College Scholarship Tips with Brandon Boies

Deciding where to go to college is already a stressful enough task for many high schools students. Should you go to school in state or out of state? Which school has the major you want to apply for? Do you know anyone else going to school in that area? These are questions that go through the heads of many soon-to-be college applicants. Among all of the things these students wonder, one tends to stick out the most: How am I going to pay for my college education? Senior Brandon Boies had this all figured out before it was an issue. With acceptances from schools like Duke, Harvard, and Stanford, knowing he won’t be paying for his college education out of pocket.

“If I could go back and do it all over again, I wish I had the same amount of knowledge I do now and use it to not only focus on me, but to help even more people,” Boies said.

When it comes to paying for college, scholarships are definitely the way to go. Scholarships are an easy way to get free money to support your education and you can apply to as many as you want. From writing a quick essay to simply having blue eyes, there’s multiple scholarships available for students. However, you need to apply ASAP!

“Before I even started applying for college and like officially sending things off to any schools, what I started looking at was college scholarships,” Boies said.

According to thinkadvisor.com, 83% of Americans say that they cannot afford to go to college. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to begin looking for scholarships before you apply to schools. The last thing anyone wants is to miss out on a good education because they missed an opportunity to get their school paid for.

“That was the very first thing I did because my idea was I would hate to get accepted to a good school … and then realize ‘wow, I have no money to pay for this’,” Boies said. “That’s really frustrating and I feel like that happens to a lot of kids every year. That’s the worst case scenario because you do all of that work and you get in and it’s… it’s not viable.”

The real question is; how do you find college scholarships that suit you? There are so many out there and according to nerdwallet.com, $2.9 billion in federal grants went unused in the 2014 academic school year.

“There are a lot of great feeders,” Boise said. “So, you can sign up for websites and they’ll link you to like a whole bunch of scholarship opportunities. I did a program called QuestBridge, which matches… kids that are low-income to these big-name campuses. You know, how does a place like Yale or Stanford find kids that are poor or homeless and maybe can’t even afford to send the application to them even though they’re bright. That’s what QuestBridge does. They find these kids that are not great financially… and they help them to send the application off. A lot of kids wind up getting in because they’re really bright. So, finding scholarships is easy through QuestBridge.”

There is a very wide variety of scholarships out there and some of them may seem scary to apply to. If you see that a lot of other people are applying to a big scholarship, like the Coca Cola scholarship, that does not mean that you shouldn’t apply. You never know- they could pick you!

“Don’t be afraid to apply to the big ones,” Boies said. ”You should be thinking, ’I want to apply to as many of those as possible’ and really go for it because somebody’s getting it, so it might as well be you.”

It’s really important to start looking for scholarships early, because many scholarship application deadlines before college applications are due. You want to make sure you have as much time as possible to complete to get everything done and submitted prior to choosing your school.

“I think it’s a really bad mistake to apply for scholarships after you’ve been accepted into your school,” Boies said. “You won’t have enough time, and all the really good ones that offer full rides or thousands of dollars a year… are going to be due really early.”

Senior year may seem like the prime time to find scholarships, but it’s never too early to start. It’s better to get it done early than miss your chance.

“I think a good time to look for scholarships is probably junior year,” Boies said. [However], a really good time is the beginning of you senior year because that’s when it’s really going to count the most.”

If there is something to take away from this, it’s to apply to scholarships as soon as you can and for as many as you can. College debt is no joke and you want to make sure you can pay for as much of it as you can. Otherwise, you’ll be paying off student loans for a very long time. So, take a page out of Brandon Boies’s book and start applying to scholarships!

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Written by Coral Estes
Yearbook Staff Member