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Monday, November 26, 2012

Writing multiple scholarship essays (with Star Wars dolls)

Most scholarship essays want to know about your life plans and dreams. (A few are random and ask about mosquito breeding in Antarctica, but you can skip those for now.)

Usually, the length of that "generic scholarship essay" can vary tremendously, anywhere from 50 words to five or more pages. For this reason, the first time you write your scholarship essay, write several versions of your generic essay so you’ll always have the perfect one ready.

Have essay within essay within essay. Like epic Star Wars Russian dolls. (Image courtesy of

For example, have both a 500-word and 1000-word version of your essay. That way you'll be ready for more than one essay prompt.

Monday, November 12, 2012

How to make scholarship search engines work for you

You gotta love scholarship search engines -- FastWeb,, you name it. They promise to match you instantly to the scholarship of your dreams, and why not? They have hundreds of scholarships in their database and can match you to them.

Or can they? Or perhaps the question is -- will you let them?

The problem is, most students don't carefully fill out their profile. There seem to be a million questions on a thousand pages, and pretty soon you start clicking through, barely glancing at the questions.

I know. I've been there.

You may be tempted to do this on your scholarship profile. Don't. Just don't.

The thing is, that profile is the only way scholarship search engines will be able to match you to scholarships. So fill it out. Make the search engine work for you and help you fund college through scholarships.