The Insider Scoop on Getting Scholarships
Looking for ways to fund your post secondary education? If you’re in need of financial aid to help you pursue your college education, there is a vast array of scholarship options available to you.
The trick is to know where to look and which scholarships to apply for that fit you as a student, and as an individual.
The following scholarship opportunities are available to many students around the globe. The application process may look different depending on where you live and which specific scholarship you’re choosing to apply for.
However, it’s a prudent first step towards paying for college and achieving the financial backing you need to fuel your future goals.
The first place you’ll want to start when looking for financial aid is to set up an annual application with FAFSA. The deadline for applying varies from state to state, but you won’t want to miss out on potential loan and scholarship opportunities.
FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a government based scholarship program that provides students with money-smart financial aid options.
They provide subsidized and unsubsidized loan opportunities to qualified students, as well as scholarship aid that students don’t have to pay back.
The financial aid you’re eligible to receive depends largely on your family’s income, marriage status, and other factors.
It’s important to reapply for the FAFSA financial aid every year to ensure that you continue to receive your benefits. A full list of FAFSA deadlines can be found on their website. Remember, your state may have its own deadline for filing the FAFSA so don’t wait.
It’s free to fill out, and may just land you some cold hard cash for your college career. You can start your FAFSA application here.
Merit Based Scholarships
Additionally, you may find many scholarships that are available to you as a student based on your educational performance throughout middle school and high school.
You may have found high school to be difficult, or you had a rough start in your educational career. That’s not a death sentence when it comes to finding scholarships.
Instead, look at the areas you succeeded. Maybe Calculus was a hard course and tanked your GPA, but you excelled in Physics. Highlight the areas of your report card that showcase your talents and skills as a student.
If you didn’t take your grades seriously at the beginning of high school, or rather you just had a hard time making good grades, show your growth from the beginning of your career through graduation.
Everyone loves a good comeback story. If you’ve worked hard to improve your GPA after a rough start, a personal statement is your place to shine.
Tell your story to the scholarship committee, and highlight what got you motivated to succeed in your high school career.
Merit-based scholarships can be found from your local high school, potential colleges, and many other sources.
Some scholarships offer special levels of financial aid to students depending on their SAT/ACT scores, overall GPA, extracurricular clubs and activities, and other factors.
Look for merit-based scholarships at your local high school. Then ask the admissions office at your potential colleges for their financial aid offerings. *Note: Ivy League colleges do not typically offer financial aid.
More information and short facts about merit-based financial aid can be found here. The thing to remember is that if you’re not sure whether or not to apply for a scholarship – apply!
Financial Need Based Scholarships
Some families need help paying for college. If your parents don’t have the resources to send you to school, you may be looking to fund your college education elsewhere.
Many colleges and universities offer scholarships based on the student’s financial need.
To determine your eligibility for need-based scholarships, ask your college admissions committee or high school counselor for more information on their financial aid options.
Additionally, the FAFSA is most likely a student’s best option when looking for need-based scholarships.
If you loved sports and want to play for your college of choice after high school, applying for an athletic scholarship may be your best option.
Typically scouts will observe players during high school, and may ask you to play for their college or university.
Your NCAA association also has an online application for you to request a scout and apply for a college athletic scholarship. More information is available on their website.
Internships & Fellowships
Internships and fellowships may be available for students who have graduated with a 2- or 4-year college degree.
If you and a certain professor really clicked, and you’d like to continue to research in their area of interest, you may be able to apply for an internship with your college.
A fellowship specifically is a full study into a certain field, where you’ll likely be working and studying simultaneously. Fellowships are typically fully financed by the sponsoring academic institution.
Typically, internships and fellowships are limited to a certain number of students. You may find that these spots may be reserved for certain academic fields or require a certain amount of credit hours in order to apply.
To find out more about the internships and fellowships available in your college or university, contact your college admissions office. They may also be able to get you in contact with the financial aid office for more information.
Additionally, you can reach out to the professors you’re interested in working and researching with to see if they have any open positions.
Demographic Based Scholarships
Additionally, some scholarships are available to students with certain demographic criteria.
For example, this could include:
- Animal lovers
- Faith-based students
- Race & ethnicity
- Students of single parent families
And many more! To find scholarships based on your demographic, do a web search and check out your local guidance office. They may have a vast array of scholarship opportunities available to you!
Scholarships by Essay
Additionally, many essay competitions include a financial aid prize for submitting their favorite essay.
Look for essay competitions and scholarships online, or follow your local guidance office for more information.
One of the most effective ways to obtain scholarships is said to be through local financial aid.
Oftentimes, local organizations and high schools limit their financial aid to the students in their community, meaning you’re applying to a much smaller pool of students than a national scholarship or even a scholarship through your college or university of choice.
Your high school guidance counselor may have more information on applying to local scholarships in your city, and can connect you with other resources that you may need.
Find Out More
For more ways you can prepare for college and the financial aid you need, check out our website. We have a ton of resources for students just like you.
We’re wishing you the best in your academic career and beyond!