Scholarship Season Advice

As Olivia Cantadori ‘23


admissions decisions continue to roll out, many will find themselves comparing financial aid options and considering loans. However, with rising tuition costs, this year more than ever, attention has been drawn to scholarships and their potential to help students minimize debt.
Scholarships, both on the local and national levels allow students the opportunity to get more money for college either through a lottery drawing or the student’s merit within an applicant pool. The guidelines vary from academic achievement to athletic performance or creative ability, encouraging a broad array of students to display their talents and prevent debt. Here are some tips for students looking to make the most out of the scholarship season.
One of the most important tips for students is to begin the scholarship search locally. While local prizes tend to be smaller, those offering the scholarships are more likely to be familiar with the student’s school and achievements and a smaller applicant pool increases the student’s chance of winning.
“Looking locally yields the best chance for our students to get a scholarship,” said BHS School Counseling Secretary and former College and Career Associate Mrs. Conley. “The Bethel community gives back by providing many scholarships to support our students.”
However, students are not discouraged from applying to higher award sums through bigger foundations or national websites, so long as the sources are credible.
“Students can also look for larger, national opportunities on reputable websites such as CollegeBoard or Fastweb,” Mrs. Conely advised.
When looking for more diverse or prestigious scholarships, students must keep an eye out for potential scams. Scholarship applications often ask for sensitive materials and personal information, so it’s best to be careful before applying.
“When looking for scholarships on the web, never pay money to apply for any scholarships. Never provide your social security number. Look for a privacy policy or statement. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is,” said Mrs. Conley. “If you’re unsure about any opportunity, let [the Guidance Office] help evaluate it for you.”
Finally, to make sure that you don’t miss any deadlines, it can be helpful to keep a spreadsheet or table of your scholarship applications and deadlines.
“Using a spreadsheet for scholarships helps me keep track of the deadlines and the notification dates,” said Suhani Kashyup ‘23.
“I also use it to organize all the financial aid offers I’ve received from colleges because it makes it easy to compare them side by side.”
For more information, seniors can check their emails for a spreadsheet sent in January from Mrs. Conely. The spreadsheet and accompanying information detail the guidelines and deadlines for several local scholarships. For national scholarships, students can choose from a variety of websites, trusted examples include: FastWeb, and Scholarship Owl.