There aren’t many times in your life when there are literally billions of dollars waiting for you to freely claim.  Free, as in no cost.  Free money.  What I’m talking about are scholarships, fellowships, and grants.  Millions and billions of dollars in free money simply waiting to be given to students like you.  Best of all its now easier than ever to find and apply for this money.

In the past simply being proactive in looking for scholarships wasn’t always enough.  Your school or community might not have the resources available to do a complete and thorough search.  In the past students would pore over books that listed scholarships, but not every student had access to the most updated versions of those books and many opportunities could be missed.  Thankfully today’s students exist within the information age and there are great resources within everyone’s fingertips.

There are many websites right now that focus on helping students secure scholarships.  One of the better known is which claims to be the largest source of scholarships available.  The beauty of they have built a personalized search tool to aid your search.  Actually, the real beauty of the website is that it’s free.  There are plenty of websites with personalized search tools, but they aren’t all free.  And, let’s face it if you are looking for scholarships, fellowships, and grants you probably need every dollar you have.

By: Dan Russell

Searching out and applying for scholarships can be a crazy stressful time. For many of us the success or failure of our scholarship search will have a profound affect on the next few years of our lives. With such weighty concerns it’s easy to overlook the basics. There are certain things that in hindsight everyone says, “of course you DON’T do that.” But, in the haste and stress of filling out applications they always do. Here is a quick list that I’m search everyone is aware of…an Idiot’s guide to the basics of scholarship search that.

  1. Start early. Since you can’t start yesterday, start now! The earlier you begin your search the more opportunities you will find for financial aid. But wait, there’s more. You’ll also have more time to craft those applications in order to make sure they are perfect, further increasing your chances to win thousands of dollars!
  2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Use all your resources. Talk to your school guidance counselor as well as teachers you have relationships with. Find out if your job offers any scholarships, same thing for your parent’s job. If you belonged to any organizations growing up look into those opportunities. There are many scholarship opportunities available to members of organizations such as the Boys and Girls Scouts. Of course use the internet. Scour it. Use services like to help you quickly find opportunities you might e eligible for.
  3. Don’t ignore small awards that fit your profile. They add up and many times you can simply use the same essays for multiple scholarships cutting down on time it takes to apply. Money is money and even if it takes you five hours to fill out an application for a $1,000 scholarship, it’ll be a long time before you are in a position to make $200 an hour again.
  4. Don’t spend money to win money. It’s a scam and a suckers bet. Don’t ever give someone your credit card or banking information when applying for a scholarship. When in doubt, contact the

By: Dan Russell

In part one I described the more generic varieties of textbooks- new and used. Now as we have learned there are many different shapes, styles, and more importantly conditions of used books. And, quite frankly, all of the additional book varieties also come in new and used also but they will also turn up in more specific searches. The textbook savvy student should be aware of all their choices including the more difficult to find varieties including International Editions, Annotated Teacher’s Editions, and eBooks.

International Editions can be HUGE bargains, sometimes selling for 90% less than the same US Edition. Many of these books have big stickers on the covers prohibiting their resale within the USA. But, only publishers and brick & mortar bookstores are really affected as they won’t knowingly buy or sell these editions. For the common student the International Edition of a textbook can be similar to finding a $100 bill on the sidewalk. International Editions can be significantly less expensive for a variety of reasons and none of them affect the information in the text. It seems the International textbook audience is less demanding and publishers will use black and white rather than color pictures and photographs; the paper used might also be thinner or inferior to the paper used in US versions. Lastly, there is no market for a $150 textbook in Bombay so the book is priced for that market. Occasionally the book trickles into our market at a huge discount for a lucky student.

Annotated Teacher’s Editions can be the envy of a dormitory. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more helpful textbook. You might find a textbook chock full of notes in the margins and highlighted in pink AND yellow, but when push comes to shove, those notes in the margins might be dirty limericks and the highlighting might have just been an excuse to color on a rainy day. An Annotated Teacher’s Edition however is pure gold. Teacher’s Editions differ from student’s in they often contain study guides, solutions to textbook problems, and answers to exams. As opposed to the well-highlighted student text, you know the info in a Teacher’s Edition is the real McCoy. These books are given to teachers directly from the publishers. They then make their way to the open market. Their resale is restricted and certain websites including eBay will not list them. Other websites such as will list them where it is noted within the seller comments.

The final variety of harder to find textbook is the eBook. These are usually tougher to spot simply because they are never seen being lugged to class. This also happens to be one of the eBook’s primary advantages. eBooks when found can also be significantly less expensive because you won’t need to pay a shipping charge.

It’s important to know all the options out there when looking at textbooks. Textbooks are a significant investment and its wise to understand all the varieties that exist in order to make the wisest purchase.

By: Dan Russell