Tuesday Scholarship Surprise!

Once a month (and sometimes more!), we feature a Surprise on the CCC Blog! You don't want to miss the opportunity to receive this month's surprise.

We are giving away 2 free copies of the College Board's Brand New 2009 Scholarship Handbook-- just released! 

Here is the book's description from amazon.com:

"The Scholarship Handbook 2009 is an ideal resource for students and parents who need help paying for college.  It provides complete, authoritative facts about more than 2,100 scholarship, internship, and loan programs offered to undergraduates by foundations, charitable organizations, and state and federal government agencies.  Each program is clearly described, and indexes help students quickly find scholarships for which they qualify.  Included is a planning worksheet to help organize applications and meet critical deadlines."

How can you receive a free copy of this book? 

Post a comment to this blog and let us know why you want this book -- easy enough! The two winners we will be posted on the blog this Friday August 29. 

Happy Tuesday!!



College Scholarship Workshop: Application Essay

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
                       -- Albert Einstein

The first day of part four focused on application documentation/information. The other main component of the application: the essay.  

The essay is arguably the simple most important part of the entire scholarship application.The essay differentiates you from other applicants. How do you make sure that your essay gets to the top of the pile? Be strategic. Be focused. 

Step One: Read the Question

Read the question or prompt. Give yourself time away from the paper and computer to think about the question in an unstructured way. 

Review Sample Scholarship Essay Questions:


Step Two: Review Essay Requirements

Create a document that lists the requirements for each essay. When you are working on a particular essay, keep this document close by to reference. 

It should include:

-> Length of Essay

-> Specific questions to address

-> Specific topics to emphasize

-> Specific theme 

-> Overall purpose of essay

Step Three: Brainstorm

Before you begin to organize each essay and structure your response, brainstorm! That means step back from the ruled paper and jot down all your thoughts related to the essay. For most writers in general, brainstorming is the most valuable part of the writing process. 

Great article on How to Brainstorm: http://www.wikihow.com/Brainstorm

Another more detailed article on Brainstorming: http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/brainstorming.html

What does brainstorming look like?

Here are a couple examples (one found on Google Images and one found on Flickr) -- there is no “right” way to brainstorm. Take out a piece of paper and just write -- however you like! 


[Image found on Google Images]

[image found on flickr - belongs to sougwen]

Step Four: Outline/Create Structure

There are many types of outlines that one can use for writing the scholarship essay. The purpose of this outline is to keep you focused while writing so that you don’t go off point and remember to meet all of the requirements. 

Please visit the Duke University Writing Studio for incredible resources to help you create the structure needed for a great essay: http://uwp.duke.edu/wstudio/resources/drafting.html

Step Five: Write Rough Draft

Use your outline and begin filling in the different sections. Your first draft should be a starting point. It doesn’t need to have perfect grammar. Writing a rough draft should reduce your anxiety because you know it’s not the final product. 

Great overview of the Scholarship Writing Process:


Step Six: Finalize the Essay

Work on your essay until you get to your final draft. It make take you 10 drafts -- that’s okay! Ask friends and family to give you feedback. It always helps to have fresh eyes look at the essay. And then when you have that final draft in your hand, check the requirements. Make sure that your essay meets everything that is required. 

Take it step by step and your essay will be golden!

---> Quick Tips from Whitney Ahneman, CCC Scholarship Director

  1. Give the reader insight into your personality and interests.  Include them and maybe use them to tell a story about yourself.  And trust me, we like getting a feel for who you are!
  2. Use the questions asked to show your values as a person.  How you feel about certain topics or how you react to certain words or situations will tell us a lot about you as a person.
  3. Please don’t list accomplishments.  Talk about various activities that have grabbed your attention and how they have become a part of your life.  You can be honest and proud of accomplishments but listing things you’ve worked on doesn’t show any passion.  Remember, we have a copy of your resume.
  4. The tone of your essay will come through based on the topic, your feelings, and your words.  There is no one right tone for an essay but it is the part of the essay that leaves a lasting impression so make sure it is a reflection of yourself.
  5. Proof read!  Typos happen, we realize that, but try to look over your essays so it doesn’t happen to you.


