5 things high school seniors should do now to help win scholarships

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With so much uncertainty about how the school year will play out during the COVID-19 pandemic, some high school seniors are wondering what can be done about college scholarships.

"I'm feeling kind of hopeful, because I don't really want to worry too much about the pandemic," said Jeremy Chapa, a senior at Langham Creek High School in Cy-Fair Independent School District.

Chapa has elected to attend in-person classes for the school year and is hoping his upcoming track season will not be impacted too much by the pandemic. Chapa is hoping to land an athletic scholarship to continue competing in track for the University of Houston, but admits he is concerned about whether or not it will actually happen.

"My grades right now are pretty good," he said. "They're As and Bs, so I'm hoping to get some money from there and the rest of it from my track scholarship."

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But what should students be doing right now to ensure they can finance a college education?

Ethan Liebross is a junior at Penn State University and started "Professor Owl," a service dedicated to assisting high school students on their journey to college.

Current college students are offering guidance and advice during one-on-one virtual sessions.

"Our philosophy is really trying to help students find the right school for them," Liebross said.

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For students planning to apply for academic scholarships, Liebross offers these tips:

1. Stay on top of your deadlines and research universities of interest.

2. Create a spreadsheet of scholarships and deadlines to stay as organized as possible.

3. Look for local scholarship opportunities because they will likely have fewer applicants.

4. Scholarships that require essays or letters of recommendations are typically less competitive.

5. Apply as early as possible!

As for athletic scholarships, Liebross recommends reaching out to current coaches for help in identifying any potential opportunities and reaching out directly to coaches or staff at any prospective schools to see if they can offer any help or guidance.

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