1. Students should always explore ALL of their Financial Aid options and make sure that they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form before May 1st each year.
2. Based upon the Financial Aid calculation process a student may be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, Pennsylvania State Grant and/or a Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) from the school they will be attending. Grants like scholarships are free money programs.
3. Students should examine ALL scholarship opportunities not just selected ones.
4. Scholarships are NOT just available to the best and brightest students. All students should attempt the scholarship process.
5. The successful scholarship candidate is not necessarily the best and brightest students but the student who is competing with the fewest number of students for an award.
6. The word 'essay' should NOT be considered a bad word in the Financial Aid vocabulary.
7. There are numerous free scholarship sources available. You do NOT need to pay money for scholarship resources.
8. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Be very careful for scholarship sources that guarantee you a scholarship (almost always for a fee).
9. In addition to regional and national sources, students should not ignore local scholarships as well. These scholarships may not be as large as some others. However, there will be less competition.
10. If a scholarship is renewable, make sure that you understand what the criteria for renewal is so that you can make sure that you can retain it for future years.
11. Some of the top internet scholarship sites are:
12. Make sure that you understand the different deadline dates. Traditionally, many scholarship opportunities open around Thanksgiving and close around the beginning of April. Be sure to apply on time.
13. 'Thank You' – You would be surprised how many times a simple 'thank-you'impresses the benefactor. A 'thank-you' could turn a one-year non-renewable scholarship into a renewable one.