The Best Kept Secrets for Winning Scholarships
Smith, B.
ISBN-10: 0972637001
American Spirit Publishing
February 2003

BOOK REVIEW (Davidson Institute) - Many useful tips are found in this review of Brenda Smith's book, The Best Kept Secrets for Winning Scholarships. This book is a must-read for those applying to any college or organization for financial aid.

Reviewed by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.

According to Brenda Smith, author of The Best Kept Secrets for Winning Scholarships, says “The cost of attending a public four-year university has shot up sixty three percent in the last decade.” This book is a quick but informative read. All families may benefit from reading this book before a student applies to college. Smith informs the reader of different resources required to apply for scholarships and explains how being awarded a scholarship is not all about grades. A summer job or internship, a B or above grade average, great SAT scores, extracurricular activities, a noble resume’, prominent essays and letters of recommendation are all part of the scholarship application process. The knowledge of where to find scholarships is essential in meeting your goals of obtaining monies to supplement the increasing costs of college education.

By using the methods described in her book, Brenda Smith paid for both of her children’s education and enabled then to graduate debt-free. She currently offers seminars at the University of Texas at Arlington campus on how to pay for a college education. This book includes valuable leads on where to find scholarships, including four pages of scholarships. There are many available scholarships in local communities and many corporations provide scholarships for education as well. The Internet search is only one part of the search process. With college tuition on the rise every year, a scholarship is becoming increasingly necessary for each college applicant.

One of the most valuable parts of this book is the timeline Smith provides. Without this timeline, many important opportunities may be missed. One of the biggest reasons for not receiving a scholarship is missing the deadline. For example, when applying for scholarships, Smith suggests applying for at least ten scholarships each year. Other suggestions include: How many colleges should I apply to? When should I visit colleges of choice? When should I consider borrowing for college?

Additionally, this book covers the essentials for applying to college: When you should apply, how to find a school, how to find a scholarship (that you can actually obtain), when to visit the university and most importantly, how to get the application read. Smith explains that most applications received by the admissions or scholarship judges are never read. There are many tips for getting your application read. For instance, even the form of postage could make a difference.

Scholarship processes are very competitive; therefore it is important to have all the essentials ready and to: Apply, apply, apply! In addition to covering scholarships, the author also provides a chapter differentiating the various school loan options such as: Perkins, Private, Plus, Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford. She discusses the FASFA (Free Application For Student Aid) application, loan consolidations and several loan scams. All of this information is very important before any documents are signed.

The Best Kept Secrets for Winning Scholarships is an informative and effective tool to help prepare families for the college application process. It is very revealing and demystifies the first and often daunting experience of applying for scholarships.

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