College Scholarship Workshop Part Four: Application Process

"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment." -- Jim Rohn

The scholarship application process can be separated into two main components. The first three parts of this workshop are part of "Component 1" and the last two parts of this workshop are part of "Component 2."

Component 1: Prepare for the marathon 

Component 2: The actual marathon

You have completed the first component of the scholarship process, the preparation. You should feel confident that you have the necessary training to be successful in the next component, the scholarship applications. 

Lets get started!

Part Four Overview:

Day 1 ---> Application Overview

Day 2 ---> Application Essays

Day 3 ---> Application Bonus Points

Application Overview

  1. Deadline: Write the application deadlines on your main calendar. Do not miss the deadline! Most scholarship applications will have different deadlines so make sure you clearly identify which scholarship has Deadline A versus Deadline B. 
  2. Requirements: Note the requirements for each application.
  3. Paper versus Online: If given the choice, complete the application either way. Do what you feel most comfortable with. If not given the choice, don’t fill out the application the other way! Follow the directions. 
  4. Main Parts of the Application: 

a. General Information (ex. name, contact information)

b. Academic Information (ex. GPA, copy of transcript)

c. Personal Accomplishments/ Resume (ex. organizational membership, volunteer work, awards, extra-curricular     activities, work experience)

d. Financial Information (ex. Cost of tuition, Financial Need Documentation)

e. Recommendation Letters

f.  Personal Essays

---> Getting Started with your Applications

You can divide the applications into two parts:

  1. Documentation/Information 
  2. Essays
Both parts should get equal emphasis, so make sure to allow yourself enough time to write your essays. Day 2 of this workshop will focus solely on the application essays.  

So today we will focus on Documentation/Information.

Remember to stay very organized during this part of the process! 

Step One: Create a Master Plan

A master plan is a blueprint of all the different pieces that need to be completed. To create your master plan, you want to carve out some time to focus solely on this task. Don’t try to do it quickly or while doing ten other things. 

  • Create a timeline. How long do you have to complete your applications? Remember to note the deadlines of each application and keep those dates prominent on your timeline.  
  • Review each application and make a list of the items you need for each application. 
  • Now you know, for Application A, I need items X, Y, and Z by March 1. For Application B, I need items A, B, X, Y, and Z by April 5. 
  • Now pull together all of your separate lists and create one document that reflects the following:
---> Each Application
---> Each Application’s Deadline
---> Each Application’s Requirements

  • Final Step of your Master Plan: Create a list of the documents you need. [Note: Many applications ask for the same documents so by making this list you know ahead of time that you need 5 copies of your transcript.] This step will hopefully prevent you from making five separate trips to get your transcript!

Step Two: Create an Action Plan

An action plan takes your master plan one step further. It defines what actions need to be done in order to complete the items listed on your master plan. 

For example, you can set up an action plan that follows your timeline. 

Application Timeline/Checklist _________________________ Notes _______

September 2008   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

☐  Action 1 __________________________ 

☐  Action 2 __________________________

☐  Action 3 __________________________

October 2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

☐ Action 1 __________________________ 

☐ Action 2 __________________________ 

November 2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

☐ Action 1 __________________________ 

☐ Action 2  __________________________

December 2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

☐ Action 1 __________________________ 

☐ Action 2 __________________________

January 2009 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

☐ Action 1 __________________________ 

☐ Action 2 __________________________

and so on...

Step Three: Take Action Daily! Create Daily Action Plans. 

And the final plan: a daily action plan. Once you have created your action plan, you can easily determine your daily actions by looking at the month and plan what day you will do Action 1 on and what day you will do Action 2 on and so on. 

By creating the master plan and the action plan, you have set yourself up for success with part one of the application. The goal is to stay organized and to remember deadlines

It’s time for you to start taking action! I’ll see you back here on Friday for day 2 of the workshop: the essays. 

Best wishes,



College Scholarship Workshop: Learn some more

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." -- Walt Disney

At this point in the workshop, you have come incredibly far in the college scholarship process. You are likely tired and frustrated (but that's normal) so take breaks and make sure to remain positive. Don't get lost in the details of the process and focus on the big picture.

