Book Review: Scholarships 101 3

Scholarships 101Once a week I try to review some book related to college in order to lend some guidance to a field that has become completely overrun. So many people are writing test guides and college help books that it is easy to buy a product which is not useful and which will be occupying space on your bookshelf for years, mocking your bad judgment.

Many students understand the importance of scholarships, but they do not know where to start. What they need is a book or a person that can explain what to do… without using confusing technical terms. Kimberly Stezala has written a book, Scholarships 101, which supplies that need.

This 242-page book is filled with excellent information for students. Using an enjoyable and easy-to-read writing style Kimberly Stezala explains everything you need to know about scholarships. From your first tentative plan to your last sponsor thank you note, this book explains it all.

Personable Writing Style

Kimberly Stezala has a amiable and entertaining writing style that makes it easy for her readers to absorb information quickly and painlessly. Rather than using a formal, removed style, she uses an informal, friendly style that engages her readers. In fact, her writing style almost makes me feel like I am a nephew to whom she has written long letter explaining how to win scholarships. This pleasant writing style makes the otherwise somewhat dry subject of scholarships both enjoyable and exciting. In addition to her likable writing style, I also appreciated the sparing use of financial jargon. All too many financial aid books confuse their readers with difficult-to-understand financial terms. Scholarships 101, on the other hand, uses a much simpler vocabulary that is easily understandable… even to people who do not have financial degrees. In addition, Appendix C of this book provides a short glossary that defines the few unusual words used in this book. Overall, the author’s writing style is captivating, pleasant, and certainly not dry or overly-technical.

Practical Information

Do not think that the lack of financial jargon makes this book less usable. On the contrary, Scholarships 101 is bursting with practical information that you can use immediately. Rather than theorizing on scholarship application methods, this book provides a concrete road map that will help you every step of the way.
For instance, this book explains that the first task scholarship searchers must complete is that of choosing your “dream” or long-term goals. Many scholarship help books, on the other hand, start out by explaining how to design your scholarship applications – skipping the important step of planning! If you do not know your goal, how will you possibly be able to choose the right scholarships, write the best essays, and impress the scholarship committees?

This book presents a four-step “Recipe for Success”: Dream (long-term planning), Plan (short-term planning), Act (working toward your goal), and Excel (be the best applicant). Throughout the book, each step of this four-part plan is explained in detail – making scholarship success much more doable.

Helpful Case Studies

The case studies presented in this book make learning much more enjoyable, and they encourage students that earning scholarships really is possible. For instance, near the beginning of the book is a short section about Karlton, a high school student planning for an architecture major. He applied to 15 scholarships and won seven! Clearly, that type of success does not come easily. When asked for his best scholarship advice Karlton said, “Have a network of people and start early.” Using real-world examples such as this, Scholarships 101 explains important information using true stories.

Useful Extra Features

Breaking up the monotony of solid text, this book includes many extra features that isolate important points. In addition to the case studies of real students, this book includes “101” sections, “Fridge Notes”, and “Quick Terms”. In the “101” boxes Kimberly Stezala condenses the most important facts. For instance, one “101” box reads:

Junior year is not too early to start looking for scholarships. Use time as your secret weapon in scoping out the scholarship possibilities long before your competition does!

The “Fridge Notes” sections are included at the end of each chapter. They present a short check list of goals or activities to complete. In the rare “Quick Terms” boxes, the author explains the meanings of words that might be new. In addition to these different types of boxes, Scholarships 101 includes a number of other generic boxes that serve to highlight a multitude of other important points.

Who Is This Book For?

Scholarships 101 is an important book for any student who wishes to get scholarships for college. Whether you are already in college or still in high school, this book provides an excellent beginning course in scholarships. In addition, this book is useful for parents of college students because it enables you to help your child succeed better.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Scholarships 101

  1. Reply VTAMethodman Jun 15,2009 9:21 PM

    Great running set of posts, I’ve been trying to read one university book a month for my blog and its been difficult sifting through all the crap. Please keep me updated on new favorites.

  2. Reply daniel Jun 16,2009 12:24 AM

    is it useful for people trying to find funding for graduate school?

  3. Reply Nate Desmond Jun 16,2009 5:44 AM

    @ VTA Methodman
    Thanks for the encouragement. I agree that it can be difficult finding truly helpful books. I normally do a preliminary check based on Amazon reviews – this helps me weed out most of the worthless ones. Then after I have received the book, I evaluate it more fully.

    @ daniel
    Thanks for the question! Scholarships 101 mostly focuses on late high school/early college students. However, most of the information on scholarships is applicable to graduate students as well.

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