It’s currently the second week of January. This is when students send in the last of their college applications. Along with these applications, there’s another thing that’s on the back of most students’ minds. “How am I going to pay for college?” Some students have this question figured out (they’ll either pay out of pocket, hope for financial aid from the school, or apply for loans). However, there is another route that students can explore along with these options. Scholarships – external or from the school – can help offset a good amount of the costs for attending college. Most students start considering or applying for scholarships in their senior year. This can add a lot of stress and unwanted pressure to their minds. Beginning applications during senior year doesn’t leave much room for planning, being as concise as possible, experimenting, and maximizing the amount of money that can potentially be earned. The goal with scholarship applications is to maximize the amount of money you can walk away with to pay for school.
There are many pitfalls of rushing and mashing all your applications into one timeframe like during senior year. In general, any sort of application should not be rushed. Although not all scholarships have deadlines in the same time frames, each application may require a tremendous amount of work (i.e. essays, and other creative work). It can get difficult for students to complete all their scholarship applications in senior year as they have to also focus on their college applications, their financial aid applications, and they also have to keep up their grades for the last year (colleges can rescind an offer if your grades fall too much). This is why it is recommended that students begin their scholarship applications as early as possible – as early as Junior Year.
It is true that many scholarships do not accept applicants who are not in their senior year or in college. Fear not, there are also plenty of scholarships available to juniors. There are many tools all over the internet that can help students get matched to scholarships that they are eligible for. Some of these tools are:
- Cappex.com: Compare Colleges & Research College Information
- Scholarships.com Search Free College Scholarships Financial Aid …
- Fastweb: Find Scholarships for College for FREE
- Chegg – Save up to 90% on Textbooks | Don’t Pay Full Price for …
- Even your school website
These websites can inform students about current and upcoming scholarships. Getting informed about scholarships that are available to you will give you some breathing room during the college application process. This head start will allow students to plan deadlines for all applications that they have to send in. It’s a no brainer as to the benefits of having a plan of action when it comes to something as important as applying to college and paying for it.
Lastly, now that you have begun searching for scholarships, it is important to know the different types of scholarships that are available.
Recipients of Merit-based scholarships receive them based on their academic performance. Everyone is eligible to receive them and are often given by the institution that the student is applying to.
These scholarships are available to student athletes. Students who play as part of a student team on the city or state level. If you are offered a sports scholarship to a college or university, there is usually a clause that requires you to play for the institution at the university level.
First Generation Students:
First generation scholarship recipients are students who are the first in their family to go to college, or students whose parents don’t have a college degree.
This type of scholarship is available to historically underrepresented groups are those who have, throughout history, had lower representation in higher education or certain careers due to structural discrimination and racism.