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It’s that time to ramp up your scholarship search! Most scholarship deadlines are in the fall semester of your senior year. That means they are coming up SOON! So what powerful places can you dig into to get some cold hard cash?? Here is a quick article on where you can focus your scholarship searches so that you can get your college PAID FOR.

1. Scholarship Books
There are enormous books already created that are basically directories for scholarships. One perfect example is The Ultimate Scholarship Book release by College Board. They take some time to comb through but this is a great resource for finding scholarships.

2. Office Filing Cabinets
Guidance counselors and financial aid advisors usually receive dozens and dozens of scholarships sent to them each school year. Where do they put them? In a filing cabinet drawer waiting for students to look through them. These days, many guidance offices have moved them online but I would certainly stop by the offices and ask to look through these scholarship drawers. The ones you really want to look for? Ones from local organizations! Aside from school offices, look into local, civic organizations such as rotary clubs, Kiwanis, Optimus Club, Knights of Columbus, Lions club and more.

3. Scholarship websites
This is the obvious one but the trick here is to be careful. There are many sites out there that are actually scams used to just collect information. One of my favorite legitimate sites was How can you tell whether or not it is a scam? I hate to say it but if the scholarship seems too good to be true, it probably is. If the “application” is only a quick survey, it is most likely NOT a valid scholarship. Also, for the most part, there is a slim chance of a scholarship being real if it does not require an essay.

4. Google
This is my personal favorite. It seems so simple and nearly every college student tries it at one point or another but unless it is done correctly, it can just overwhelm you. I will go into more detail in my book, The Scholarship System: 6 Simple Steps on How to Win College Scholarships and Secure Financial Aid but for a quick crash course on how to do it correctly, try Googling terms that relate to your interests and involvements along with the words scholarships, awards or foundation after them. For example, if you are big into scrapbooking, look up scrapbooking scholarships. If you are a lefty, Google lefty awards. This is a very quick explanation but you would be amazing at the scholarships you stumble upon. Best of all – you already fit the criteria!

5. Social Media
The fifth resource in finding scholarships includes social media sites. This wasn’t around a few years ago when I was searching but this is a great resource now! Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have thousands of pages, groups and forums all about scholarships. So get signed in and start searching! There is much more information to come but the biggest tip you can receive for your scholarship hunt is to start now. Whether you are a junior or senior in high school or even a college student in your second or third year, it is never too late and never too early. Start now and good luck!

Jocelyn Paonita is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina and author of The Scholarship System: 6 Simple Steps on How to Win Scholarships and Secure Financial Aid. Having left school with absolutely NO DEBT, she is on a mission to help families have a similar experience by using scholarships to reduce or completely eliminate their college bills. When she is not championing students and families through the scholarship process, she works full-time as a financial analyst. Twitter: @ScholarshipSyS Facebook:

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