College is expensive. No one will deny this. One way to save money on secondary education is to fund it through scholarships. When you use these awards, it can reduce the amount of student loan debt. Without them, adults graduate from college with enormous student loan debt that takes longer for them to pay down.
The trick is to figure out where to find scholarships for college. Where do you look? How do you get started? With thousands of scholarships available, it can be overwhelming. Here are tips to help your teen find those scholarships to help keep your college costs down.
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WHERE TO FIND COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS
Many may believe you can start a search for college scholarships towards the middle or end of your senior year in high school. However, that is far too late. Your search should begin before the start of your senior year.
You need to begin during your junior year in high school, as it provides many more options. As you get further into your school year, many scholarships are already awarded (to other students). That may mean fewer opportunities to cash in and receive those you want.
Additional tip: It is also good to understand the requirements for scholarship eligibility (such as GPA) which can give your student the time needed to set and reach new goals.
Visit your student aid office
This is a great resource to find scholarships. Many times, they will know of some being offered by the school for different majors. They may even have the applications on hand for your student to complete.
Check the college website
Some schools have a list of currently available scholarships listed on their website. Your student could also visit with coaches and other instructors about others that may not be listed.
For instance, when I attended college, I was able to receive a vocal scholarship for being involved in choir…and I was not a music major.
Check with local businesses
Check with companies who do business in your field of study. They may have foundations which award scholarships to like-minded students majoring in the same area.
To be honest, this is the easiest way to find scholarships. Conduct a search for them in your field of study. However, keep in mind that there may be more competition for these same awards, so you may not be as likely to receive as many as you want.
Some of the top online destinations include:
Visit local foundations
Check with the charitable organizations in your area as they often have scholarships. These are not as widely publicized so you may have better luck securing one of them.
Make sure you are eligible
You would not receive a soccer scholarship if you can’t even kick a ball. Make sure you meet all of the eligibility requirements before even applying. That means reading the fine print before you fill out your application. If you don’t, you are not only wasting your time, but also the time of the selection committee.
Check with friends or their parents about scholarships which they have found. You might get some great insight or ideas on where to go to find the scholarship which will work for you.
Look beyond academics
There are scholarships for students who may not have the highest GPA. Instead, they consider community service and other areas – which may level the playing field for your student.
Finding scholarships take time. In fact, it can take a lot of time. Dedicate time every day to search and apply. You won’t find them by spending only a few minutes of searching. You need to apply for lots of scholarships, in hopes that you get a few of them. Giving up is not an option when you need to pay for school.