Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Book On College Scholarships Tells Us How To Save Money!

   New Book Reveals How To Uncover Tons of Scholarships and Strategically Increase Winnability

                       Scholarship Strategies: Finding and Winning the Money You Need by [O’Toole, Jean]

Over the past 15 years, college scholarship strategist Jean O’Toole, has spoken before thousands of students, inspiring them to pursue their academic dreams. Now she has a new book out that helps them afford those dreams, Scholarship Strategies: Finding and Winning the Money You Need (Morgan James Publishing, Trade Paper, 128 pages, $17.95, ISBN: 987-1-64279-482-3).  For more information, you should check out:

Below is an interview with Jean:

  1. What myths do too many students and parents operate under when it comes to scholarships? The most common myth is that people think that scholarships are just for the top athletes, high academic achievers or students with the greatest financial need. There are scholarships for those students but there are also scholarships for students that have nothing to do with grades, sports or financial need. In fact there is a growing category of scholarships that are identified as need-blind. There are scholarships for students of all ages and all stages of life, not just for graduating high school seniors. There are scholarships for younger children, scholarships for students who are currently in college as well as scholarships for adults seeking to go back to school. Scholarships are also available for non-citizens. All students can and should pursue scholarships.

  1. How does one figure out which types of scholarships to seek out? Students miss out on scholarships because they focus only on opportunities that relate to their grade point average, extracurricular activities, community service and career goal. I suggest, as a first step in the scholarship search, for students to create what I call a Personal Search Engine List. This is a list that describes all activities, interests and accomplishments from their life along with what they want to accomplish in their future. It will also include their “ready-to-go materials”, which are papers, projects, essays or poems which were completed for class or club assignments to be used for potential scholarships. The Personal Search Engine List becomes a student’s map for monies. It guides a student on opportunities they can and should seek out.

  1. Where should they look to discover these scholarships? There are four places to find scholarships: a student’s school, their family members, scholarship book directories and online search engines. First, high school students should proactively be regularly asking ask their school counselors for any available opportunities.  I call this “Getting Out of the Waiting Game”. College students should be proactively asking their financial aid offices, department offices for their field of study and their alumni offices on campus. Secondly, all students should ask family members to find out if there are scholarships through their companies or professional unions. Third, students should utilize the index of scholarship book directories to identify scholarships quickly that correlate to their Personal Search Engine List.  Lastly, there are many online scholarship search engine websites. My favorite is

  1. Don’t school guidance counselors know about all of these scholarships? High school guidance counselors are incredible people and do all they can to serve their students. They have  priorities that take precedent over extensive scholarship research. Their focus is to be sure students are on track to graduate from high school, have applied to colleges and have completed their FAFSA form by their needed deadlines. Scholarships from companies, organizations, individuals and foundations are sent to schools and counselors will distribute that information to their students. Unfortunately with their other responsibilities, there simply is not additional time for counselors to do deep dive extensive research into additional scholarship opportunities. Middle school and elementary school counselors also have other responsibilities that take priority to research and distribution of scholarships that could be applicable to their students.

  1. What gives someone the edge to win a scholarship?  Although there is never a guarantee of winning a scholarship, students can give themselves an edge in winning scholarships. There are 3 types of scholarships which have a higher statistical chance of being won. First, any local scholarship that is given out only to students in specific towns or counties have a higher chance of being won because the applicant pool is lower. Similarly, scholarships which require extensive essays or projects will have fewer applicants. Most students skip those scholarships simply because of other time constraints from homework assignments, jobs or family responsibilities.  It dramatically gives any student who chooses to expedite those applications an edge and advantage. Lastly, family member scholarships have a high chance of winning as the applicant pool will be limited.

  1. You offer dozens of strategies for winning the money needed for college. Tell us three of them. One strategy is to search for scholarships that can make use of past papers, projects, essays and poems that a student has completed for past homework assignments. The time has already been spent. New material does not need to be created. Another strategy is to contact scholarship committees to connect with them and inquire what they are looking for in an ideal candidate. Students can then better craft their application materials. Finally the greatest strategy is to gather criteria information about scholarships that pertain to students a year or two older than themselves. Knowing criteria in advance, a student can make informed choices on how they use their time outside of the classroom to qualify for the most opportunities in the near future.

  1. Tell us some success stories of those you’ve helped win the scholarship sweepstakes! Thousands of students have been inspired to start scholarship money missions with my empowering approach to scholarships.  It is an honor to have played a role in their success. I am  proud to have helped Saif from Brooklyn, NY win scholarships totaling over $190,000.  He was a student who was academically good but not an “A” student. I am also proud to have motivated Amani from New York City, who won enough scholarship money to pay for her education at Columbia University.  Lastly, it was extremely exciting to receive an email from the Dean of Academics at a private Catholic high school in New Jersey notifying me that his 41 graduating seniors had collectively won 5.6 million dollars in scholarships thanks to my help.

  1. You listed 15 ways to reduce college costs in your book.  Please share a few with us. There are so many ways to cut college costs. The sooner students can complete their degree,  the better it will be for their bottom line. Students should aim to start day 1 of college with as many college credits completed as possible. There are a few ways to do this. Students who test high enough on AP exams can receive college credits for those scores. Students can also take college classes at reduced tuition rates either online or on campuses prior to graduating high school to obtain college credits. I have seen students who proactively attained college credits in advance of starting their undergraduate degrees start officially as second year students. Completing degrees in less than 4 years can save a family thousands of dollars.

Jean is represented by the public relations firm that I work for. She is a terrific resource for students and parents -- and I highly recommend you explore what she has to say.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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