The cost of going to college continues to increase year after year. Scholarships are a great way to help cover those costs. There are opportunities for scholarships if you know the right places to look. Using these resources will help you optimize the amount of money you can count on for your college career.
The Search for Scholarships
Going to college is an exciting time, but thinking about all the money it costs is quite the opposite of that. The average college graduate in 2016 left college owing more than $37,000 for their education. Thinking about owing that much money can be a bit scary. Scholarships could be a good way to assist with reducing some of that debt. Not to mention help to alleviate some stress, and make college a bit more affordable. Many people believe that in order to get a scholarship, you have to be a stellar athlete or have an outstanding grade point average (GPA). However, that is not always the case.
There are a wide range of scholarship opportunities out there. They may not all be or offer a great deal of money, but even the smallest ones reduce the total amount you are left to pay. You could apply for many different ones, and if granted, they could start to add up to a significant amount.
There might be a good number of scholarship opportunities in your community that a lot of people don’t even know about. Start by going to your school and ask about awards that are available for people graduating from your high school or people living in your particular town or county. Often times, local religious, civil, and community based organizations sponsor scholarships for students in the area. Most organizations want to help and many already have scholarship opportunities in place, you just have to ask. States also have scholarship programs for residents that are attending colleges in state. Make sure you know about those scholarships and what the qualifications are for each.
The college you are planning on attending will offer scholarships for its students. There are some that are offered college-wide and others that are for a specific major or area of study. Reach out to your financial aid advisors to learn more about the scholarships offered, which ones you could qualify for, and what you could do to be considered. Some schools automatically place your name in for scholarships when you complete your financial aid forms. Check with your financial aid advisor to see if this is the case for your school, and if not make sure you do what is needed to apply.
There are numerous free website services that allow you to put in information about yourself and find scholarships you qualify for. Remember, you should never pay for any scholarship information service. Websites like scholarships.com, fastweb.com, niche.com, and scholarshipmonkey.com are all sites that are free and have a vast data base of scholarships that update every day. These host millions of scholarships providing millions of dollars to students in need.
Using a combination of these resources will provide the most results in your search. There’s no harm in applying for a scholarship, so apply for as many as you can. The more you apply for, the more likely you are to qualify for them. The scholarship money is there and ready to be awarded, you just have to know where to go to apply for it.