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Applying For Scholarships: How 4 Easy Steps Can Help You Earn Your First Scholarship

applying for scholarships

Today I am going to show you why applying for scholarships can be easier than you think and standing out from the crowd is the key to earning your first scholarship.


Too many websites online do not have a clear cut way how to actually apply for a scholarship and win.


I will show you a technique that almost guarantees that you earn your first scholarship and how easily you can tap into the over $47,753,975,531 BILLION dollars of available scholarship money.


We will look at what three normal students did to get a full scholarship, despite going to school full time and dealing with adversity.


We will also break down the 4 steps you can follow to earn your first college scholarship.


I will not bore you with the unimportant details. We will get right to the meat and potatoes of what really matters.


Keep reading to learn how…


Applying For Scholarships: Lets Review 3 Average Students Who Got 100% of Their Tuition Paid For


First lets take a look at three students who earned a full college scholarship and see what they all had in common:


Diego Farias

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 1.01.03 PM“Diego is on the school’s math competition team and the Quiz Bowl team. He’s Vice President of the local chapter of the National Honor Society and the Beta Club. In his spare time, he loves watching soccer games.

He also finds time to help others. He mentored a freshman from Argentina who was having trouble in school, since he couldn’t speak English well.

Diego is one of five local seniors who were chosen for National Merit Scholarships this month. The $2,500 award started with high test scores but was also based on leadership in school and community activities.”


Shira Cohen

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 1.03.53 PM“When Shira Cohen, another National Merit Scholar, was finishing up the eighth grade at Ashley Hall School, she was horrified as she watched lockers being emptied for the summer…

 So the next year she started Project Fresh Start and set out collection boxes. Now unused supplies piled up in lockers go to graduating fifth-graders at Mary Ford Elementary School. The program will continue after Cohen goes to Princeton University next year. The National English Honor Society, of which she is President, has made Project Fresh Start a permanent service project.

Cohen’s many other activities include Editor of the school’s literary magazine, Acanthus, Captain of the school’s swim team and she tutors students at Mitchell Elementary School.”


David Rieder

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 1.07.45 PM“I’m not that fast,” he said. Besides his rigorous studies, swimming and blogging about the sport, he also crams his mind with more facts and knowledge to compete on the school’s Quiz Bowl team.

He also finds time for community service. He volunteered with the Miracle League, helping disabled children hit baseballs and round the bases.”


For years, students have been awarded scholarships and avoided getting weighed down with college debt. What do they all have in common? Participation, Participation, Participation!


For full story click here: http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20120510/PC1606/120519979


The best part about what I am going to shares with you is… You too can achieve the same result and earn your first scholarship, quickly and easily.



Top 4 Steps When Applying For Scholarships from “The Participating Grade Technique” to Increase Your Chances of Winning!



Step 1: Get involved in a school club


Step 2: Get involved in community service


Step 3: Find a scholarship


Step 4: Apply with an amazing application essay 



UntitledStep 1: Join a School Club


We all know that being average is only going to get you average results and when you want to stand out you have to make your mark. This is true especially when applying for a college scholarship.


Joining a school club will dramatically increase your chances of earning your first college scholarship.


Go to Google.com and type in your county and the word “club” with your location:

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1. Click on the first listing (or the college of your choice):

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2. Here is a list of extracurricular activities MDC Wolfson Campus offers:


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*When choosing an activity remember the key is to pick something you enjoy and you can stick with.



Nanci Tessier


Vice President for enrollment management at the University of Richmond explains, “We’re looking for a commitment to and a passion for an activity outside of the academic setting. We’re looking for depth rather than breadth.” [click here for more info]


A majority of activities do not cost anything for you to get involved in except your commitment. Sign up, show up and get involved. In the beginning, check out as much as you can to see what fits for you. See what you like and what you don’t like. You never know where you will some future friends or future business partners!


Trying something new or doing something outside of your comfort zone can be uncomfortable for most of us. When you show up to your first activities meeting try to relax, be yourself and be open to new experiences. This is an opportunity for you to discover what you enjoy doing. Realize everyone is in the same boat and you will not be the first or the last person who is feeling out of place.


Each club has different requirements for memberships.


