Tuesday, February 20, 2018

finding scholarships for college




Hello high school seniors! Now is the time that the college decision process is winding down, and for a majority of you, you are probably on the hunt for scholarships. Hopefully you have a bit of knowledge on this topic that you gained during the application process, as many scholarship deadlines have already passed. However, scholarships not connected to colleges are still up for grabs, so I wanted to give you all some insight on the process of researching and applying for these scholarships as well as learning how to apply them to your college decision and eventually your college. Let's get started!

1- look at your high school's scholarships
Many high schools have scholarships specific to the high school. Some of these are selected by teachers and staff, and others you have to apply. No matter the circumstance, be aware of these scholarships and let your guidance counselor know your interest in them. They might better your chances of receiving the scholarships or even introduce you to other scholarships besides the ones your school offers. 

2- research online databases
Probably one of the easiest ways to find scholarships is to search online databases like Chegg, Fastweb, etc. These have thousands of scholarships with varying requirements, money amounts, and more. There are so many options on here, so definitely have your resume ready and a few "sample" essays to use for multiple scholarships. These databases might also have scholarship matches, so input your information to help streamline your matched scholarships. 

3- look for any remaining scholarships at your college(s)
You might have already applied for big-buck scholarships, merit scholarships, and financial aid, but check with your college to see if there are any scholarships that are related to a specific major, program, personal background, etc. You might even find a new interest while applying for these scholarships- need another scholarship? Maybe consider a minor in theatre or a random department, you can receive scholarship money as long as you stay in these classes. Sounds like a bit of a stretch, but if you are interested in more money, you can be creative. A more realistic approach would be to apply for smaller school scholarships like I mentioned earlier in this section, but definitely search around your school's website for anything that is available. 

4- contact your college to see what scholarships can apply
Sometimes colleges won't accept certain outside scholarships, so check with your college(s) before applying for scholarships. The application process for scholarships can be lengthy, so save time by minimizing the amount you have to apply for. 

5- don't disregard small scholarships
While a $200 scholarship seems not worthwhile to apply for, small dollar amounts can add up in the long run (and think of what $200 can get you in textbooks!!!). These mini scholarships often go unnoticed by students, so you have a better chance of receiving the scholarship because of a smaller applicant pool. These small scholarships range all over the place- ones for majors, ethnicities, sports, etc. Some are even super random- like being left-handed or a red-head! These are available everywhere if you look hard enough and take the effort to apply. 

6- check locally
Many local businesses and companies will have scholarships for students in the area. Check with your guidance counselor to see what scholarships are available, and also ask businesses that you frequent (or work at!) if they have scholarships for graduating seniors. It never hurts to ask, and even if these businesses don't have scholarships, they might be able to direct you to another business that does offer them. 

7- continually apply for scholarships
Don't stop your scholarship search once you submit your college deposit! Scholarships are available year round, even when you're in college. Sometimes scholarships will be available in the summer as well, so spend some time the summer before freshman year starts to apply for a variety of scholarships that you are eligible for. Never stop applying! 

I hope these seven tips help you with your search process. They aren't much, but I know that any advice is helpful when the scholarship and application process gets down to the wire. The biggest tip I can give you is to always be on the lookout for scholarships. You might complain that there are none available, but there are always scholarships awaiting applicants. The more you apply for, the better, but be mindful of your chances for each scholarship (don't over-exert yourself!). Good luck on your scholarship process, and if you have any questions, please leave them below! 

Have a great rest of senior year- you're almost done!

As always,

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