How to get the most out of scholarships in National Scholarship Month

Published: Nov. 13, 2022 at 5:26 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2022 at 4:39 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - College debt is soaring for Americans, but scholarships can lighten the load. This month is national scholarship month and a great time to start planning.

Applying for scholarships, as college consultant Tameka Wlliamson said, is not for the faint of heart.

“You must put in what I like to call some elbow grease, or some sweat equity,” Williamson said. She said it can almost feel like a second job, but can leave you without the stress of student loans, loans that could hold you back later in life.

“I want you to visualize being at the starting line of a race,” Williamson said. “If you have debt, the gun goes off, and everybody else would know get with no debt, they’re starting but you can’t start yet. You are being held back because you have that debt. You have to start 60 seconds later.”

This month is a great time to share about the scholarship opportunities most families don’t know about.

“Scholarships are not just tied to how much money you make, or how much money you don’t make, or academics. You can find a scholarship for any- and everything: being flat footed, being left handed, having ADHD, you name it,” Williamson said.

It is all about taking the time to apply and thinking outside of the box.

“Many scholarships, unfortunately, aren’t being utilized,” said James Lewis, President of National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). “It’s almost like taking an extra class. A student has to be focused and take time. And it’s not like homework, because it’s an investment in your future.”

NSHSS has a database families can start working on their senior year, but you can start earlier than that.

“You can find scholarships as early as kindergarten,” Williamson explained. “Start laying out what that plan of action is so that way, come January 1, you can have a system in place, that way you can start executing and you remain consistent, because consistency is key.”

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