Let’s face it. Acquiring a college education is expensive and costs are increasing every year. Not to mention the cost of living continues to increase as well. Although many have good intentions, the average parents may not have the financial means to pay for their child’s college education. Even after a student receives grants or other financial aid, it can get pretty costly. This is why applying for scholarships is so important.
One of the keys to finding scholarships is starting your search early. While there are several scholarships awarded for academics and sports, there are just as many for students with a variety of grade point averages. Scholarships are available for academics, sports, interests, talents, and employment just to name a few. Here are some helpful tips for students and parents searching for scholarships.
1) Get informed early about the Free Application for Student Federal Aid (FASFA). College students MUST complete the FASFA to be considered for financial aid. Applications for the 2017 fall semester begin October 1, 2016. Go to https://fafsa.ed.gov.
2) Register with Fastweb (http://www.fastweb.com/content/how_fastweb_works) and Chegg (http://www.chegg.com/scholarships). Both require students to create a profile then match information to scholarships from their database.
3) Parents should inquire with employers. Many businesses and companies offer scholarships for the children of employees. Students should inquire with their employer as well.
4) Communicate with the specific department for which you will major. Some departments offer scholarships exclusively for students with a specific major such as fine arts, mortuary science, engineering, education, etc.
5) Apply for as many scholarships as possible. Whatever the amount, if you qualify…apply! Many students tend to frown upon scholarships awarding anything less than $1,000. Every “little bit” helps. One hundred dollars here, two hundred fifty there can add up. It can also help with the cost of books, purchase dorm items, or start a savings account. By all means, don’t sweat the small stuff.
6) Take a leap of faith. One of my former students attended Clark Atlanta University and was awarded several scholarships. However, she was still in need of approximately $2,500. She applied for a scholarship which required a grade point average of 3.75. Her grade point average was 3.7. Although she did not meet the academic criteria, she was pretty close and possessed other strengths. Not only was her GPA close to what was required, her resume included several community service hours, she was a student leader, very involved on campus and…NO ONE ELSE APPLIED for the scholarship. Needless to say, she received the scholarship which left her with a balance of zero for the school year.
7) APPLY EARLY!!!! Never postpone completing an application until the deadline. To be early, is to be on time. To be on time, is to be late. To be late, is to be out of contention. Be a contender. Don’t cheat yourself by limiting your chances.
College Scholarship Guide and Resources