If you have decided to go to college, congratulations! You are starting an important educational journey. It is that will lead you to your new career, personal fulfillment, or whatever your goal is. Paying for college can be a challenge for many high school students. The cost of college tuition rises each year. You will want to find financial aid and scholarships to help pay for your college or career school. This article will give you an overview of how to find the best college scholarships.
Start Looking for Scholarships Early
One option is free colleges, but you may want to stick with a traditional school, depending on your goals. Start with how old you are. If you are in 11th grade, start looking for scholarships for high school juniors right away. You want to start applying no later than the summer before your senior year. Competition for these scholarships is fierce, so start applying early.
Guidance Counselors Can Help You Find Opportunities
If you want to know how to get scholarships in high school, start with your guidance counselor. Many high school students forget to approach their counselors. Your counselor can help you navigate the sometimes confusing scholarship websites available online.
Find Scholarships on College Websites and in Libraries
Want a simple way to find scholarships for high school seniors? Go right to the college website itself. Do you have a list of colleges you like? Go right to those colleges’ websites and search for their scholarship information. You can also visit their physical financial aid office.
An old-school way for high school students to find scholarships is to visit your local library. Go to the reference section. Ask the librarian working for some help. Chances are they will know certain tricks to help high school seniors narrow down their search.
Narrow Your Scholarship Search
Consider the kind of student you are. Do you enjoy writing? There are scholarship programs that emphasize the essay part of the application process. If you’re a skilled writer, these are easy scholarships to apply for. Some are merit scholarships, and others are essay, no essay, sports scholarships, and more.
There are also no essay scholarships for college students. These place no weight on the essay itself, and many don’t even make you write one. Keep this in mind. Most merit scholarships will have a minimum grade point average. You will need to keep your grades up to qualify for most scholarships, not just merit scholarships.
What is your financial situation? If you come from a home with a low income, you may qualify for need-based scholarships and financial aid. These are, as the name suggests, scholarships based on a student’s financial need. Google the term “need-based scholarships” and you will find plenty of possibilities.
Unusual Sources for Scholarships
Some college students can find scholarships most people don’t consider. The United States Department of Labor even has a free scholarship search tool for high school seniors. This tool will help you find the ideal scholarships for your goals.
Another option is to look at your or your parent’s places of employment. Some businesses offer scholarship money for their employees or children of their employees. Finally, consider the military. If you (or your family members) are in the military, seek out those opportunities.
There are so many options that you will want to narrow down your choices based on several factors. What career path are you following? Are you a minority? Do you have anxiety or other conditions? What about physical challenges?
Some scholarships award funds based on:
- financial need
- physical or mental challenges
- and many more.
Consider Your Hobbies or Extracurricular Activities
Look at your extracurricular activities to help you narrow your search. Do you volunteer or do any work for charities? You may find scholarships for civic work. Do you have any unusual hobbies? Some organizations give scholarships based on obscure or unusual activities. There are even scholarships for speaking the Klingon language from Star Trek!
Fill Out Your FAFSA Form
An important consideration to keep in mind is federal student aid. To qualify for most scholarships, you will need to first fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. The FAFSA form helps determine whether you are eligible for financial aid or federal student loans.
Search for Colleges with No Application Fees
Many colleges have application fees that you must pay before submitting your application. Try Googling the term “colleges with no application fee.” These colleges make applying for admission more affordable for students with low incomes.
How to Approach Sports Scholarships
Are you seeking a sports scholarship? In this case, the scholarship process is quite different. Do you know which colleges interest you? You can seek out the coaches or athletic directors at those schools. Put together a highlight video of your sports accomplishments. Include a cover and send both to the coaches at the schools.
After a few weeks, call these people to see if they received your materials. If you get a positive response, or even better if they call you first, ask to schedule an interview. Be respectful of their time by being on time yourself. Before your interview, research the schools’ teams or sports programs thoroughly. Ask a lot of questions. Show your knowledge of their school’s past sports exploits.
Remember, finding out where high school scholarships are is not a problem. The internet has made seeking out such opportunities easier than ever. The real secret is looking at who you are as a person and your circumstances. Details about your own life will help you narrow your search to the scholarships that best fit you.