When choosing the college that’s right for you, you’re probably making cost a large factor. The high costs of tuition can be a scary reality and so can ending college in debt. However, there are thousands of scholarships out there offered by schools, communities, companies, nonprofits, and more. But where do you start? Here are some tips to finding the right scholarship to help pay for your education.
Step 1: Talk to your counselor.
If you’re a high school student, possibly your best resource will be your counselor. They will have great advice on specific scholarships to fit your needs. If you meet with your counselor, be prepared to share your financial background and discuss your skills and interests. Your own high school may even offer a scholarship. If you have a specific school in mind, they will also have counselors you can speak with. Take a counselor’s advice to heart. In some cases, their primary focus is to aid you in your college search and help make it affordable.
Step 2: Go online.
There are several great websites that are a great place to search. Plenty of these are free databases, so you should be able to search for a scholarship without having to pay.
Step 3: Fill out a FAFSA.
FASFA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form to determine if you’re eligible for student financial aid. This application will only take about an hour to fill out, but you should be prepared to have things such as tax forms or bank statements on hand. At this point you will also need a list of schools that you would like to receive the results. You may need to get a head start on this step in order to avoid missing any deadlines.
Step 4: Keep your eyes peeled.
Once you have searched, asked around, and applied for financial aid, don’t think you’ve done all you can. There are countless scholarships that can come from places you may not have thought of. Continue your search and be competitive with yourself. Set goals for yourself on how many you want to apply for each week or make them larger amounts each time.
Scholarship searching may seem like a chore now, but trust that it will pay off. A scholarship is something you can put on your resume when job searching after college and you’ll be happier to have less or no student loans. It’s easy to get started and you may surprise yourself.