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How do I choose which scholarships to apply to?

QUESTION: I bought a scholarship directory book and found over 30 scholarships that I am eligible for. The problem is I don’t think I have enough time to apply for all of them. How many scholarships should I apply for, and how do I choose which ones are the best for me?
–Scholarship Strategist

Dear Scholarship Strategist: We’ll let you in on the secret to winning scholarships: Apply to those that fit you best. To find the strongest matches, make a list of your accomplishments and see how well they correspond with the criteria of the awards and their sponsoring organizations. For example, if you are the editor of your school’s newspaper and plan to major in journalism, a scholarship for future journalists would be a great fit. Of the scholarships you found, rank them according to how your background fits their missions. Start applying to those that fit you best and that have the earliest deadlines. Apply for as many as time allows. We’ve found that students typically apply to between 5 and 15 awards. Good luck!

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Gen & Kelly Tanabe

Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.