Figuring out how you are going to pay for college can be a stressful situation. It may seem that there aren’t many options out there besides loans or financial aid, but there actually are other ways that can help with your student bill greatly. Don’t worry–there are some easy ways to find these!
First off, the myth that scholarships are only awarded to athletes or the class valedictorian is far from the truth. There are countless types that are offered for things other than just good grades. Some are offered for unique skills such as writing or a special talent. Scholarships are a perfect solution to help reduce the cost of your education especially because they do not have to be paid back. They may seem difficult to find, but there are plenty of ways to receive them.
Where to find scholarships
Personally at my high school there is an education foundation that gathers every possible scholarship in our town for that year’s senior class. We are given a few months to apply to the ones that we qualify for. Not every school does this, but I am from a small town that had a graduating class of only around 50 people. If this isn’t the case for you, you can always talk to your school counselor. They can help you find these scholarships located in your hometown or from different organizations.
Scholarships may be sponsored by your church, local organizations, businesses, or your employer. Every case is different, but there are many places to look. You can do research to find these scholarships at your local library in the reference section to make sure you’re finding legitimate scholarship options. Your best option is seeking help from your school to find possible choices for you.
If you already know what college you are attending, you can check out their website and financial aid materials to see what scholarships are offered. Some colleges automatically enter you for scholarships after you fill out your financial aid forms. Also, scholarships aren’t only for incoming freshmen. Check with your school’s financial aid office for possible options because anything helps!
Different types of scholarships
There are also state-wide scholarships offered. These are typically a little tougher to get since it is offered to so many people, but it is never bad to try! Some different companies offer scholarships for things like leadership and merit. These can be easy to find if you search online for company scholarships. These are easy to check if they are legitimate because they are also listed on the company’s website. The requirements are also easy to locate so you’ll know right away if you qualify! I personally think it would be pretty amazing to say you received a scholarship that was country-wide.
Scholarships are also offered throughout the school year. There are grants–these are the same as scholarships but are typically all given due to financial need–that are available to apply for not just at the beginning of the year. In my hometown, they update the local newspaper with different grants available. Even if your hometown doesn’t have a newspaper like that, there are many ways to learn about these options. When you originally do your research to find scholarship options you can find ways to be updated throughout the year. My town’s education foundation has a website where you can view different ways to be awarded these grants!
There are also different ways to receive financial help for college besides grants and scholarships. Use your talents! Just because you’re majoring in something unrelated to a talent doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from your talent. There are competitions for things such as writing, music and business. You can benefit from doing what you enjoy! Besides these competitions, there are also scholarships offered for talents. Don’t limit yourself to just your accomplishments in your major!
A few tips for scholarships
Once you found some scholarships, a few things to watch out for are certain deadlines, requirements, and the application process. Each scholarship has a different deadline so you must pay attention so you don’t miss an amazing opportunity! Double check your application to make sure you don’t miss anything that would effect your chances. Also, send in your information at least a week before the due date. Take it from me, it pays off in the long run. If there is something wrong with the application or anything else you have to supply you will have time to fix it. I’ve made the mistake of sending some in at the last minute and didn’t include enough stamps to get it to where it needed to go. Better be safe than sorry!
Also, some scholarships require letters of recommendations. You definitely should give the person writing it enough time to properly get it done. They’re doing a lot for you and you wouldn’t want to stress them out with having a short deadline. Plan everything that you need out and when they are all due. This will help you a lot, especially if you are applying for more than a few scholarships. Even if you hate doing it, you should schedule out what you need to do and when it needs to be done.
Planning for college and being in college can be stressful for everyone. Scholarships and grants are fantastic ways to help eliminate even a part of that stress and who wouldn’t enjoy that?