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Searching out and applying for scholarships can be a crazy stressful time. For many of us the success or failure of our scholarship search will have a profound affect on the next few years of our lives. With such weighty concerns it's easy to overlook the basics. There are certain things that in hindsight everyone says, "of course you DON'T do that." But, in the haste and stress of filling out applications they always do. Here is a quick list that I'm search everyone is aware of — an Idiot's guide to the basics of scholarship search that.

  1. Start early. Since you can't start yesterday, start now! The earlier you begin your search the more opportunities you will find for financial aid. But wait, there's more. You'll also have more time to craft those applications in order to make sure they are perfect, further increasing your chances to win thousands of dollars!
  2. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Use all your resources. Talk to your school guidance counselor as well as teachers you have relationships with. Find out if your job offers any scholarships, same thing for your parent's job. If you belonged to any organizations growing up look into those opportunities. There are many scholarship opportunities available to members of organizations such as the Boys and Girls Scouts. Of course use the internet. Scour it. Use services like FastWeb.com to help you quickly find opportunities you might e eligible for.
  3. Don't ignore small awards that fit your profile. They add up and many times you can simply use the same essays for multiple scholarships cutting down on time it takes to apply. Money is money and even if it takes you five hours to fill out an application for a $1,000 scholarship, it'll be a long time before you are in a position to make $200 an hour again.
  4. Don't spend money to win money. It's a scam and a suckers bet. Don't ever give someone your credit card or banking information when applying for a scholarship. When in doubt, contact the www.ftc.gov.

By: Dan Russell

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