Year after year, it seems that prices continue to go up on everything from milk to the cost of a college education. And that trend shows no potential of slowing down anytime soon. Many high school students have the desire to go to college, but the funds are not readily available. One way to get through the burden of tuition, fees and books is scholarships
A scholarship is a sum of money or other aid granted to a student, because of merit, need, etc., to pursue his or her studies. Scholarships range in amount and usually certain criteria must be met to receive them, but there are billions of dollars in scholarship money available every year. Unlike student loans, scholarships do not have to be paid back. Many scholarships go unrewarded because students simply don’t know they are available. As a student, scholarships are one of the best ways to pay for your undergraduate education, because they do not have to be paid back and many are renewable several times over.
There are many resources available to make your scholarship search easier. Start with deciding on a few schools you want to focus on attending, and then check with them to see what scholarships they have available. Typically, by the time you are looking for scholarships, many things such as test scores and grade point average are pretty well established. This will help reduce the clutter of scholarships you’re looking at. Because most scholarships have certain GPA and test scorer requirements, you can easily dismiss those that you are not qualified for or that don’t meet your needs. Check the web sites for the colleges you are looking for. Although most schools don’t list out scholarships on their site, they can get you the contact information for the college financial aid department. Another important resource available is to check out guaranteed scholarships. There are books available of every yearly scholarship offered from each college in the nation. These are helpful because they list the requirements out front.
Be sure to use all of your resources. School guidance counselors often have knowledge of the scholarships that are offered by some of the local and regional schools in that area. If you plan on attending a college farther away, information might be more challenging to find. Time definitely plays a big part in your search. The earlier you get started, the better off you are. Most scholarships have deadlines for application, so be sure to keep track of that when looking at multiple submissions. Once you’ve gotten your standardized test scores recorded, you can start applying for scholarships. Don’t be afraid to apply for multiple scholarships at the same school, since one scholarship typically won’t cover all your yearly expenses. Colleges also have scholarships available to students that are currently attending. If you score a decent GPA early on, you can likely increase your awards with general scholarships, or some available within your major field of study.