Going to college is not getting any cheaper and imminent financial aid budget cuts are not helping either. That is why Latinos must take advantage of scholarships to make their higher education endeavors a reality.
A recent study by NerdScholar found that the greatest number of scholarship deadlines and the largest pool of money to win from occur in March. Here are some tips to help Latinos dominate this March scholarship season.
Have your materials ready.
That means you should have your transcript, essays, and letters of reference ready to go. You might also want to get organized using a spreadsheet to keep track of your applications.
Get involved in extracurricular activities.
If you haven’t dedicated your time to an extracurricular activity throughout high school, your senior year is the time to redeem yourself. Set a goal to join a club or play a sport. Essays require introspection and real-life examples that reinforce your worldview and getting involved will yield such experiences.
Read Related: College Resources for Latino Families
Build a target list.
NerdScholar’s study found that applying to scholarships in your home state and within the study area of your interest has more weight than ethnicity or gender. So make sure that you are using your time wisely and effectively by applying to state and local scholarships first.
Seek out mentors.
Don’t be afraid to seek advice from your teachers, coaches, counselors and principals. Reaching out to leaders and letting them know your interests can open lines of communication that will help open doors as well. For example, your teacher might know of a particular scholarship and be willing to write you a stellar letter of recommendation.
Apply, apply, apply.
Don’t miss out on the free money out there and have to take out student loans. Sure, there is federal aid but with recent budget cuts there may not be as much as there usually is. The key is to maximize your scholarship money.
There are also plenty of scholarships for Latinos, but remember that you can apply based on many more areas like engineering, STEM, and business. The bottom line is that if you don’t apply, you’ll be leaving thousands of dollars on the table. Do yourself a favor and start looking now!
Laura Pereyra is a Communications Analyst for NerdScholar, brought to you by NerdWallet, which provides scholarships for Hispanics, student loan calculator, and college comparison tools.