Ultimate College Survival Guide

The College Scoops Podcast

Episode 71: Tips for Applying for Scholarships From a First-Gen Student

May 4, 2021

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The College Herald, an incredible resource for high school and college students, was founded by Justin Yin as a way to help other students who may not have the support system in place when applying to or attending college. Justin is a first-gen student who documented all of his successes and challenges when applying to university as a way to help his younger brother so he might have the information and tools readily available when he applied to college. Whether you have questions on scholarships, mental health, student discounts, or careers, check out The College Herald for helpful tips and resources available to students.

Key Takeaways:

  • The College Herald is the “Ultimate College Survival Guide” with a host of information Justin has gathered and shared based on his research and experience applying to UCLA for his undergraduate studies and Columbia for his Masters.
  • Expand your horizons when researching colleges. Applying to college is a family affair – talk to your family. There may be financial considerations you need to consider when developing your college list.  Ask your college counselor for their input as they may share some ideas for schools you never even considered.
  • Top schools tend to offer more financial aid than public schools
  • The best time to apply for scholarships is in the fall
  • Conduct your research during the spring or early summer of junior year because once the school year starts, you will be busy with classes.
  •  Diversity the type of scholarships you apply for and remember the 30/70 rule. Apply for local and smaller scholarships – sometimes those are more attainable than the larger, more popular ones.
  • Beware of scams, trust your gut, and if something is too good to be true – it is.
  • Consider looking for scholarships to be a full-time job – it takes time, energy, and hard work.
  • Ask local businesses for college student discounts.

Important Resources and Links:

Meet Justin Yin

The College Herald

Justin Yin is the editor of The College Herald, a newly launched website tasked with the goal of helping first-generation high school and community college students navigate the admission process. He himself is a first-gen student who uses his platform to help equip applicants, especially those from marginalized groups, with valuable lessons and strategies he learned along the way. The topics that are covered encompass a wide range of issues that are relevant to the college experience and include admissions, financial aid and scholarships, mental health, study strategies, and career. Justin is a UCLA alumnus and is currently a graduate student at Columbia University. His research focuses on the predictive utility of nonsuicidal self-injury characteristics and hopes to become a clinical psychologist helping those at risk for suicide.

Thank you Justin for joining us today. As a first-gen student who advocated for himself and truly navigated the college admissions process with limited resources,  you have created a platform to help other students in a similar position. Allocate time to find scholarships offered by organizations and companies in your local community. Remember the 30/70 rule – look for national scholarships but focus on the smaller and local scholarships as those might be more attainable than the larger, more competitive scholarships. Ask for help and use all the resources available to you. 

Episode 71 Full Transcript

If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on The College Scoops Podcast, just send an email to podcast@collegescoops.com.

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College Scoops Staff, Author

College Scoops has a team of college interns who share their insights and expertise with our community. Our team consists of editors, writers, videographers, social media experts, and storytellers who work hard to produce relevant and interesting content for students (and parents) whether they are applying to, attending or graduating from college.

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