Stay Organized When Applying for Scholarships

The more organized you are, the less chance you'll have of looking like this later.

As seniors decide where to focus their time in these stressful weeks leading up to college decisions, some are seeking out scholarships, and finding plenty of them. According to Leobardo Espinoza Jr., a senior blogging for the The New York Times Choice about his college application experience, there are too many scholarships available to successfully apply to them all:

"When there are more scholarships due either the same day or within the same time frame, it gets harder and harder to personalize each scholarship packet. The time constraints are too demanding."

He also found that different scholarships had different requirements, and he realized that he needed to play to his strengths as he narrowed down his list:

"Some scholarships ask applicants to write an essay, create a movie or develop some sort of visual representation. While it is important to understand the requirements of each scholarship, it is even more important to understand how good I am at doing each of those tasks."

His main piece of advice when tackling scholarship essays is to organize yourself before you start:

"I created a spreadsheet and wrote down the required essay topics of each scholarship. After identifying the topics I felt catered to my writing strengths, I chose to apply to those scholarships and not the rest."

As we know well here at College Essay Organizer, organizing your essays before you start writing will save you lots of time in the long-run, and help you write winning essays. 

To see the complete article, click here.


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Get Free Money for College With Scholarships

This guy knew how to make the most of his College Essay Organizer account.

For those of you sitting back and enjoying the calm after the frantic pre-deadline frenzy, you may want to re-consider how you are spending your time. Now is primetime for applying for scholarships, and here is one posted by the New York Times which you should definitely take a look at. If you have any interest in finances, and it is relevant to us all, especially those about to enter into a significant financial investment, a.k.a college, this is a great opportunity to take a deeper look at your own views:

"We also seek a unique point of view. Not so much 'Why it’s good to give' or 'What I learned from my job' but 'How I gave in an entirely new way' or 'How I made money doing something no one else around me had ever thought to do.'"

If money matters don't appeal, log into your College Essay Organizer premium account, and reference the hundreds of scholarship essays that our members have access to, none of which are mentioned on the Common App and all of which are nearly impossible to find unless you know exactly what you're looking for.


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How To Find Money For College

Money for college - everywhere

Okay, maybe finding scholarships isn't quite like this, but it's CLOSE.

There are a lot of things on most students' minds as the deadlines for enrollment approach, not least among them the increasing cost of a university education in America.

For those of you unsure of how you're going to be paying for college (or for those parents in the audience), remember that the number of scholarships, fellowships, and diversity-based grants are higher than ever before.

Shaking the money tree effectively amounts to these three things:

  • Do your homework. What groups do you belong to? What are your special interests? Your favorite sports, hobbies, even your hometown can be qualifications for money you didn't even know was out there.
  • Creatively apply, and apply often. Your goal when applying in any competitive field is to stand out on your own and be memorable. No better way to do that than to insist on a creative, clear, inventive approach in your writing that stays specific to the money source you are applying to.
  • Apply often. Don't just stop at one or two. Spread it around, like you did with your college apps. You never know which one will hit, or how many.

Scholarships are out there if you seek them aggressively. And be sure to start with college essay organizer - we've diligently tracked down the scholarship opportunities schools present on their own applications and websites, so take advantage of them. Just because an essay isn't required doesn't mean it's bad for you.

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With Financial Aid Deadlines Approaching, Take Advantage of these Insider Tips

Is this what's on your mind?

Now that the majority of college deadlines have passed, is it time to sit back with a sense of self-satisfaction on all that you have accomplished? Absolutely. But for many students, financial aid deadlines are still looming, as are concerns as to whether or not college dreams will be dashed by insufficient aid. As schools continue their own struggles to meet rising costs while faced with an increasing demand for financial aid by its applicants, it becomes ever more important to understand how schools are basing their aid decisions.

An article in the NY Times Choice Blog by Martha Merrill and Elaine Solinga, dean of admission and director of financial aid at Connecticut College, respectively, offer some insider tips on how to fill out these all-important forms:

  • Each school’s policies are different. Connecticut College belongs to a handful of colleges that has a no-loan policy for families with incomes less than $50,000, making it an attractive option for students looking to avoid federal loans.
  • Be accurate and on time. While you may be feeling burnt out from getting all those applications in on time, don’t give in to the temptation to take the financial aid form less seriously. The earlier you can file your tax return and put together an accurate reflection of your family’s circumstances, the sooner you can get that needed rest, and breeze through the rest of your senior year.
  • Ask questions. Getting help filling out the financial aid form is not like getting help on your college applications. Ask those supporting you to pitch in, and when in doubt, contact the school. Schools know that these forms can be complicated, and they usually have dedicated staff to field your questions and keep your information correct and up-to-date.

You’ve made it this far. Don’t give up now. Soon enough, you’ll be sitting back wondering what you were so stressed out about.

Did you know that CEO includes hundreds of hard-to-find scholarship questions in its database? It makes it that much less stressful when applying for financial aid.

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Using CEO to Find Scholarships And Departments For College

One of the hidden benefits (which we've tried here on CEO blog to keep not-so-hidden) is that the Essay QuickFinder and Essay RoadMap tools will help you find department-specific and scholarship essays you didn't even know existed.

If we take a look at this simple example, the Essay RoadMap finds 9 requirements that can be answered with just 3 pieces of writing. But if you read on, you'll see that even this small selection of colleges brings with it 49 departmental and scholarship essay prompts. 49! And almost none of these questions appear on the Common App.

Searching For Free Money With CEO

Seeing these prompts will doubtlessly set you off towards programs and, in many cases, opportunities for free money that you might have overlooked.