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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.

Get the Inside Scoop on Campus-life: Tips for Incoming College Freshmen

Get the Inside Scoop on Campus-life: Tips for Incoming College Freshmen

We hope our college-bound high school grads are considering taking part in pre-freshman programs. These programs give you a chance to learn during the summer and get better acquainted with the school and some of your future peers. If you are not yet convinced  you will want to keep reading. These tips are useful for both college-bound and high school students. 

Pre-freshmen programs often target students that colleges feel will benefit strongly from a nurturing head start. Maybe you’re a first-gen college student or you went to a less competitive high school. That doesn’t mean you’re not ready for college. It simply means you may need some help getting started. Summer Bridge and Pre-Freshman programs are designed to introduce students to the academic expectations of their colleges in a smaller, more structured environment. During the program you will be on campus with a few dozen other incoming students. You’ll receive mentoring from faculty and peers, be introduced to important support offices and resources, and build your confidence. By the time the rest of your class arrives, you’ll have already settled in. Some pre-freshman programs can even be done for academic credit.

If you can’t make it because of travel, work, or some other conflict, that’s perfectly fine. Maximize your summer time with family or save up as much as possible from your summer job. But don’t turn down this opportunity simply because you don’t feel like doing school work in August. If you haven’t been keeping up with your mail and didn’t even know about pre-freshmen programs, stop reading this and open up those letters from school!   

For high school students, you can find similar college readiness programs held during the days on a campus near you or overnight on campuses nationwide. College readiness programs will give you a good introduction to college life, making your eventual transition easier. Look out for these opportunities and add them to your summer calendars.

And remember, summer is a great time to apply for scholarships! 

Finishing Strong: End of School Year Tips

Finishing Strong: End of School Year Tips

Hello Summer!

We’re a few weeks away from the official seasonal start, but weather-wise for much of the country we are right where we need to be. For many colleges and universities, summer break is already here. For those of you already in college and done for the semester, please give yourself some time to step away from everything and reset. That end-of-semester grind preparing for finals and finishing papers and projects can be extremely strenuous. You deserve some downtime. Even if you’re headed right back for summer courses or off to an internship, try to figure out a way to spend at least a couple of days doing something different.  Find a short trip, a staycation, or time with family. Make recharging a priority.

For all of you high school students, especially seniors eager to begin the next chapter in their lives, remain focused and finish strong. We know it’s tough to stay motivated, but think about all of the work you’ve done over your four years. Also, invest time in celebrating the relationships in your life that have gotten you to this point. If you are heading to another part of the country for college in a few months, things are about to be very different. Social media and your group texts will keep you connected, but won’t replace the many little things you may take for granted. Even if you’ll be going to college in your hometown, things are going to move at a different pace. Appreciate these final few weeks of high school, and let people know what they mean to you. For any teachers or mentors who’ve been influential, write them a thank you card. You will feel great sharing it with them, and they will hold onto your words for years to come.

Don’t forget, summertime is a perfect time to apply for scholarships! Congratulations on all your hard work and best of luck for the future.

Happy "App of the Day" Day!

Happy "App of the Day" Day!

February 26th marked something special for Scholly. It wasn't our birthday, but it felt like it.  We celebrated the "App of the Day!" It's like winning an Oscar for apps. Apple joins our mission to provide opportunity for all by recognizing Scholly among the millions of other apps in the App Store.  This recognition furthers our work to help students just like you achieve their potential. We pride ourselves on providing the tools students need to get access to and funding for college.

Our CEO and founder Christopher Gray shared these words,

I  am honored that Scholly is being featured as the “App of the Day”. This recognition from Apple is a testament to all of the hard work my team has and is doing to help students find funding for college.

February has been a notable month, first with the Scholly Scholarship Summit in Chicago and now with Apple’s highlight. 

Students are graduating from college with alarming amounts of student loan debt. Scholly actively changes the tide of that trend and puts more money in the hands of students that need it the most. USA Today stated that Americans owe over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt, surpassing credit card debit by $620 billion. Less than two years ago, the average graduate from the Class of 2016 graduated with upwards of $38,000 in student loans. We are reversing this graduation to debt ratio by reaching students where they are in a compelling way. Our partners and brand ambassadors are committed to finding solutions to educational disparities that stem from socioeconomic restrictions. Scholly is creating a future where students can walk across the stage to receive their degree without the weight of loans. 

What's next for Scholly? 2018 is proving to be a great year, and there are more great things in store. New product features are slated to roll out this year, so the excitement is far from over.   

Celebrate our "App of the Day" feature by sharing Scholly with a friend or fellow student. For more information watch our screen share tutorial. 

Trying to avoid student debt? Start with our $10,000 'No Essay' Summer Scholarship below! Application takes 2 minutes.