Oct 6, 2010

‘Scholarship Search Secrets’ Available FREE Online

Now in its sixth edition, Scholarship Search Secrets is a terrific FREE eBook authored by Christopher Penn, of the Student Loan Network. Drawing from both from personal and professional experience, Penn uses his guide as a platform to show students how they can take responsibility for finding sources of financial support by following a series of specific instructions on where to look for and how to win scholarship money.

Among the scholarship “tricks of the trade” Penn shares is an understanding of how numbers figure into the likelihood of scoring money by applying for smaller, less competitive scholarships. “Every scholarship for which you are eligible is worth applying for, because a bunch of small scholarships will add up to a big one,” counsels Penn.

To make the application process easier, Penn recommends developing a “scholarship portfolio” including a standard biographical statement, plus answers to common questions in typical essay lengths of 250, 500, 750, or 1,000 words. Suggested essay topics are essentially those found on the Common Application or in individual application supplements.

In other words, if you’ve already completed a college application, you probably have at least one essay already on the shelf that may be recycled as a scholarship entry. In fact, you probably have a few if you’ve kept samples of your best written work on file. And over time, you’ll have opportunities to refine your work based on competition outcomes.

Using another free scholarship search tool, FastWeb, one local Fairfax County high school student was able to identify and apply for a series of scholarships following Penn’s general strategy. He won a few and lost a few. But eventually, the process became streamlined to the point that submitting a scholarship application took relatively little time and his successes added up to serious money—about 50 percent of his expensive private university tuition. He has since used the same strategy to successfully apply for graduate school grants and fellowships.

Scholarship Search Secrets also provides advice on how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There are warnings on how to avoid scholarship scams as well as a few insights on how to conduct productive scholarship searches on the web using a few “magic words.”

In Christopher Penn’s world, it’s never too early OR too late to start searching for scholarships. “While it may seem that many scholarships are intended for the very top academic performers or the poorest students, the reality is that there are scholarships for everyone,” explains Penn. “The best time to start is always right now.”

For more information or to download a copy of Scholarship Search Secrets, visit the Student Loan Network website.

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