You know you want to attend college, but how will you cover all the costs? Not only will you need to financially plan for tuition costs, but all the other costs associated with attending college as well, such as school supplies, textbooks, parking passes, and more. Using scholarship money to cover your tuition costs is one of the best ways to pay for college, have extra spending money for other expenses, and reduce some of your stress.
Do you know how to get a scholarship for college?
There are many types of scholarships available. Some may cover your entire tuition and even have money left over to put in your pocket. Others will only cover a portion of your expenses, but when you combine multiple scholarships together, you can almost guarantee you won’t have to pay much out of pocket.
In the guide below, you’ll find several important steps to take if you want to receive a college scholarship. Getting a scholarship is easy when you know what to do. Continue reading below to get started.
Table of Contents
Start Applying in High School
If you haven’t started college yet and you’re in the preparation stage, then there’s no better time than now to start applying for scholarships. Applying for scholarships in high school can give you a head start and save your spot for when it’s time to leave for college. Take the time to sit down with a guidance counselor and ask about the different scholarship options available to you.
You need to do this as soon as possible because different scholarships will have different requirements. For example, there might be a full-ride scholarship that covers your entire college tuition, but you must have a GPA (grade point average) of 3.5 or higher. If you start applying for the scholarships early, then you’ll have time to bring up your GPA.
Some scholarships have specific requirements other than a grade point average such as essay requirements or a number of volunteer hours. It’s best to know what’s required of you in the early stages so you can plan to complete these requirements before you graduate high school.
Speak With the Financial Aid Office
Colleges will have their own scholarships that they offer to students. It’s a good idea to contact each college you’re interested in and ask about the scholarships available to you. Again, the best time to do this is while you’re still in high school, but it’s also never too late.
Contact the colleges and request an appointment with one of their financial aid advisors. These advisors can help you discover new scholarships you might qualify for and guide you throughout the application process. Your college financial advisor will give you information for federal student aid and other student aid options.
If you qualify for federal student aid and you earn a scholarship, then the two awards will be combined for even greater college savings!
Know What’s Available to You
During your scholarship search, it’s important to know what’s available to you. Although it’s a good idea to have some general knowledge of all scholarships, you want to focus on scholarships that target your individual situation. For example, the Jasdeep Singh Scholarship is specifically for students who are first-generation college attendees in their families.
You can also find scholarships for people with disabilities, people who left college and are now choosing to go back, scholarships for those in the performing arts, and much more! Start thinking about some factors that are specific to you and research scholarships directed towards that. These scholarships generally have fewer people applying to them, which gives you a better chance at being rewarded.
Never Stop Searching For Opportunities
Although the best time to start searching for scholarships is in high school, your search should never end. There are many scholarships that you can apply for even after you start college. Each year, check in with your financial aid advisor and ask about any new or existing scholarships you’re able to apply for.
The more you apply for, the better chances you have of being rewarded. You might even be rewarded several, which means more money for you.
Make Yourself Stand Out
Don’t forget to make yourself stand out on your application. Why should you be selected over someone else? What makes you more qualified or different from the rest?
There are a few things you can do to help stand above the rest. For starters, consider completing volunteer work in your community whether it’s required of you or not. You should also take part in a variety of programs offered by your school.
These will look great on your scholarship application.
Always Double-Check Before Submitting
The applications for different scholarships might look a bit different. Each one might require different documents or information. If you want to increase your chances of being selected, then you need to always double-check your application before submitting it.
Make sure you’ve included everything that was asked of you. If you needed to write an essay, then have this essay proofread by a professor or teacher. If certain documents require signatures, then be sure no signature is forgotten.
An incomplete application could be dismissed, leaving you with no chance of being selected for it.
Knowing How to Get a Scholarship Starts Right Here
If you weren’t sure how to get a scholarship, don’t be discouraged. Many college students and future college students aren’t sure about how the process works. To get started, use the helpful information given in this guide above.
Then, make sure to use all of your resources (guidance counselors, financial aid advisors, and the internet) to learn as much as you can about scholarships available to you.
If you’re interested in more topics on education, then be sure to check back here on a regular basis!