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Apply yourself: Now's the time to go for scholarships

Don't count yourself out just because you are not the valedictorian, class president or star athlete. There are scholarships available for many interests, backgrounds and abilities. The bottom line is apply now, and the more scholarships for which you apply, especially local and regional opportunities, the better your odds are to be selected.

Though the scholarship application process can be time consuming, most scholarships require similar information. Once you complete your first application, you can easily re-use the same information for additional scholarships.

Scholarships come from many sources, but the student may have to do some detective work to uncover them. For example, at usbank.com/studentloans, you can apply to be one of 40 high school seniors or college undergraduates to receive a $1,000 U.S. Bank Internet Scholarship. Over the past 13 years, U.S. Bank has awarded more than $350,000 in scholarship funding for this program. Scholarship award recipients are selected through a random drawing process. There are no essays to complete or minimum grade point average requirements. The U.S. Bank website also features a powerful scholarship search engine.

Scholarship search tips

Start early: Experts recommend college-bound students and their parents start looking as early as their freshman year in high school. By identifying potential awards, students can choose classes and activities that will increase their chance at winning a specific award in the future.

Use the Internet: But be wary of scams posing as scholarships. If a scholarship is reputable, you should be able to find information about it through multiple sources. Try to use two sources and make sure the profile submitted is accurate; paying fees does not increase your chance of winning.

Think small: Competition can be tough for large awards. Smaller awards ($1,000 and less) typically have less competition and are easier to obtain.

-ARA

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