Lets take a look at PTK Honor society requirements and the process in which to apply for membership:

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More membership Information:

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The first thing you will have to do is find out if you fit the requirements to become a full member of this club. If not, you can also become a provisional member.


Lets look at the full membership application:


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There are five sections you have to complete on this application and all of it is self-explanatory. This should take you no more than 5-10 minutes to fill out.


Section 1:

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Section 2:

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Section 3,4 & 5:

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Pretty easy stuff.


GPA seems to be a big factor in this club and you want to make sure you play by club rules. Some clubs require you to maintain a GPA. If you are not sure what your GPA is you can always check with your advisor or calculate your GPA online.


How to calculate GPA:

1. Go to http://gpacalculator.net/:

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2. Pick which calculator you would like to use college or high school:

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3. Next, add your letter grade and amount of credits each class you took in Semester 1 box:


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4. If you would like to add another semesters simply click “Add Another Semester”


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Below you will see your GPA and overall GPA. Once you know these numbers you will be able to make a better decision of which clubs to join. If one requires you to have a higher GPA, you can find out how much work is needed to raise your GPA.


Now that you have found your first club and have signed up, the real trick is to try and get a high position in the club. For instance, lets say you are a great people person and you are good with money. You might want to consider becoming the Treasurer for the club.


*The key here is to stand out from the average member. If you are just joining to win a scholarship or have it look good on your transcripts, that’s fine, but why do all the work if you don’t reap the rewards? More on that in the next few steps.


Colleges want to see you maintain your grades while being an active participant in your extracurricular activities. Don’t burn out and exhaust yourself. Grades count, especially with clubs such as PTK.


Cyndy McDonald


Higher Educational Consultants Association (HECA)


“Colleges would rather see fewer activities, but more depth in that activity than a lot of activities that you only did once or twice. Being the vice president of the ecology club or French club is better than being a member of a dozen different clubs.” [more info]


Now you are ready to step 2 and here is where the fun begins… 


UntitledStep 2: Getting involved in community service


I can only speak for myself, but I know that I would not be where I am today without the help of many other people. These people were acting totally selflessly, expecting nothing in return. When I have asked these people what I can do to repay their generosity, most of the time they tell me to pay it forward. I now feel a sense of duty to give back based on what I have experienced.


Aside from all of this, getting involved in some sort of community service just helps you to become a better-rounded individual. That is how schools view it and to be honest, they are right. Seeing someone being an active participant in their community typically means that person has learned humility and compassion, things that really can set you apart from other students.


Marty O’Connell
Exective Director
Colleges That Change Lives

Marty O'Connell“It is not as important to have lots of activities as it is to be able to talk about why you have been involved in these activities and if you might also be interested in continuing them in college…” [learn more here]


Here are lists of 17 places you can volunteer your time in the community:


  1. Homeless Shelters
  2. Food Banks
  3. The Guideposts Sweater Project
  4. Ronald McDonald House
  5. Special Olympics
  6. Habitat for Humanities
  7. State Parks
  8. City Programs
  9. Helping Others Learn to Read
  10. Hospitals
  11. Libraries
  12. Senior Citizens Centers
  13. Animal Shelters
  14. United Way
  15. Red Cross
  16. Salvation Army
  17. Environmental Organizations


Here is how you can find a place to volunteer near you.

Lets look at Homeless Shelters as an example.

1. Go to Google.com and type in “homeless shelter volunteer”:

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You will see a list of local homeless shelters in your area.

This is the one that appealed to me:

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2. Once in VolunteerMatch.org click Volunteers and this screen will pop up:

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That’s really cool they let you pick a cause to volunteer your time for. This makes it easy to volunteer for something you are passionate about.


3. Lets look at the tab “Animals.”

Here you will see how many places you can volunteer in the Miami area:

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4. Lets pick one and check it out:

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5. Click “Learn More.”



Here you will see “When and Where to volunteer:”


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Also about the cause and the requirements:

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6. Once you find a volunteer position you like simply click “I want to help!”

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Create an account:

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Confirm your email address and start to express interest in any volunteer opportunity:

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Once you hit finish you will be prompted here:

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As you can see you are also able to make a donation if you find a cause you don’t have time to physically volunteer with. Both are great, but as we discussed this is your chance to start volunteering and make a statement when you are ready to apply for a scholarship and write your application letter.

