial situation. My dad, the financial breadwinner, had lost everything, and my single mom needed money for other expenses. I was shocked and devastated, but I'm not one to give up easily so I started exploring some options. That’s when I found my solution: scholarships.

In the beginning, the scholarship process was incredibly intimidating and overwhelming. Many websites were terribly organized and barely had any scholarships for me. Then I came across Scholly.

Chika-2-edit.jpg

The website was super user-friendly, matched me with amazing scholarships, and even told me which scholarships best suited me with the Scholly score. I treated applying to scholarships like a part-time job. It was not easy. I went to a dual credit high school which practically made me a full-time college student. On top of my classes, I was the student council president, conducting undergraduate research, doing theater, and volunteering among other things. I’d apply during any spare time I had on the app: rehearsal, between classes, while I was eating, or even during my workouts. The Scholly deadline tracker to kept me on track with applications amidst my crazy schedule.

Over time, applying became easier. I started reusing the same essays and the Scholly blog tips had great advice. What used to take me 2 hours started taking 30-45 minutes. It actually started becoming fun and was a major confidence booster. With the help of Scholly, I applied to over 100 scholarships during my senior year. To top it off, I even got accepted into my dream school: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

I still remember the very first major scholarship I won. It was the end of April, and it was from the Rogers Foundation. At this point, the college decision day was a little over a week away. I still didn’t have the funds to go to UNC-Chapel Hill, but I kept a positive attitude. Next thing I knew, I won the grand scholarship of $100,000. I’ll never forget that feeling of being on the stage and realizing I could go to my dream school. My mom was screaming and I teared I was so happy. It got even better. During the next ten days, I won over $40,000 more in outside scholarships. Not only was I able to afford college but could now go practically for free.

I plan on majoring in Biology and minoring in Spanish so that I can go to medical school and become a doctor. With the help of scholarships and Scholly, I’m one step closer to my dream.

Congratulations, Chika! The Scholly team is proud of you. 

Have your own Scholly Story to share? Let us know! Still need to make your dreams come true? Join Scholly today! 

How Small Scholarships Can Help You Avoid Student Debt

How Small Scholarships Can Help You Avoid Student Debt

Every spring there are floods of media reports about students winning millions of dollars in scholarships for college. Scholly founder and CEO, Chris Gray, was one of those stories. Chris won over one million dollars to go to college, some of it from big name scholarship programs like the Gate's Foundation and Coca Cola Scholars Foundation. While these large scholarships helped propel Chris to success, it was the smaller scholarship awards that made more of a difference than he expected.

Two hundred and fifty dollars, five hundred dollars, a thousand dollars... every scholarship adds up, and is money you don't have yet. You know what else adds up? Miscellaneous expenses that come with student life. Books, a broken laptop, clothes for an internship interview, emergency travel, tuition for a summer course, storage fees and more will be part of your financial considerations. Financial aid does not cover these expenses. You must pay for them on top of normal tuition, fees, and housings costs that rise each year. Smaller scholarship awards help you pay for the extra expenses.

When you log into Scholly to see new matches, take the time to look into the smaller scholarships. Use the Scholly Score to prioritize your applications. If you're well-matched to a smaller scholarship, go for it! Extra free money hurt no student - trust us. Edit your application essay with Scholly Editor, then apply! You might end up a few hundred dollars richer.

And remember, scholarships are offered all year round! Log into Scholly now and avoid student debt.

4 Tips to a better Scholarship Essay

4 Tips to a better Scholarship Essay

Sure, everyone know that Scholly helps you find the scholarships looking for you, but that doesn't mean you can just phone in the essay. Here are 4 tips for writing a better scholarship essay:

1. Understand who you're writing it for.

Take some time to know the organization that's offering each scholarship. Review their website, and the company/organization’s vision and positioning — It could make a meaningful difference in what you choose to write about, and how you angle it. Write from your mind and heart, of course, but make sure it's done in a way that will resonate with your audience!

2. Don't start from scratch every time.

You probably already have essays you wrote to get into college. You can find some great starters in them, and can repurpose them into some substantial head starts for your scholarship essays.

3. Edit.

Most essays are short, but you will likely have a lot to say once you get going!  We suggest writing it out long form, and then go through again, highlighting the most critical pieces. Figure out how to make them fit together, and leave the rest on the cutting room floor. You'll be left with all killer and no filler.

4. Proof it, and proof it again!

But don't just take your word for it... send your scholarship essay to your parents and friends. A fresh set of eyes can catch grammar mistakes, typos, or just help make it better!

Hope that's helpful, and don't forget to join Scholly, to help make the search for scholarships easier.

Financial health starts with staying healthy!

Financial health starts with staying healthy!

School is back in session, the weather is changing, and those scholarship application deadlines are looming. Here are our tips for staying healthy this upcoming application season:

First thing’s first, take those vitamins! Whether it be the gummies, some Emergen-C, or those hippy homeopathic immune system boosters, make sure your body is equip to fight those toxins.

WASH YOUR HANDS. This may seem like a given, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t do this after they do their business. Dirty hands is one of the easiest ways to catch someone else’s bug. Keep some hand sanitizer on deck as well.

Sleep. Now this may be difficult if you’re a student balancing classes, extracurriculars, a job, and scholarship applications, but manage your time to make sure you’re giving your body a rest. Tired body means tired immune system.

Hydrate. Fluids are your friend. They flush out germs and toxins and keep your skin glowy.

Swerve on them sick people. Even if they are your friends. If you live with any, be sure to regularly disinfect surfaces and doorknobs.

Get a flu shot. Some schools and pharmacies do them for free depending on your insurance. And why not protect yourself when you don’t have to spend any money?

Break a sweat. Regular exercise is good for your immune system.

Stay warm. Eat some warm food and drink some tea. When you’re cold, your body spends energy warming you up when it could spend that energy fighting off infections. Help your body help itself.

It’s crucial to stay healthy this fall. This is a great time to apply to scholarships and you need to be healthy in order to balance those applications with school work. Some scholarship programs even like to interview candidates, so tip top shape should be a priority.

Happy hunting!