A scholarship is not a loan but rather free money that you do not have to pay back after graduation. As the costs for higher education continue to rise, applying for and obtaining scholarships can make a big difference to reduce the total cost of your education. Money from scholarships can pay for tuition, room and board, student fees, transportation books, etc. It is no secret that the premise of free money sounds great but that actually finding and uncovering these opportunities can be a daunting and confusing task.
Types of Scholarships Available
- Academic: these scholarships are based on academic performance, grade point average and associated academic merit such as standardized testing scores.
- Athletic: based on participation in one or more sport.
- First generation: specialized scholarships for the first in their family to attend college.
- Underrepresented: awarded to students based on their background.
Establish a Plan
The majority of scholarship application deadlines are March 1st. You must proactively track all of the important deadlines associated with your submissions. You should plan to apply for every scholarship that you qualify for, regardless of the award amount. Often times students will narrow their search too much and miss out on many small amounts which can add up to a lot. It is critical to not disregard any opportunity unnecessarily as insignificant.
How to Apply
The process for applying is contingent upon the rules of the entity offering the scholarship. Some typical steps which are involved are completing the FAFSA, writing essays and submitting letters of recommendation from adults who can attest to your values and character. Each scholarship will have its own criteria that must be strictly adhered to in order to qualify. An organized strategy is a successful strategy when it comes to winning a scholarship.
Scholarship Search Resources