Updated: May 16, 2019
The price tag for college can seem intimidating. How are you expected to pay thousands of dollars a semester and then be able to pay rent, buy groceries, and go out with your friends? Most families today are living paycheck to paycheck, so they can’t afford to start a college fund for their children like they used to. Sometimes federal financial aid only goes so far and you’ll need to supplement. This is where scholarships can help. Finding the right scholarship can be just as difficult as choosing which college to attend. However, finding any way to avoid taking out a student loan is definitely worth the work. Here are a few tips to encourage you on finding and applying to college scholarships.
Research different types of scholarships. There are scholarships for art, science, sports, community service, technology, and almost every class subject. You’ll be more motivated to finish an application if it’s for a subject you actually enjoy. There are also scholarships based on your ethnic background or financial situation. They are created by foundations that want you to have a chance at a good education. Many scholarships will have a minimum GPA requirement, but they are usually between 2.5-3.0s. If you aren’t quite there yet, that can be a great starting point.
Set reasonable goals. Depending on the scholarship, you may need to do a project and write a detailed essay describing how many hours went into planning and executing it. With your regular studies and after school activities, it may seem hard to find the time. By making your scholarship a priority, it is achievable. Set up reminders on your phone or use sticky notes on your mirror to see daily what you need to get done. By achieving small goals over time you won’t need to cram and stress before the scholarship’s deadline.
Don’t get discouraged by numbers. Many scholarships will disclose how many recipients will be awarded for the year. Sometimes those numbers will make you think, “There’s no way they’ll choose me.” Remain positive and try your best. You could be just what they are looking for. Also, one scholarship may not cover all of your future expenses, and that's okay. Even if the scholarships is for a couple hundred dollars, that is a couple hundred dollars you don't need to worry about.
Shoot for the moon. They say when you shoot for the moon you catch a star. Even if you don’t win all of the scholarships you apply for, chances are you could receive some amount. Some scholarships will give less amounts to honorably mentioned candidates. If anything, the experience you gain from applying will give you the confidence to try again.
Don’t let the price tag of tuition scare you from reaching your goal. Your family and friends want to see you succeed, and we do too. By putting yourself out there and applying for scholarships, you can find the help you need to earn your degree.
You can find scholarships by talking with your school counselor, contacting a university, or visiting helpful sites such as scholarships.com. Don't give up on your chances to go to college because of money. You have access to more help than you realize and you deserve it.