Cost is one of the most prominent reasons that high school students choose not to apply to college. After nearly nine years helping students get into college, I can confidently say that you can afford college! There are many sources of financial aid—money that organizations and the government give or lend to you to help you pay for higher education—including grants, loans, work study, and scholarships. Scholarships are attractive because they don’t have to be repaid. Let’s explore the broad spectrum of scholarship resources.
There are scholarships for all types of students. They may be granted to members of certain religious, ethnic, age, gender, or regional groups. They may be awarded based on interest in a certain subject, volunteerism, for athletic and academic aptitude. Because there are so many scholarships out there, your scholarship search will probably be the most daunting aspect of securing scholarships.
It’s useful to start your search on a scholarship-specific search engine. (Using a mainstream search engine, like Google, may return several million results.) Some top scholarship search engines are CollegeBoard.com, fastweb.com, CollegeNET.com, scholarships.com, and ScholarshipMonkey.com. CollegeBoard’s scholarships only include scholarships from reputable and established organizations. CollegeNET.com offers peer-voted scholarships that aren’t based on traditional factors such as GPA or income, in addition to the search engine. Fastweb contains the most up-to-date scholarships, as they update their databases daily! Explore these sites to determine which yields the best results for you.
Millions of students rely on these scholarship search engines, so you should also supplement your search with more personally-tailored resources. You will find school-specific scholarships and fellowships at your target colleges, so make sure to familiarize yourself with their sites. Prospective post-graduation employers that interest you may offer scholarships; many organizations also offer scholarships to children of employees. Your high school guidance counselor will also receive scholarship information that may be more aligned to your community.
When you’ve identified scholarships to apply to, there are several factors to keep in mind. Start looking for scholarships early and continue to search for them [even after you’re enrolled in college]. Take some time to learn about each organization that is awarding the scholarships you’re applying to, so that your essays are personally tailored to each.
Remember, there’s a scholarship for everything, so never assume you can’t afford school!
Dakotah Eddy is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant, and the Assistant Director of Admissions Consulting. She received both her bachelor’s degree and MBA from Cornell University (Go Big Red!), with the aid of several scholarships, grants, fellowships. She enjoys creating: from culinary masterpieces, to wearable art, to tech solutions.