If you plan to apply for financial aid next year, submit the FAFSA as soon as possible!
(You don't have to have an application for admission completed at the time that you file the FAFSA -
just list the school names & codes on the FAFSA form)
Make yourself a strong candidate
A strong GPA is important when applying for scholarships but it is not the only factor! Get involved and gain valuable experience by participating in Clubs and Organizations, Volunteer Activities, MC Honors Programs, Phi Theta Kappa, or Co-op/Internship.
Keep an eye out for opportunities
Apply for FAFSA early, visit the financial aid office, check MYMC for scholarship announcements, create a FastWeb account, visit the MC Transfer Scholarship Blog, and attend the annual College Scholarship Conference.
Pay attention to eligibility criteria
Scholarships can be merit-based, need-based, or a combination of the two. Merit-based scholarships will often require a specific GPA as well as leadership activities, honors courses, and special projects or involvements. Need based scholarships will often ask for FAFSA or income information. You will want to know what is required before applying for a scholarship you might not be eligible for.
Research the sponsoring organization
Read about the organization, institution or scholarship that you are applying to. If you know the sponsor has a passion for healthcare and that is the field you are interested in then highlighting that in your application could help you stand out.
Keep an updated resume
Scholarships often require a resume as part of the scholarship packet. A scholarship resume is often different that the one that you would use when applying for a job and focuses more on the academic activities. Always make sure to consult with a Career Services Professional and be clear on what you are using the resume for.
Secure a strong list of references
References can be professors, administrators, staff, colleagues or supervisors depending on the scholarship requirements. Regardless of who you ask be sure to give as much advance notice as possible, provide a copy of your resume, be clear on deadlines and submission instructions, and always thank them for their time and support.
Have supplemental materials ready
Most Scholarships will require some if not all of these supporting materials, so be ready:
-Official transcripts , request transcripts from Admissions and Enrollment Management
-Financial aid forms and tax information, should be accessible online through your FAFSA profile
-Essays, consult with the MC writing center or an advisor to make sure your essay is polished and comprehensive
-Recommendation letters, ask in advance and make sure your references are able to meet the required deadline
Submit a complete application!
The application form itself may seem like the simplest part, but this is often where scholarship readers find the most mistakes. Read over your application carefully before you send it in and double check to make you included all required materials (sometimes applications will require multiple copies of certain materials). Incomplete applications are often the first to be discarded.
- A student's guide to getting the best letters of recommendation
- Montgomery College's Financial Aid Web Page www.montgomerycollege.edu/finaid
- A Guide to Searching for Scholarships - The Simple Dollar
- Student Financial Assistance, from the U.S. Department of Education.
- The Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid www.finaid.org lists several scholarship search programs, instructions for the federal form, information on loans & lenders, and college planning sites. Also includes a free "Financial Aid Expected Family Contribution Form" which allows you to enter data to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and financial need.
- www.fafsa.ed.gov Use this free form to apply for student financial aid from the federal government, including the Pell Grant, Perkins Loan, Stafford Loan and work-study. The FAFSA is also required by all state and many school student assistance programs. Remember that you must also complete applications for aid at individual schools. Go to the MC Financial Aid Web Page for Montgomery College information.
- Pay for College www.collegeboard.com/pay - a comprehensive site from The College Board, including Tackling the FAFSA, Financial Aid Myths, and Your Aid Award Explained, an overview of the types of aid colleges offer students - grants, loans, and work-study.
- www.scholarshiphelp.org is an excellent starting point.
- Ways to Pay for College presented by The College Board
- Sallie Mae programs through the Student Loan Corporation and scholarship information.
- Scholarship Scams and Frauds - Can You Spot a Scholarship Scam?
Free Financial Aid Search Programs
Academic Assist - Accurate information on university scholarships, grants and fellowships, all at absolutely no cost.
Career One Stop - Search more than 7,000 scholarships, fellowships, loans, and other financial aid opportunities.
College Answer - Browse through more than $3 million scholarships worth more than $16 billion.
CollegeNet - 1,184 students have won almost $1.4 million in scholarships using CollegeNet.
Fastweb - Find your dream school and a way to pay for it. Paying for school just got easier.
Free4You Minority Scholarships - View scholarships for all minorities totaling more than $10 billion.
Phi Theta Kappa - Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) recognizes and encourages scholarships among two-year college students.
Scholarships.com - Find college scholarships while colleges recruit you.
Scholarsite - Search for scholastic financial aid quickly and accurately, without entering personal information.
State Financial Aid - View legislative, need-, merit- and career-based scholarships.
Student Scholarship Search - The largest database of scholarships online and a speedy scholarship matching tool to find scholarships most relevant to you.
Study Abroad - The International Scholarship Search is the premier financial aid, college scholaships and international scholarship resource for students wishing to study abroad.
Super College - Search our free database of scholarships, grants and contests to help you pay for college.
- Search often. Scholarships change and new ones are added.
- Don't limit yourself to one academic major. Select multiple majors to see what's available.
- Select "No Academic Major" to see the scholarships and financial aid awards available to students regardless of their field of study. Some scholarship awards are based on your desire to attend college without regard to major.