Monthly Archives: January 2010

State of the Union Address

Tonight President Obama will unveil his plans for the next year. I imagine he will give a recap of his successes and struggles over the past year and highlight some of his initiatives going forward. I will be paying specially close attention to his new initiatives on education.


This past year was a landmark year for increases in higher ed spending. The Pell grant was increased by almost $600 and millions of dollars were pumped into community schools.


I will be paying attention to his words tonight and see what great things may be in store that will help us continue to fund education!

Public Libraries: Hidden Gem of Untapped Millions

Your local public library is an excellent (often untapped) wealth of scholarship information. You can find this information in two places. First: There are whole sections in your library devoted to books about searching for scholarships. Run a quick query and you will probably find at least 20 books.


The second spot: is the “community news” bulletin board when you walk through the door. Many local organizations will post their scholarship ads or applications on these boards to attract motivated students to apply for their scholarships.


You also could consider speaking with one of the library employees. More than likely, they have been approached by someone offering a scholarship and they could be an invaluable source of information!


So your one task today should be to go visit your local library and find at least one scholarship to apply for!

Time Management: One Task per Day

I’m not a social scientist, nor do I profess to have a good handle on the human psyche. However, I do know that if left alone and without a plan, I would be the most unorganized person alive. So, because I have realized this about myself, I have implemented a surefire way to organize the tasks in my life and get things done! My one little secret, “ONE TASK PER DAY”. I agree, not exactly groundbreaking, but it works! Guaranteed! No, I do not mean only do one thing per day. What I mean is focus on one productive thing that you can do that will advance you towards your goal. Take the end result, divide it by how many days you have between today and the due date, and plug away at it. Once again, not groundbreaking, but it works!


Apply this same concept to applying for scholarships. If you do “ONE TASK PER DAY” you will quickly find that you are progressing towards your goal of financial aid domination.


I recommend starting your search today! If you are able to find one quality scholarship per day that is a great start. Do this for two weeks and keep track of the due dates for all 14 scholarships. Then start with the closest due date and count backwards. how many days do you have? 30, 60, 120? If you put this into perspective, you can easily break up even the most difficult task into manageable bites. You could complete one section of the application per day, you could write the introduction to a killer essay, you could contact one reference to write you a recommendation letter, you could mail one complete application… Follow this model and you will have much more accomplished than you could have ever dreamed before!


Let me know your success stories.

Tips for Winning Scholarships

When it comes to finding scholarships you need to be two things: tenacious and smart.


Tenacious, because scholarships are only given to those who work hard and follow through in their search for free money for college.


Smart, because it is not only your attitude, but the smart thoughts and motives behind your actions that will determine how successful you can be at earning scholarship money.


When a committee sits down to determine who they will give a scholarship to, they want the best. They won’t consider a mediocre candidate who filled in every blank on the application and wrote a credible essay, they want someone who has done those things and also showed the committee a glimpse into the tremendous person they are as a candidate.


When you complete an application you must pour yourself into it. You must give the committee enough information about yourself that will sway them into believing that you are the most deserving person for their money.


So remember to be tenacious and smart!


You will not be sorry.


You may also want to check out this post on US News and World Report on the top 10 tips for finding financial aid. Top 10 Tips

Do your FAFSA early, guarantee yourself the maximum aid

If you are like me, you probably putting things off until the last minute and then enjoy the thrill of being pushed for time to get everything done on schedule. While that may work in many industries, with financial aid, it most certainly will not! The FAFSA is designed as an all encompassing application for all types of federal student aid. With that in mind, it would make sense that the earlier you submit your application the more aid you can qualify for. You may want to ask “But I thought the federal government had an infinite supply of money?”. While this may seem true based on your government’s free pocketed spending habits, there is most certainly a finite amount of money when it comes to federal student aid. Before you get depressed and resign your hopes of ever receiving aid, let me assure you, if you follow these 3 easy steps, you can qualify for the maximum financial assistance from the federal government.

Step 1: Apply Early! With the new FAFSA application coming on line in January of every new year, there is no reason to wait on submitting your FAFSA. You may also wish to wait until you have a completed tax return for that year. While this may seem illogical (since you need your tax information to complete the FAFSA), you actually have the option to submit the FAFSA without your tax information, then make a correction to your submitted FAFSA once you have filed your taxes. This way your application has already gone through to your dream school and they can begin to process your aid.

Step 2: Follow Up! With about 1/3 of students being selected for verification (a process that requires you to verify the information you submitted on your FAFSA is correct) there is a high probability that you will need to submit additional documentation to your school to complete your FAFSA application. When you do this, it is always important to verify that the documents have been received and that you have submitted ALL of the necessary forms with appropriate signatures. Also, always keep a copy of all submitted documents for your records.

Step 3: Accept Early! Once you get your award letter from your school with your financial aid package, make sure you make a decision and accept as early as possible. Many schools will award grants with limited supplies on a first come first served basis, so by turning this in as soon as possible, you guarantee yourself the maximum aid.