The work you have put in and are still putting in will pay off in the end. And you'll learn a thing or two during the process that will apply elsewhere in life :). 

In the last part of the workshop (Part 3, Day 2), you created a list of resources personalized to your own needs/goals. Now it's time to utilize them to get to Point B.  And Point B is where the money is located (pretty important to the scholarship process). 

Goal: Locate the money

Step One: Filter your resources

Go through your list of resources and focus on what each on provides. You should have created a separate column specifically for this purpose. 

Determine which resources show you where the money is located (ex. specific scholarships). Put these resources on a separate list to keep you focused. You can think of this list as your treasure map :). 

Step Two: Use your resources

A list won’t get you anywhere so now it’s time to actually use the resources on your list. Go through each resource you just selected and find out which college scholarships are available to you. 

Remember to stay focused on the goal: find college scholarships for you. Don’t get distracted. Go through each resource separately and don't try to do it all at once. 

Step Three: My College Scholarships

While you go through each resource, keep a list of college scholarships you find. After you review all of your resources, you will have a list of college scholarships just for you. 

Step Four: Take a huge sigh of relief. 

You've completed one of the most important parts of this entire process. You certainly didn't take the easy way out. You haven’t pulled a list out of a book or printed out your google search results, you’ve created your own personalized list. You are on your way to success! 

Coming up next week:

Part 4: The Application Process 

Best wishes,



College Scholarship Workshop: Learn & learn some more

"All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man has taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Have you created your scholarship resource list? Have you at least started it? If the answer is YES, then lets get going! 

Goal: Determine the best resources for you

As you now know very well, there are a TON of resources available to everyone looking for scholarships. However, to be successful in this process, you need to determine which resources will get you where you want to go. Why waste time on resources that aren’t going to get you to your goal? 

When researching anything, perfectionism can kick in. You want to make sure you have it all and know everything about the topic at hand. If you let this perfectionism control your scholarship process, you won’t be nearly as successful. 

My advice to you: throw out those thoughts of perfectionism and remain FOCUSED

I created this part of the workshop to make sure you keep moving toward your goal and don’t get sidetracked by trying to nail down every possible resource. 

Step One: Use your list of resources to create a new document

This new document (paper or word document) should have three columns. 

Column One: The Resource 

Column Two:  Resource Provides

Column Three: What I Need from Resource

Step Two: Determine what Resource Provides

Start at resource one and write down what that resource provides (ex. local scholarships or financial aid worksheets or young adult cancer survivor scholarships...) 

And then move on to resource two, resource three, and so on. 

Keep moving through your list and don’t spend too much time at one resource. All you are looking for is what each one can give you. When you determine that information, put it in column two and move on to the next resource. 

Step Three: Evaluate what you need from each resource

After you have determined what information is available at each resource, you will likely eliminate some resources that don’t provide the right information for you or provide weaker information than your other resources. 

Eliminate those resources from your list. 

With your core list of remaining resources, what do you need from each resource? You want to make sure you aren’t getting the same information from five different resources. Determine what the resource can help you with the most and what sets it apart from the other resources. And then write this information down in column 3. 

After you have filled in the three columns, you should have a nice selection of resources that provide different information. If there is any information that you feel is missing, find a resource to fill that gap. If nothing is sticking out to you, then don’t worry about it. You can always find another resource later on if needed. 

Take Away Message:

Evaluate resources available to you. 

Create a core list of resources and the information valuable to you from each resource. 

Feel comfortable with this list and stick with it. Don’t try to keep adding to it unless absolutely necessary. 

You should feel very proud of yourself. You have taken the time to personalize your scholarship search so that you can achieve success. This part of the process is not too fun, but well worth the investment! 

You should feel in control at this point and no longer overwhelmed. Remember to remain focused and keep moving in steps (don’t try to do everything at once). 

Coming Up:

On Wednesday, we will move on to the final day of part three of the workshop. We will use your resources to determine how to get to point B. What is point B? You’ll find out on Wednesday! 

Best wishes,