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Paying for College

Land a College Scholarship

It's a targeted, simple approach, not luck, that can help you or your child earn a scholarship award. Here's the best way to manage the process:

Research the possibilities. Check the scholarship references at your library, as well as the bulletin board outside the counselor's office at your child's school. Sign on to scholarship search engines, such as Fastweb.com and Scholarships.com.

Avoid search companies that charge a fee. "If you have to pay money to get money, it's probably a scam," says Mark Kantrowitz, of Finaid.org.

Play to your child's strengths. Rather than a one-size-fits-all scholarship, aim for awards that match your child's grades, special talents or community service.

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Start close to home. You improve your odds with grants offered by area businesses or chapters of civic groups, such as the Rotary Club. If your child's school does the choosing, tell your child to speak up. "If you're the only one who asks, you'll be the choice," says Kantrowitz.

Be punctilious. Don't even think about turning in an application past the deadline or one that's filled with mistakes. Don't meet the qualifications? Skip it.

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