Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

Many students, upon beginning their first year of college, have received at least some help with attending school from scholarships. But did you know that some scholarships don’t cover an entire year but instead one semester? Now, if you are like me, then you missed out on this nugget of information and were left wondering how to pay for college with two weeks until spring semester begins.  I have a few tips for you on how to prevent having to worry about this major problem.

1. Apply for a seasonal job. If you don’t already have a job, apply for one and get hired.  Even if it’s minimum wage, it’s still something.  If, for example, your scholarship ends and you have yet to start researching, sometimes your parents will help fund the semester.  The money you start saving through a seasonal job will help you by providing you with some of your very own spending money and providing an emergency fund to contribute to a semester’s tuition if the need arises.

2. Apply for more scholarships. This should be a no-brainer, but still a helpful tip.  Just because your scholarship expires at the end of the semester doesn’t mean you can never have a scholarship again.  Essentially, scholarships are always being given out and if you look hard enough, you will be able to find some that suit your needs.  START APPLYING IMMEDIATELY.  Deadlines are always closer than they appear.

3. Talk to your parents. I know, I know, you’re in college and you’re an adult and you want to handle things on your own.  Trust me on this; your parents are going to be the most helpful resource in terms of advice and assistance.  They can often times tell you about scholarships you might not have heard about, they can work with you to cover the cost of tuition, or they may advise that for the time being its best to take a semester off.  Either way, just by talking to them you can ease the stress and begin to strategize about how to pay for school again.

4. Keep your grades up. If you are forced to do any or all of the three tips above, keep your grades up.  Why?  In terms of jobs, even if they are seasonal, managers will sometimes ask for your GPA because (they think) it generally implies that you are very hardworking.

When applying for scholarships, a major factor of being considered at the top of the list is your GPA.  I know extracurricular play a role in the selection process, but many scholarships establish that candidates won’t even be considered without at least a 3.0 GPA.  Lastly, parents are more likely to help you GET BACK to college if they see that you are actually working hard or have a legitimate reason for why your grades took a hit.  However, if you spent your time at college skipping class, partying every night, and/or missing assignments ON PURPOSE, then your grades are really a reflection of the amount of work you put in.  Parents are always more willing to help when they see that you actually want their help.

Hopefully, I’ve been able to give you all some good advice.  With finals approaching, it would definitely behoove you to start looking at more scholarships especially if some of them expire after one semester.

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the author

Carlton Smith is a junior at the College of William and Mary currently majoring in Government. He loves to sing and dance and is involved with one of his school's A Cappella groups known as DoubleTake. He has served as the Class of 2015's Vice President for the past three years.

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