College is getting more and more expensive each year. Not only do you need to begin saving very early for your child’s college tuition, but there are always all the side expenses that go along with tuition – books, housing, food, etc. However, one option that many people overlook are college scholarships.
If case you haven’t looked at that option yet, there are lots of people just looking to GIVE AWAY money for a student’s college education. Here are a few tips to help you get that college scholarship!
1. Know yourself!
The first step in applying for college scholarships is to know yourself. Make a list of your activities, extracurriculars, interests, hobbies, and organizations that you or your parents belong to. There are college scholarships for every kind of interest and activity; getting a broader sense of yourself can help you figure out what types of scholarships you can apply for.
Additionally, by knowing your activities and extracurriculars, you are prepared for future interviews or essays you may need to give before being awarded the scholarship.
2. Do your research
There are many places to look to find scholarships. Your first step is your college’s financial aid office. They have a list of scholarships you can apply for and can probably help guide you in what to write for your essay or other required materials.
Another helpful resource is your high school’s career/college placement center. At my high school (at least when I was there), there was a career center that would help with college admissions as well as financial aid. They had a whole list of scholarships for all types of activities. Additionally, they (should) know people to contact about the scholarships.
One good resource is your state/county government. They usually offer academic scholarships, but may have stipulations such as attending an in-state college or university. However, from my experience these types of scholarships tend to get renewed each year – as long as you maintain good grades. (But check all the details with your state/county government, because they differ by state.)
Additionally, most professional organizations offer scholarships for people interested in that profession. If you know what field you want to pursue, research that option. The organization’s main goal is to recruit future employees, so they are very willing to offer scholarships to students they see potential in.
Finally, check the web. While there is probably more competition when you apply for scholarships online (as opposed to local scholarships), you will have many more options to choose from. Some good websites to check are:
3. Apply, apply, apply
My motto is the more, the merrier… so apply to as many scholarships as possible. It may sound like a lot of work, but the applications are not too complicated and many sites use the same topics for their essays. Just remember, the more you apply to, the more likely you are to receive at least one.
4. Prepare for potential interviews
Like I said before, know yourself. Know your strong points and your goals. Interviewers always like to hear about your plans for the future. Your main objective should be to give them a reason to award you the scholarship.
5. Keep the grades up
After you’ve been awarded your many scholarships, be sure to keep your grades high during the school year. Many scholarships have options to renew after each year, but only if you maintain good grades.
Some experts are saying that raising a child costs over 1 million dollars these days – which is very believable if you start thinking about how much a college education costs. So take advantage of the free money available. You or your child may find it painful in the beginning of the process, but when those college bills come to the house, it’s well worth it.
I’m a Financial Consultant and Personal Financial Representative with experience in financial analysis, strategic planning, presenting, & financial advisory services.