You Won Money for College…Now What?

That day has finally arrived where you can look back and say that your hard work has paid off. Those days and nights you spent searching for scholarships, filling out lengthy applications, writing essays, interviewing, etc. have all been worth it. You won money for college! Now, while it’s great to pat yourself on the back for a job well done – you also need to realize that in many ways the hard work is just beginning. Here’s why:

You might need more money.  It’s entirely possible that despite all your hard work, you still didn’t win enough scholarships to cover your entire college tuition. Going to college is very expensive! Don’t let this worry you. Just because you’re out of high school doesn’t mean you no longer qualify for scholarships. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

While it’s true that most scholarships will be available to you during your senior year of high school, there are still many scholarships that are only available to current college students. And, you will probably have even less competition, meaning you have a better chance of winning the scholarships you do apply for. It’s as though many people enter college and become lazy. They decide that a quick loan application is much easier than applying for more scholarships. Well my friend, their loss is your gain!

Scholarships can be lost more easily than they’re won. It’s also important to remember that just because you won all those scholarships, doesn’t mean you can’t easily lose them. Here are some tips on what you need to do to keep those hard-earned scholarships:

Keep your grades up. The first step in retaining your hard-earned scholarships is to do what you already planned to do all along – succeed and thrive in your new college environment.

I know this is easier said than done. You were after all a “C” student in high school, and keeping your grades up isn’t necessarily easy for you. But I have news for you – keeping your grades up is now a necessity and must be a major priority in your life! And, it will be easier for you to do this because in many ways, college is easier than high school.  You take fewer classes in college, and your classes meet less often, giving you more time to study and get your schoolwork done. You also have much more flexibility in choosing classes that interest you, and at an hour of the day that’s more conducive to your learning.

Take responsibility. While having more freedom academically and personally is great, it doesn’t come without some issues. There is now nobody but you to keep tabs on your academic status. Your teachers aren’t going to baby sit you to make sure you attend class and get your homework in on time. And your mom won’t be there to tell you to study instead of watch TV or to do your homework instead of go to a party. This means that it will be entirely up to you to be responsible and find that perfect balance between studying and partying with your friends.

Get organized. The best way to stay on top of your work is to get organized. You should have learned a lot about organization when you were applying for multiple scholarships. Prepare yourself before you start college by practicing effective time management skills and keeping track of all your new responsibilities.

Finally, here are some reasons why you might lose your scholarships (besides a low GPA) if you aren’t paying attention:

  • You fail to enroll in a full-time load of classes
  • You drop out of the course of study that your scholarship supports
  • You leave the college that the scholarship allows you to attend
  • You quit the sport that earned you the scholarship
  • You use the scholarship money for expenses that aren’t authorized
  • You forget to apply for a continuation if the scholarship is renewable
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