How To Apply For A College Scholarship

There are four ways to pay for college if you’re not lucky enough to have your parents footing the bill. The first is to simply pay for college by yourself, often by attending school part-time and working full-time. Another option is to apply for student loans. The loans accumulate while you’re in the school and will need to be paid back once you graduate. Grants are awarded for school expenses, but have strings attached and might need to be paid back depending on your plans after graduation. Only scholarships are free money, or as free as money can be. Scholarships for college are gifts of money you essentially earn in advance.

Scholarships for College

There are many entities that offer funds for students who are planning to attend college. The scholarships range from small amounts in local clubs and community programs to large endowments and programs that pay for the full cost of school plus some. Scholarships come with a set of criteria, and the conditions of the scholarships can vary wildly from one program to another making it a challenge in and of itself to find the right scholarships to apply to.

Often when scholarships are mentioned, we think of the fat envelope in the mail offering us free money for college without doing more than applying for the school. This does happen on occasion for special circumstances, but if you’re waiting for the colleges to mail you checks when you apply, you’re missing out on your biggest chance of earning a scholarship. There are thousands of scholarships that come from entities separate from universities. To earn those, you’ll need to apply yourself.

Applications For Scholarships For College

You can start applying for scholarships for college early in your high school career. The scholarships are awarded based on merit or background, and the sooner you start, the more time you have to accumulate funds to ease the costs of school. Your first step in finding funds for college is determining which scholarships to apply for.

There are websites dedicated to helping you find scholarships and more than a few resources sent to your guidance counselor by the individual college programs in the country. Even these huge books and jam-packed websites don’t contain all of the resources available, however. You can find even more scholarships by visiting the websites of companies and businesses close to you. Your church or house of worship might have scholarships available for members and even the smallest businesses offer scholarships within your community – you won’t find those on a global website, so scour the local papers and ask around to find them.

When you find the scholarships, pay careful attention to the requirements for each. Some might be available only to individuals of a certain economic status or race. Others might be tied to your grades in a certain subject like maths or science. Still others might be tied to a portfolio or project. Eliminate those that don’t match your qualifications and then focus your best efforts on the programs that are a possibility. Spend as much time on an application for a small amount as a large amount – often the small amounts have far less competition making them easier to earn.