Pick one in your area and call to see how you can start volunteering your time. This doesn’t have to be an every day occurrence but it can be once, every other week, for an hour a day. Different positions have different requirements, so make sure it is something you can commit to.

As we have discussed, this is a way to invest in your future by helping others who are less fortunate or simply just need some help.

Let me tell you something I saw the other day that really amazed me. I was at the gym and someone decided to get involved in a workout competition. People started to crowd around this guy and give him support like you wouldn’t believe. They cheered him on and encouraged him not to give up. He was the underdog and I don’t know about you, but I am always rooting for the underdog.

Peoples’ level of encouragement helped this guy to beat out the top seeds in the competition. We all had fun, but the point is when you see someone that needs your help, don’t just stand there, help them! And if you don’t see anyone who needs your help, find someone.


Rinse and repeat to search for any of the other 17 volunteer opportunities.


Which brings us to step 3, you are almost on your way to earning your first scholarship so keep reading…


UntitledStep 3: Find a Scholarship


I know sometimes it is hard to look on Google and narrow down what you are looking for, especially when looking for a college scholarship. Here is a list of sites I personally use when I look for scholarships. Also, another reason why I use these is because the information here is all FREE.

Lets take a look at one site and I will show you how to look for your first scholarship:

1. Go to FastWeb.com



2. Sign up for a free account (Top right hand corner):

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Fill out as much info about yourself as possible. The site will use this information to match up scholarships specifically to you and it will save time going on Google, trying to search through scholarships that do not apply to you.


Don’t forget to fill out all the information they are asking for accurately. * If you are unsure what your major is going to be, or you don’t know what college your are planning to attend, don’t worry you can always go back and change it later. The important part is to start taking action towards your future and it starts here!



Once you complete your sign up, log into your account and click on the “scholarships” tab:

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Then you will see 6 sections pop up:

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Scholarship Matches: the site will match up scholarships you are eligible to win based on your profile. So don’t skim on your profile*

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Here you will see the following tabs: New Matches, All Matches, Might Apply, Will Apply, Applied, Will Not Apply and Not Eligible.

FastWeb made these tabs so that you can categorize your scholarships and make it easier for you to navigate. Apply to the college scholarships you like, save ones you are not sure about and check out ones you have already applied. Review your college scholarship and manage them with ninja-like precision.

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Scholarship Deadlines: This is self-explanatory. If you applied, you can check and see when the college scholarship deadlines are.

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Featured Scholarships: These are just scholarships FastWeb chose to list and may be a good fit for you.

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Scholarship Tips: Articles and blog posts with advice and suggestions on how to earn a scholarship. Don’t worry, we will come back to this later.

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Scholarship Winners: Proof you CAN win a scholarship and students around the US are winning.

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Scholarship Videos: Reinforces the scholarship information that you will need via video.

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*Tip: Make sure you take the time to look over all the tabs here and look at each one that applies to you or anything you feel you need help with. Personally, I view the videos because I am a visual learner.


Let the scholarships and support start coming to you. This first step should only take about 5 minutes of your time.


Listed are other sites below you can checkout and find scholarships and have these sites be the driving force that works for you. I know you might be thinking, “wow this is easy”… Yes it is. Just put in the footwork and let the scholarships that are a good match for you be your focus.


7 Extra Scholarship Websites Resources:









I love these resources because they are completely free and there is not many things you can get for free nowadays.




Step 4: Write your college application letter


When you get to the point of writing your college essay you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Think of yourself as the underdog and let everyone who has helped you be the driving force to push you toward your dreams.

Earning a scholarship is not all about good grades and it is not about how many free throws you have made in a game. It is more about becoming memorable and the best way to do that is making an impact in the lives of other people.



Now that you are involved with community service and involved in extracurricular activities you are ready to show off your accomplishments and how you give back to others.


You now have what it takes to standout from the crowd. and how others (scholarship approval people). You can now tell these scholarship applications who you are, why you deserve a scholarship and how you standout from the crowd like the 3 winners we talked about earlier.


Hopefully by now you understand that colleges are not just looking for good grades, they want you to push yourself and show you are willing to got the extra mile to help others. When you help others, you are rewarded with others helping you as well.


