Scholarships are one of the best ways to have extra cash for college. But they’re often one of the last things that rising high school seniors think about or work on during their college application process. While some scholarships are included in your financial aid packages, there’s many more out there that you need to find and apply for on your own time. The best time to find scholarships for college is now – in the summer– when you have way less to balance and manage.
Why Should I Look for Scholarships?
A scholarship is an amount of money that is granted to you to help pay for your college education. In most cases it does not have to be repaid, unless you fail to live up to the scholarship criteria. For most students, it is considered “free” money which can be used to help cover both the educational and incidental costs of college. Some scholarships are small, and some are more substantial, but either way: free money helps cut down your costs.
How Do I Apply for Scholarships?
Some scholarships have a rigorous application process, and require applicants to meet a number of criteria, while others are simply awarded on a lottery basis. Rest assured, though, that there is a scholarship out there for just about every type of interest, background, or ability – you just have to do your homework and find it. Look for scholarships you think you might be able to win, list out their deadlines and application requirements, and add them onto your master schedule.
What Else Should I Know About Scholarships?
There are some pretty impressive scholarships out there, and somebody is going to win them, so why not you? If you have big plans to change the world, you might qualify for The Paradigm Challenge. The VFW Youth Scholarship for the Voice of Democracy awards its first-place winner a $30,000 scholarship. The Coca-Cola Scholars Scholarship gives out 150 awards of $20,000 every year. The list of possible scholarships is quite extensive; you just have to look.
Not all scholarships are huge, but smaller ones can still be a big help. Plenty of smaller scholarships are around and are a great way to cover book costs. Ask your parents’ employers, talk to your relatives and friends, check out local businesses and civic groups, or look into your religious denomination to find available scholarships.
Think Outside the Box!
Sometimes it takes a little creativity to find scholarships. There are scholarships by gender, ethnic origin, diseases, hobbies, and aspirations. Everything from surviving a Zombie apocalypse to making a dress out of duct tape could win you a scholarship.
There is plenty of scholarship information online. We always recommend starting with the U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship search tool. And don’t stop your search for scholarships, even when you are in college. Some scholarships are only available to current college students! Remember, the best time to work on these various applications is now – when you have more free time. So, start searching and spend some time applying to possible scholarships before you head back to school this year!
Who We Are
CFAA helps with the financial aid process, from completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to reviewing the SAR, responding to requests for verification, comparing financial aid offers and understanding student loan options. Schedule a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college.