Monica Matthews is the author of How to Win College Scholarships. She helped her own son win over $100,000 in scholarships and now shares her expertise with other parents and their students. When it comes to helping parents and students navigate the scholarship process, she truly has “been there, done that”– her step-by-step scholarship guide has taught desperate parents to help their own students win thousands of scholarship dollars.
I was lucky enough to get an interview with Monica Matthews and get some insights and updates on her scholarship findings. Thank you Monica for being so willing and thorough in your answers! Read on for some valuable tips on the scholarship search process, and make sure to check out her website!
You’re famous for helping your oldest son win over $100,000 for college. How about the two other boys? Have you discovered any new methods or research skills that further helped your sons and/or other college students since launching how2winscholarships.com?
I’m tickled that you call me “famous,” but really I’m just a mom who figured out how to help her son win scholarship money and now share my strategies with others. My middle son is currently in college and yes, he did win scholarships! In fact, he won one for $1,000 just a few months ago, proving that students can and should apply for scholarships all through college. In the years since I first helped my first son win scholarships, the trend has really changed in regards to online and mailed in scholarship applications. I have focused my research in the last year on helping students apply smarter to scholarships that are submitted online, as the majority of them are now.
Out of the countless tips you offer to students and parents on your website and book, what is the #1 tip that you’d give to all who are looking to win some scholarship money?
My #1 scholarship tip is for parents and student to form a partnership and work together in the scholarship process. So many more scholarships can be applied for when parents and students all have active roles in applying for scholarships. I discuss in detail how this can be done most effectively in my college scholarship guide.
What is the one thing that:
a) judges look at when choosing a scholarship winner (that a lot of students seem to miss)?
Judges look for solid students who have helped others and write their scholarship essays from the heart.
b) all scholarship winners seem to possess (a common characteristic or quality)?
All scholarship winners have determination! They don’t quit applying if they don’t win the first few scholarships that they submitted.
c) you must do and must not do when applying for scholarships?
Students must submit mistake free scholarship applications, meticulously following all guidelines and submitting all required materials.
What tip would you give to a high school junior or senior who is trying to start his/her scholarship search for college? To a college junior or senior who has barely applied to any scholarships thus far?
For high school juniors and seniors, I would tell them to concentrate on their leadership skills and highlight these skills in all of their scholarship applications. Judges love and value students who are leaders. If a student doesn’t think they have any leadership experience, they need to step-up and create their own community service project or look closely at what they have done and see if it has leadership qualities (for example, if a student helped a group of younger students at vacation bible school, THAT is leadership).
College juniors and seniors need to tap into the resources found at their own college and inquire about scholarships for currently enrolled students. Many college students don’t realize the amount of scholarship money available to them and many of these opportunities have fewer applicants than national well-known scholarships. I share specific tips directly to college students in the student portion of my scholarship guide.
Have there been any significant changes in the scholarship search process/tools/methods in the recent years? How do you keep up to date?
Like I mentioned before, a huge change is the way most scholarship applications are submitted. Also, many scholarships can be found online at the click of a button, but that often leads to frustration as there are thousands of websites dedicated to scholarships. Students and parents need to learn what sites are legit and which ones are “click-bait” and are full of ads and outdated or incorrect scholarship information.
I stay current by writing several times a week about the scholarship process and sharing new scholarship opportunities in my blog. I’m constantly researching to find new scholarship information to pass on to my readers and site members. Also, my youngest son is a sophomore in high school, so we are actively applying for scholarships and working on community service and other “scholarship prep” activities.
Want to buy Monica’s Scholarship Guide Book for parents or students (or both)? You can find them here.