How to Find and Apply for Scholarships

Ah, yes…college. They say it’s supposed to be one of the best times in your life. While they’re not wrong and I’ve had a lot of fun while in college, let’s not forget the main purpose of going to school…getting a higher education. Do you know what getting a higher education costs? Well, mostly my sanity, but also lots and lots of money. Like every dime you have to your name x100. According to Forbes, Americans owe a whopping $1.6 trillion dollars in student debt collectively. I don’t know about you but I would prefer to lower that number, even just a little bit. Obviously, saving money is your best bet to ensure you have the funds to avoid student debt, however, there are countless scholarships that are offered by the government, schools, organizations, and individuals. I have avoided student loans, so far, in my 3 years of college. I can thank several scholarships and my savings from my part-time job for that. I have a bit of experience when it comes to finding scholarships and I want to share my knowledge with you.

{If you don’t feel like reading all my explanations and whatnot, feel free to skip to the bottom where I have provided you with a convenient list 😁}

Start applying while you’re still in high school

I cannot stress to you how important it is to start looking for scholarships while in high school. The grades you make and the extracurriculars you do in high school can affect what scholarships you receive while in college. My tuition has been fully paid for so far because of a scholarship I’m eligible for based on my grades in high school and the grades I continue to earn. Different states have different academic scholarships available like this, so look into what your home state has to offer. Many students pay for college through athletic scholarships. If you are a superstar on the court, field, etc. seek out college recruiters to come watch you play. You might as well get money for playing the sport you love. Also, keep in mind that many scholarships are available only for high school juniors and seniors. There has been many a time I have found a great scholarship but I wasn’t eligible for it anymore. START LOOKING EARLY!

Search locally

Scholarships can be a little tricky to find so you want to search everywhere. A trick is to search small instead of broadly. Let me explain what I mean. There are various websites that offer quick and easy “essay free” scholarships. I’m not saying that it’s impossible for you to receive any of these scholarships but they typically don’t have many eligibility requirements and a large number of people apply for them. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply for them since it can’t hurt you to, just don’t put a lot of hope in receiving any of these scholarships. Instead, look on a more local scale. You want to narrow down the eligibility requirements as much as possible. The lower the number of people that are eligible to apply, the better your chances are of receiving the scholarship. I don’t come from the biggest town, but I know of several businesses in and around the area I’m from that offer scholarships. There won’t be as big of a number of people applying due to the geographic restrictions, so it gives you a better chance. Also, not many people realize these scholarships exist, so that’s even less competition. I will say that the majority (but not all) of the local scholarships I have found are targeted towards high school seniors. (So again…START LOOKING EARLY)

Search for any that your school may offer

Different colleges and universities are going to offer varying scholarships. I know my school has an application you fill out and they review your application for any of their scholarships you may be eligible for. Also, many schools will provide a list of university and external scholarships available, often organized by major. Take a look at your department’s and college’s pages to see if there are any available scholarships listed. Might as well let them do a little of the work, right? I mean…you are paying them.

Apply for major-specific scholarships

Speaking of majors, I have found that your best bet of finding scholarships while in college, especially in your junior and senior years, is to search for major-specific scholarships. This helps to narrow down the eligibility requirements, again, giving you better odds. What I have learned from these types of scholarships is they are usually targeted towards juniors and seniors. Most of the time, whoever is providing the scholarship wants to know you are committed to that field of study and prefers you to have a few of the higher-level courses completed. Don’t get discouraged if you’re a freshman or sophomore though. KEEP LOOKING!!

Look for available scholarships through organizations and memberships

Many student organizations offer a couple scholarships to their members. One organization I’m in directly offers scholarships to its members. The other organization I’m a member of often informs me of scholarships, available through related businesses and organizations, that I may be eligible for. Get involved while in college. You could save some money and make a friend or two.

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So to recap…

Places to look:
– Local businesses and organizations
– The government (May FAFSA have mercy on your soul)
– University websites
– Businesses in your field of study
– Organizations and memberships 

Reminders:
Start applying in high school!!!!!!!!
– Make awesome grades in high school to be eligible for academic scholarships
 (keep your grades up in college too, because wouldn’t it suck to lose free money)
– Seek out recruiters for athletic scholarships (why not get paid for being ‘baller’)
– Don’t rely on scholarship websites offering quick and easy applications 
– Search for scholarships specific to you (i.e. major, location, school, etc.) 

So there you have it. Just a little bit of the knowledge I have to offer to the world. It’s not the longest list but I hope it helped you just a little. Good luck in your search and remember I’m right there beside ya. All us broke college students have to stick together.

Later taters! 🥔✌🏻      – Kayla xx

 

 

 

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