Paying for College With Scholarships

Higher education is touted as a worthy pursuit for all graduating high school seniors, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Depending on where you go to school, you might pay between hundreds and thousands of dollars per course, not even counting the fees for residence, meal plans, student unions, a student health plan, and so on.

Scholarships are one way that any student can try to pay for university without worrying about paying back the money later. Thousands of scholarships exist for all kinds of unusual categories: tall people, duct-tape crafters, and people with certain last names can all find scholarships!

You can find scholarships through your high school guidance counsellor, college financial aid office, online, in books, or through word of mouth.

If you haven't already made contact with your guidance counsellor or financial aid office, do so as soon as possible. Many counsellors and financial aid departments maintain listings of not only internal and local opportunities, but broader external opportunities. You could even consider searching the websites of nearby universities, even those you aren't attending or considering attending, as many databases are free for all to browse.

The internet is a fantastic way to find scholarships, as you can find opportunities that are not very well-known, and easily sort through hundreds of various scholarships. Search engines have sprung up specifically for scholarships, along with specialized sites that will track scholarships based on your profile to find those you're eligible for. You can also use a regular search engine to search for scholarships using keywords, plus the word "scholarship".

There are also books that have been published about scholarships available in particular countries, for specific age ranges, and related to certain categories of people. Try searching online or in your local bookstore for such scholarship books; your guidance counsellor or financial aid office can recommend some good compilations of scholarship listings.

Word of mouth is the final, and perhaps best, way to find scholarships. Students who are related to employees of many companies are eligible for corporate scholarships, and often the applicant pool is relatively small, making you very likely to find a scholarship this way. People may also know a scholarship with a philanthropic organization or another source that you are eligible for.

To apply for these scholarships, gather all the information that is frequently required, such as your budget plans, photocopies of school transcripts, and lists of volunteer or work experience. Record the deadlines of all the scholarships you intend to apply for on the same calendar, so you will see which deadlines are upcoming. Then, you can print out and fill in the applications, write the essays, and ask for the reference letters you need while keeping an eye on the award deadline.

A great way to get many scholarships is to make a list of ten scholarships for which you qualify, and continue to apply for them each year while you're in university. This means you will be sending out at least forty scholarship applications, which greatly increases your chance of being awarded one or more.

With a little work put into finding, organizing and applying for scholarships, you can help fund your education for free!

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