Scholarships to college are found everywhere, all you have to do is look around and apply for them! Very few people can pay for college straight out of pocket, so these are a good source of help when making a plan to pay for college. Also, one thing to remember is EVERY AMOUNT OF MONEY COUNTS! It does not matter if a scholarship is merely $1000 or $40,000. It is all free money! Take whatever comes your way! If I could do this process again, I would focus more on applying for scholarship, especially the smaller ones. Each penny counts.
Each year millions of dollars of scholarship money goes unawarded because students do not take the time to find them and apply to these scholarships. Don’t let this be you! The first place you should look for scholarships is through the internet. The website scholarships.com is a great place to start looking for scholarships. There are scholarships awarded for MANY different areas, from merit in school to physical height. This website is like the ‘google.com’ of scholarships. When you first get on there, you can search for scholarships that fit you and your interests. Often times the application for the scholarships demand that you write an essay, but do not be discouraged by this. It is better to spend 30 minutes of your time now, applying for a scholarship than taking out loans when you get to college. Plus, many essays you write can be reused for other scholarships.
Another good way to get scholarships is looking at the scholarships offered by the colleges you want to attend. Usually, colleges offer two different kinds of scholarships: merit based and need based. Merit based scholarships are awarded due to achievements made academically or in extracurricular activities during high school. These can be just offered to you by the school based off of your application to the school or sometimes the university requires you to do further applications. Either way, these are a good source of money. The need based scholarships awarded to students is based off of the financial situation of the family of the student. In order to assess how much, if any, money will be awarded to you, the colleges expect you to fill out your FAFSA application. FAFSA is like a generic application for scholarships and financial aid provided by the federal government which is also looked at by each individual university. So by filling out FAFSA, you will become eligible for receiving scholarships or aid from the federal government or from each individual university. The best time to fill out the FAFSA application is early January of your senior year of high school. For more information and for the actual application visit the FAFSA website at fafsa.ed.gov.
Lastly, depending on the state you live in, the state government may have a program for college students that will help pay for their education. For example, in Georgia there is a scholarship called HOPE that will pay anywhere from 90% to 100% of the tuition of Georgia residents if they attend a public Georgia university or college. There are many similar scholarships from state to state. All it requires is a little bit of time and research. So don’t let any money pass you by! Seize every opportunity!
By Yoki Ermias