Aug. 27 2012 07:08 AM

Check out Hoard's Dairyman's updated online scholarship listing.

As many college students return to class during the next few weeks, they will pay their fall semester tuition and fees. On top of that, more bills for books, housing and meal plans will need to be paid. As exciting as starting a fresh semester can be, the many expenses can be daunting. While you may have already paid your fall semester bill, now is the time to begin searching for scholarships that can make next semester's bill less intimidating.

Our August 25 Young Dairymen page provided five tips to help fund your college education. It also provided a list of scholarships available to students with an interest or background in agriculture. I encourage college students to use this advice and listing to actively take charge of financing your education. Here are three tips to keep in mind this fall as you begin your scholarship search.
  1. Get involved: Many scholarships are awarded based on involvement. As you begin the fall semester, consider joining a club or organization and taking a leadership role. However, keep in mind that your academics are also important, be sure to maintain a balance between extracurricular activities and schoolwork. Your grade point average is often another criteria looked at by scholarship judges.

  2. Gather materials early: Many scholarships require supplemental materials such as a resume, official transcript, letter of recommendation and a cover letter to go along with an application. Read each scholarship's requirements carefully and make a checklist of the materials you need. Provide references plenty of notice to write a letter of recommendation for you. It is also a nice gesture to give them a thank-you note for taking time to write a letter for you.

  3. Mark your calendar: As you fill your calendar with social events, extracurricular activities and schoolwork it is easy to let scholarship deadlines slip by. Our compiled list of scholarships can help you begin to mark your calendar with scholarship deadlines. Also check with your academic adviser to find out about scholarships available in your major. High school students can often get a list of scholarships from the school guidance counselor.