College Prep: 5 Steps to a Full Scholarship!

Now is the opportune time to start preparing a financial plan for college, regardless of your grade level. These five suggestions that are listed below are tips that all middle and high school students can take advantage of now to limit financial hardship in the future.

1. Keep Your Grades Up
Good grades should always be a top priority for scholars. Having good grades communicates the message that “I know my subject matter, and here is the proof.” Beyond that, good grades can lead to scholarship opportunities. Remember, a scholarship is essentially free money! So, say for instance a student receives a scholarship. In most cases, the primary requirement is to maintain a strong grade point average. In other words, you must KEEP YOUR GRADES UP! Begin working toward implementing this great habit into your routine so you can receive that “free ride” to the college of your dreams. Maybe Howard or JSU? What about Clark Atlanta? It’s your world!

2. Get Involved
For starters, extracurricular activities make school worthwhile and interesting! Active involvement builds skills outside of the academic realm that are essential for college, like teamwork and problem-solving. Also, some students need that extra motivation to succeed that they don’t get from the classroom. Involvement suggests that you are willing to go above and beyond your regular responsibilities, and it looks phenomenal on college admissions applications and resumes! Organizations like choir, band, JROTC, and sports teams offer scholarships to their most talented members. So, if you plan on participating at the collegiate level, join clubs and organizations now.

3. Serve Your Community
Take a moment out of your busy schedule to give back to the less fortunate. Volunteering is a learning experience that presents an opportunity to reflect on your own life, to build empathy towards mankind, and to gain valuable experience that can lead to more opportunities down the line. Volunteer experience looks great on admissions applications just like other types of involvement outside of school. Remember that there is always someone in the world who is less fortunate than you, and regardless of what you can offer it all helps in the long run.

4. Make Good Connections With Your Teachers
Teachers are a great source of information! They are constantly bombarded with information about educational opportunities for their students like summer programs and scholarships, and they are looking to pass this valuable information on to their best students. In this case, you have one job: make sure that when your teacher is thinking of students to consider for these opportunities that you come to mind. You can achieve this by participating in class, helping your peers, asking for help, and generating quality work. Educators consider all of these student attributes when determining who the true scholars are in their classes. And last but not least, teachers come in handy when it’s time to submit letters of recommendation for clubs/organizations and college admissions applications.

5. Start Preparing for Entrance Exams
It’s recommended that students begin preparing for college entrance exams as soon as they enter their freshmen year of high school or even earlier. This will increase the chance of getting a higher score, which leads to more scholarship offers from better colleges and universities. Free practice exams for the ACT and SAT can be found online via collegeboard.org and other similar educational sites, so take advantage!

When it’s all said and done…
Make your parents proud!
Be the scholar you know you can be!
Start these good habits now!
Go to college for free!

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