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A Quick and Easy Scholarship Plan for Busy Students and Families

Let’s face it. Scholarships can be overwhelming, frustrating, and downright draining.

Whether it’s a hectic schedule, heavy homework week, procrastination, or just an “I’m not feeling it today” mood, you must have a scholarship strategy that you can stick to.

We can’t afford to stop going after scholarships. We can’t afford to let student loans steal our dreams from us. The only way for you or your student to own their education is to fight in the war against student debt.

Because I know those busy days will come, here’s a super simple scholarship plan for getting things done when your family is busy, overwhelmed, and stressed out.

A Super Simple Plan for Consistently Working on Scholarships

Step #1: Determine Your Symptoms

I want you to think back to the last time you were sick. I’m talking about sick enough to visit the doctor.

Normally, the first thing that happens when you get to the emergency room or minor care clinic is to complete a form that explains the reason for your visit.

Once you’re called back, they take your blood pressure, check your pulse, and conduct other standard procedures.

Then it happens! You can finally get some relief because the doctor comes in to see you.

The doctor refers to your paperwork, asks some questions, does an exam, and may run some tests.

Finally, the doctor diagnoses your illness and prescribes your new regime of antibiotics and rest.

You do what they say, get to feeling better, and life goes on. But how did the doctor know what medication to prescribe?

They analyzed your symptoms.

Just as the doctor would not enter the room and blindly give you medication, you can’t afford to blindly submit your scholarship applications without understanding what is necessary based on the results you’re getting.

BONUS TIP: Another Reason You May Not Be Winning Scholarships

Answer one of these two questions based on your current scholarship situation.

If you aren’t earning scholarships: What are the symptoms that are causing your results?

If you are earning scholarships: What’s leading to your success?

Although these are two different questions, they oftentimes have the same or similar answer. Most students will say, “Uhhhhhh… well…I’m not really sure. It might be…”

 “Might be” and “not sure” are not going to take you very far. If you’re not approaching scholarships in an organized manner, other families will run past you to success. Use our FREE Scholarship Calculator to determine where you’re struggling.

Step #2: Chunk It Down

This means that you need to create something that you and your family can stick to every week.

Creating an unrealistic plan will make scholarships seem like a chore rather than something that can greatly influence the financial future and legacy of your family.

Again, students fail to earn scholarships when they do not create a workable system. If you’re struggling with this, you’re not alone. A lot of families don’t know how to set up a system to understand…

  • What works?
  • What doesn’t work?
  • What’s working now?
  • What could work in the future?

They forget to look at any “symptoms” that may be causing issues in their scholarship process.

Step #3: Find Scholarship Substitutes

One of my professors is always referencing scientific studies that have found that our brains can only do 4-5 hours of highly engaged, cognitive work per day.

Said plainly, some days you’re not going to have the mental capacity to do the work you need to do when you want to do it.

Explains a lot right?

However, there are other scholarship activities you can do that don’t require as much “brain power”.

There are always scholarship activities you can do

During super busy and stressful days, as a family, work on things other than the essay like finding scholarships, sending thank you notes, or updating your Scholarship Resume.

These other elements are still critical to the overall process, but may not be as mentally taxing. Essentially, substitute your easier scholarship activities for the harder ones.

Step #4: Use Your Scholarship Team

The scholarship journey is much easier when you have people that you can turn to.

These could be counselors, advisors, teachers, mentors, or even me. It’s important that you create a team/group of people around your family that’ll encourage and most importantly – guide you.

Please, do NOT rely on your family alone. You need to have a team of people working on your family’s behalf. You need to have access to accurate information.

Real Talk: A mentor of mine stresses the importance of learning from the right people. I wanted to learn from someone who had earned scholarships at every phase of their education and not just undergrad. I knew that they’d be able to look back and say, “Hey, I was there. Here’s what you should do.” It’s the philosophy I use when teaching you and families like yours on the Scholarship Informer blog and within the Fast Track videos.

Step #5: Develop Mind Recorder Habits

Earlier, I mentioned that our brains can only process 4-5 hours of highly engaged work. Therefore, scientifically, we cannot rely on our minds alone.

In other words – you can’t rely on your memory for everything; this includes scholarships.

  • Write Steps Down
  • Type Your Notes
  • Create Lists
  • Organize Your Materials

Take a few extra minutes to organize, plan, and record your thoughts, ideas, motivation, and inspiration.

Begin to develop these habits as an individual, and also encourage everyone on your Scholarship Team to do the same.

Do you have a winning scholarship playbook? If not, create it NOW!Click To Tweet

Step #6: Reconnect with Your Scholarship Purpose

There’s a reason you’re on this blog. You’re a student trying to earn scholarships to pay for college or a parent trying to save your retirement.

No matter who you are, you’re trying to cut college expenses and make college affordable.

But why?

What’s the point?

Why does it matter?

I know I’ve referenced having a “why” a lot on this blog and within our videos, but that answer will pull you out of some of the darkest places and during some of your darkest time.

It will give you the strength and motivation to keep going when you want to give in. It will make sure that you don’t allow student debt to win.

Have You Joined the Movement Fighting Against Student Loans and Debt?

These 6 simple things will help you get through stressful periods, but you’re also going to need more than that to stay committed.

If you haven’t already, make sure you join our FREE Facebook Group: Scholarship Talk and see how other students and parents are handling the scholarship process.

I’m in there every day supporting and encouraging families.

Join the movement so that I can encourage and support you too. 😉

Feature Image Artwork Credit: iStockPhoto/CatLane

About Your Author
Having earned well over $150,000 in scholarships to pay for her bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, Gabrielle McCormick teaches students, parents, and education professionals from across the country about winning scholarships to pay for college. Between finishing her dissertation and watching the NFL and NBA, she runs Scholarship Informer in her efforts to make college affordable for anyone that wishes to attend.
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