Issue 51 | April 5, 2013 | Scholarship Tips

Newsletters Archive

The East coast consultant, Maureen Martin, has provided some very helpful information regarding scholarship applications in our featured student section.  But first, read some inside information for our NARHS families. 
INSIDE NARHS: Making Contact
In January and February, over 70 families took advantage of the mid-winter promotion and registered, many for the 2013-14 school year.  Usually the families registered for next year will not be contacted by an advisor for active consultation services until July.  However, if there are questions, we welcome phone calls here at the main office.  Silvia Johnson, Kathy Cluck, Becky Meinzinger or I are very willing to answer any or all questions via phone or email.  To email an individual staff member, use the first initial, the last name  On the webpage you will see a listing of the staff members here and the spellings of their names.  Easier yet, call our toll free number 800-882-2828.  Please remember that we operate on west coast time.
Maureen's Scholarship Tips



Maureen MartinThe first recommendation is to perform a search on for "scholarships." Because of the sheer volume of scholarships, the best place to look would be a book on scholarships.  Books such asScholarships, Grants & Prizes 2013 (Peterson's Scholarships, Grants & Prizes) will have the most up-to-date information, since these are updated yearly.  A number of such books will show up in the search. Read the reviews and pick the one(s) that appeal to you.

Another good resource is How to Go to College Almost for Free by Ben Kaplan.  This book will give a good method to follow to look for and apply for many scholarships.  He had great success using his strategy.

It is an excellent idea to prepare early to make yourself attractive to scholarship committees.  Some good items to consider:

  • Take challenging courses your senior year of high school.  This will make you attractive not only to colleges but scholarships committees as well.  They like to see a strong work ethic, where you really stretch yourself your senior year.
  • Develop interests or activities that will distinguish yourself from the rest of the applicants.  It might be becoming an Eagle Scout, a martial artist, a filmmaker, an aviator, a photographer, a painter or sculptor, an athlete, volunteering at a soup kitchen or animal shelter, ... In what area are you or can you become a "specialist"?
  • Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer!  Many scholarships require community service and specifically ask for that in the application requirements.  Becoming involved in community service is one of the most worthwhile activities you can do, not only for scholarships, but for college applications.  Keep a log of your time participating in these different community service activities.
  • Whenever you participate in an activity, take an outside course, or do volunteer work, ask the advisor/supervisor for a letter of recommendation.  Many scholarships require letters of recommendation, and if you have letters already in a folder, you are ahead of the game.  You can look through your folder of letters and select the one(s) best suited for the scholarship.  These can also come in very handy for college applications and job searches as well.
  • *Write an essay or two.  Topics vary greatly in regards to scholarship essays.  But many of them ask similar questions.
    • Future goals (be specific and discuss how your goals will help others)
    • A major obstacle(s) you have had to overcome in your life (do not just discuss the obstacles, but how you overcame them)
    • How you might solve a major world problem (you may want to stay away from highly controversial issues)
    • A passion you have, or a specialty you have developed, and how it has shaped your future goals or how it has helped others
  • If family obligations make it impossible to participate in outside activities because you are busy with responsibilities in helping to take care of your family, then make that a topic of the essay.  Be specific.


Look over some of the scholarships that interest you and look at the essay questions.  Are they similar enough so that you can write one essay and alter it a bit to fit more than one application?  It is important to answer the actual question asked, in the number of words they require, so understand that your essay will need to be tweaked a bit.  But if you have already a framework for the essay, much of the work will already be done. 

Find a topic that is not found on your transcript or scholarship application.  Or if you choose to include an activity already listed, be very specific about what you did over time and how it affected others.

You want to find an area or interest or topic that will distinguish your essay from the rest of the essays the judges will read.  Focus on an attention-grabbing introduction and a strong conclusion- judges have sometimes hundreds of essays to read.  You want to grab them in the first few sentences.

Stay organized. Keep a folder that contains your activity logs, letters of recommendation, and essays as well as records of scholarships applied to, responses received, any follow up needed. 


Article by Maureen Martin, NARHS east coast consultant


Resources used:

Josh Barsch Confessions of a Scholarship Judge: How Your Kid Can Easily Win $100,000 in Scholarships 
Ben Kaplan How to Go to College Almost for Free




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