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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.

New Year, More Money.

New Year, More Money.

Happy New Year from Scholly! It’s 2018 which means new goals, new scholarships, and new free money. It’s our mission to help as many students as possible reach their potential - and that means having access to education. Our goal for this year to help even more students win scholarships. So keep reading for our tips on how to maximize those applications and get yourself some free money in 2018.

First thing’s first - check stuff out.

Log onto to Scholly ASAP and check out some 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 for which you have high Scholly Scores and those offering large sums of money 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 by giving 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. So be sure to start early so that you’re not scrambling to finish by the time spring break roles around.

When in doubt, ask!

We understand that scholarship essays can be tricky. Some topics are very broad while others a 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.

Ask teachers, friends, parents or anyone else in your life whose eyes you think would benefit your essays. Typos and other grammatical errors are the quickest way to sabotage your applications so be sure to get rid of them. Also, you would be surprised at how people close to you pick up on qualities you may even miss about yourself; they can also help you articulate those qualities that will prove helpful to your essays. 

Lastly, just be yourself.

Authenticity is your greatest asset. These scholarship programs are looking to get a feel for your voice, so make sure it feels and sounds like you and not someone you think they would like. They want to know about you and what you do. Even if they give you a specific question to answer, they will want to know how that relates to you, your interests, and your extracurricular activities. 

So Happy New Year, happy applying, and all the best for the year to come. '

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