High School Seniors Checklist for this Summer

summer student

To ensure you’re on the right track, here’s a list of what you should be focused on during the summer.


Begin working on your scholarship search now, so this task won’t be on your to-do list once senior year begins. It’s important to remain persistent in your scholarship search. The more you apply, the more the chances to win so continue applying for as many scholarships as you qualify for. Start by applying for five scholarships a month. IOScholarships of the Week is a great place to start! Find new scholarship opportunities on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media accounts. Our platform also offers a blog with financial education information and a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to identify the degrees and professions that best fit your skills.

Below is some advice to help you win scholarships. However, winning them takes time, dedication and hard work.

Customize each essay
Scholarship judges can tell if you’ve adapted a previously written essay to meet their criteria.  I customized each application and use the beginning of my essay to showcase my unique skills. Remember, the time you are spending to tailor your essay can be rewarded with a college debt free future. Also, details are very important. Your essay might be very appealing, but grammar mistakes and spelling errors can stand between you and a $100,000 award as careless mistakes can been seen as lack of dedication.

A scholarship essay is the most essential part of your application. This essay can either help you win or lose the opportunity to get a scholarship.

When writing essays for school, the most basic structure is: intro, body, conclusion. The same applies to a personal scholarship essay. A general outline for a scholarship essay should look like this:

  • Introduction: Open the essay grabbing the reader’s attention and why you deserve a scholarship.
  • 1-3 Body paragraphs: Tell your story such as what has been a significant challenge in your life and how did you overcome this. . Be sure to highlight things scholarship committees are looking for, like leadership skills, mentorship and community activities.
  • Conclusion: Wrap up your essay by restating your interest in the scholarship and showing how the story you’ve shared demonstrates your readiness for college.


  • A hook that grabs the reader’s attention
  • Thesis statement (why do you deserve a scholarship?)


  • What has been a significant challenge in your life?
  • How did you overcome this?
  • What is/are your educational and career goal(s)?
  • What is/are your current educational goal(s)?
  • Why did you choose this particular college or university?
  • Why did you choose this field of study?
  • How will a scholarship help you achieve your educational goal(s)?
  • What is/are your long-term career goal(s)?
  • What will you do with your degree?
  • How will the scholarship help you in achieving your long-term career goal(s)?
  • Real-life examples that support main arguments


  • Brief summary of your key points
  • Restate the thesis (how the scholarship will help you reach your goals.

 Find the right scholarships for you! These might be those based on your major and ethnicity. If you don’t have a STEM major set yet, you might concentrate on your extracurricular activities or community service. Getting organized helps you stay on track and gives you time to complete all the applications available.

Start by applying for your favorite scholarships and organize them with IOScholarships organizer. Getting organized helps you stay on track and gives you time to complete all the applications available.


High school graduation will happen sooner than you think; keep working on your college search by researching colleges to add to your potential college and scholarship application list. Find fun ways to stay organized in your scholarship and college search. IOScholarships free organizer keeps your information in one place.  There are a lot of scholarships that you might be eligible for. However, it’s very easy to lose track of which scholarships you have already applied to and which ones you still need to complete.


Sign-up for your preferred colleges mailing lists and request admission information as it looks great for potential admissions. Decide whom you will ask for letters of recommendations and give them a copy of your resume, so they are aware of your skills and extracurricular activities. Also let them know important details such as the college you would like to attend.  Don’t forget to send out a thank you note to those counselors, coaches, mentors, and teachers who write you letters of recommendations. Sending out hand-written ones is a one-of-a kind great gesture!


The more applications you submit, the greater your chances are of winning scholarships.  I treated the application process as a part-time job dedicating 15-25 hours per week. I figured if I spent two hours applying for a scholarship and won $1000, that was like making $500 per hour; an AMAZING part-time job!

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Summer College Checklist for High School Seniors