Something that is important when writing your scholarship essay is read all the questions they are asking very carefully. You want to answer as clearly and throughly as possible.

*Remember, you want to be authentic and honest.


Next, make sure you are catering your essay to the proper audience. You might want to research who the scholarship donors are and what they care about. This can increase your chances in winning your first college scholarship. Do not leave any stone unturned.


You want to make sure that when you are writing your essay you make it personal. As soon as you know who you are writing to, you begin to understand what they care about and how you are able to stick out to them with your selfless service. Make sure you let them know how volunteering your time and being involved in extracurricular activities has influenced your life and molded you into the person you are today.


Be authentic. Remember, by now you have so many great qualities you can share in your essay you do not have to water it down. Just be yourself. When writing your essay it is a good idea to have a couple of people read it to see if they have any suggestions. Getting feedback can do wonders and open your eyes to different possibilities. I know I tend to short change myself with my accomplishments. However, when I ask people who I trust and love to give me some insight, it is amazing how many things I overlooked.


*Once you complete your essay give yourself about 24-48 hours away from it. It is always better to look at something with a fresh pair of eyes.


Basic Outline to Your College Essay


Many students underestimate the importance of their essays when applying for scholarships, but the reality is that your essay can make all of the difference as to whether you’re accepted into the program. Essays are usually what distinguishes two candidates who otherwise have similar scores and resumes. So don’t make the mistake of downplaying the significance of the essay. Your best chances of being awarded a scholarship are by capitalizing on the value of a great essay. You’ll have a much better probability of achieving success if you are able to produce a memorable essay.


1. Brainstorming a Winning Essay

The first step of the process involves analyzing exactly what they are asking you to write about in the essay question. Don’t make the mistake of drafting an identical essay for all of your essay applications—if you want your essay to impress the judges, then it needs to be clear that you tailored your essay to their specific questions. Therefore, it’s helpful to create a series of bullet points or write several brief sentences summarizing what the essay question requires of you.

You should introduce yourself in the first paragraph and explain how you meet their requirements. It is strongly advised that you perform research on the scholarship and/or the judges before you begin your essay, so you can gain a better understanding of what type of persona is likely to be awarded the scholarship.


2. Honesty & Authenticity

In the second paragraph, it’s time to brainstorm how to best tell your story in a way that connects with the essay prompt. Make sure that you emphasize the aspects of your personality and your accomplishments which relate the most to what you’ve written down in the first step. Think about what the judges are looking for, and be sure to explain your life story in a way that jives with the spirit of the scholarship. In the paragraph that follows, expound on challenges you’ve faced in the past and how you went about overcoming them.

Be as personal as possible, so that your essay reads like a genuine narrative as opposed to just another monotonous essay that was written haphazardly. An authentic essay will illustrate to the judges that you have taken their application seriously and that you truly have given their scholarship a significant amount of your thought. Judges can receive dozens—if not hundreds—of applications, and you can be sure that an essay which doesn’t sound honest won’t stay on the top of the pile for long.


3. Clarity and Perfection

Don’t lose focus of your essay’s main theme, because judges don’t appreciate reading tangents that aren’t related to your primary message. That’s why in the fourth paragraph you should articulate to the judges how the scholarship will concretely impact your studies. If you’re ever in doubt about whether you should incorporate a particular anecdote into your scholarship essay, then go back to what you wrote down during the brainstorming stage and see if it fits into what the application asks of you.

Lastly, after wrapping up your essay in the fifth paragraph and reiterating your strongest points, it is absolutely critical that you proofread your essay multiple times. Even if you’re qualified for the scholarship and have written a genuine essay, you can still lose the award due to careless spelling and grammar mistakes. Do yourself a favor and look over your essay for common errors, and it’s recommended that you ask a friend to review your writing to catch things that you may have missed.



Time to Get Started


Hopefully you utilize The Participating Grade Technique and start applying for college scholarship with ease.


Yes, it takes hard work but you will reap the rewards 10 fold.


With this method you will be ahead of the game and your hard work will pay off as it has for many other students year after year.


What are you waiting for? Get involved and start participating!


Make sure you share this blog post with your friend and being the process of giving back.


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