How to Get Scholarships and Grants for College
The increasing cost of post secondary education has worried many high school students. Most wonder if they will be able to pay tuition costs and get a college education. While it is true that the cost of education has increased, it is also true that there are many ways to pay for your education, like getting scholarships and grants for college.
Before you dismiss scholarships, spend some time thinking about other ways of paying tuition. It is likely that you will either take a loan or work for a minimum three years before thinking of starting college. If you take a loan, you will be under debt for a large part of your professional career and if you think of saving money by working, you might never be able to save enough. Scholarships and grants for college are the most definite workaround for avoiding these two situations.
Here are the steps you must follow to get a scholarship or grant:
Studying to Earn a Scholarship or Grant
A lot of students have the notion that scholarships are reserved for students with high GPAs and a great extracurricular activity record. This may be true for meritorious scholarships but not for all. There will be competition for scholarships and grants offered by your university. If you prepare well, there is no reason why it wouldn’t be awarded to you.
If you are still in high school, start studying for SAT, participate in extracurricular activities and improve your grades. Some merit based scholarships cover the cost of your entire tuition and living expense!
Do Your Research on Scholarships and Grants
Before you think about paying for college, make a list of potential colleges and universities you want to apply to. Write down the tuition costs and living expenses for the program you are interested in and calculate the scholarship or grant amount you require to cover the costs.
Once this is done, carefully evaluate institutional scholarships and grants to check if you will be eligible for them. Start preparing your application packet based on what the admissions office requires. Spend time writing a great essay even though it may seem time consuming – remember, it will pay off and you might just get a scholarship or grant for college!
Look Beyond Your College
There cannot be anything better than institutional scholarships and grants for college but if you don’t get one, do not lose heart. There are many other avenues you can use to find scholarships. Colleges list federal, state, and civic scholarships on their websites, encouraging students to apply for scholarships. Some scholarships could be as less as $1000 but if you manage to get even three of these, you can pay $3000 of tuition costs with ease.
Several exam based scholarships are also conducted by civic bodies. All you need to do is write an exam or an essay. The winning participant gets an award in the form of a scholarship.
Single parents and young adults from low income households can also avail special scholarships and grant programs.
Federal Programs for Grants
Federal grants, like Pell grants, and others are designed to make college education affordable. At the time of filling the application form, ensure that you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at FAFSA. By doing this, you will be eligible for multiple grants that the federal government provides for students.
Don’t Forget to Repeat
Each year, students must fill scholarship forms again and compete for them, unless the scholarship program’s fine print covers tuition costs for all semesters. Start preparing essays and other documents in your last semester and keep a close watch for scholarship deadlines.