money sign with hat

Today’s guest post is by Monica Matthews of How to Win College Scholarships. Monica’s advice for parents and students is always helpful and timely. Her proven track record of winning scholarships for her own family and her “how-to” approach that helps other parents do the same, makes her an expert in the scholarship search process.


For students, summer vacation usually means sun, beaches, and fun.  For parents of the college-bound, however, summer means one step closer to college tuition bills and students loans.  There are a number of things students can do to get a jump-start in the college scholarship process during the summer, while at the same time saving time for fun in the sun.

  1. Volunteer – Helping others is a great way to explore career options, meet mentors, and rack up invaluable community service hours that scholarship providers look for in their applicants.
  2. Write – Scholarship essays are how judges get to know students on a deeper level.  Students can find some early deadline scholarships and practice writing the required essays.
  3. Work – Having a part-time job is great experience and shows scholarship providers that the student is doing all he or she can to help save for college.
  4. Make Lists – Students will need lists of letter of recommendation writers, lists of their strengths and leadership skills, and lists of people who can help them in the college and scholarship application process.
  5. Start Searching – Checking out a few of the big scholarship listing books from the local library is a great way to see what is out there for college scholarships.
  6. Take a Class – Many community colleges offer summer classes that students can take for credit or just for fun.  Either way, taking a class in the summer shows dedication to education and may help narrow down career choices.
  7. Create a Scholarship Resume – The scholarship resume should include community service details, part-time job experience, ACT/SAT scores, high school GPA, club involvement, leadership positions, and honors/awards won.
  8. Remember and Record – Any meaningful experiences that a student has had just might be the makings of a great scholarship essay, especially those having to do with overcoming difficult circumstances.  Students should take a little time to jot down thoughts and feelings from these experiences and by the end of the summer will have a nice list to use when it comes time to write their essays.
  9. Organize – Parents and students can begin to find and organize award certificates, community service details (hours worked, contact information, leadership skills used), and any other pertinent piece of information that may be needed for college scholarship applications.
  10. Sign-up Online – There are tons of great online scholarship search websites that will deliver scholarship details right to a student’s email address.  I suggest creating an email account (firstname.lastname@gmail, or something similar) used exclusively for these websites and also for any correspondence that will take place during the college scholarship process.  Checking this email address will become vital and both parent and student should have access to the account.

These summer preparation tips are a great way to get students ready for the college scholarship process, no matter what level in school the student will be in the fall.  You can find more scholarship tips at

 College Highlight: (Monica Matthew’s Alma Mater’s)

California State University-Bakersfield

UCBakerfield-Stevey P. yelp

University of LaVerne

u of laverne

(both college photo’s courtesy of