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Is a college degree worth $37,000 of student debt? Scholarships to the rescue! According to Reviews.com, “With tuition rates rising an average of 3.5% every year, the average undergraduate now finishes his degree with over $37,000 in student debt.”

A quick peek at the numbers shows that for the 2017-2018 academic year, estimated costs for tuition, fees, housing, meals, books, travel and personal expenses has reached an all-time high. Estimates for attendance at top universities such as Harvard ($69,600 -$73,600), Yale (approximately $66,445), Princeton (approximately $70,010) and Georgetown (approximately $72,496) are out of reach financially for many families, even factoring in financial aid.

State universities, once an affordable option, have rising tuition costs, as well. For example, full-time students at the University of Delaware can expect to pay $25,492 per year as Delaware residents, or a whopping $45,482 per year if out-of-state.

But, students can alleviate the burden of graduating with student debt through scholarships.

Finding just the right scholarships, however, can be both time-consuming and a daunting challenge. To help, Reviews.com spent over 200 hours researching 17 of the most popular sites across five core metrics including search functionality, scholarship availability, ease of use, application tools, and additional helpful resources.

The results?  No single site has information on every scholarship. So, students are advised to select several sites and visit often for updates and new offerings.

How to WIN scholarships

Finding scholarships is the first step. But, how do students actually WIN them? Here are our top tips to winning those college scholarships:

  1. Create a short-list. From the thousands of scholarships available, you must be able to pare down those that apply. Be realistic. If a scholarship has requirements, test scores, or a GPA that you don’t meet, do not waste your time and effort. There are plenty of scholarships that are just right for you.
  2. High dollar scholarships attract a lot of competition. A $40,000 award is going to be significantly harder to win than a $2,000 prize. Smaller, locally organized scholarships often have far less competition. Sometimes, these smaller awards are not listed with the large scholarships sites, so, check with your local Rotary Club, Better Business Bureau, and Chambers of Commerce.
  3. Get organized. Create an Excel spreadsheet, organized by due date, to keep you on track. Writing a killer essay is a moot point if you miss the submission deadline. So, keeping on top of the process is essential.
  4. Gather all of the components. Many scholarships require letters of reference (sometimes several), official transcripts, or stand-alone essays. Having all of the pieces you need to submit a complete package well in advance of the deadline is crucial.
  5. Write, revise… and revise again. An exceptional essay can often provide the boost you need to get your application to the top of the pile. Take your time. If an essay is written on the day before it is due, there is no time to edit. Ask a trusted teacher, mentor, parent, or tutor to read and critique. Remember, they can’t write the essay, but can certainly give constructive comments regarding word choice, grammar, and suggest important points that may have been missed. Some essays can even be re-used!

For more information and our own list of college scholarships, visit our Scholarships tab. And, good luck!

About Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, Inc. in Delaware

Back to Basics offers 1-on-1 tutoring in 60+ subjects, professional development, translating and interpreting in 21 languages, speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavior specialists, reading specialists, paras, ELL services, homebound services, RTI support, psycho-educational testing and test prep. We also offer summer school and educational summer camps, original credit and credit recovery, along with unique enrichment options such as music, art and photography. Plus, Back to Basics Private School is Delaware’s only Department of Education approved 1-on-1 Private School for K-12.

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