Many high school graduates find themselves uncertain about their futures. They wonder how they could possibly go to college without financing. No matter how hopeless your situation may feel, understand that there is hope. To make your dream a reality, you must take your future into your own hands and move forward with confidence.
The key to gaining a college education without the help of family lies in scholarships and grants, monetary gifts that you do not have to repay. Most of them are unaffected by the financial standing of your parents. Many scholarships go unclaimed simply because no one knew about them or tried for them. One scholarship alone may not cover all of your school costs, but a series of scholarships together can take care of most of your tuition, books, and student fees. The trick is to keep searching for as many scholarships as possible and apply for all of them.
Begin with Your School Resources
High school counseling offices and college financial aid offices have lists of scholarships for which many students can qualify. Start by talking to your high school counselor about scholarships specifically offered to students who graduate from your school. Once you have applied for all of those scholarships that you might qualify for, talk to the financial aid office of a local college. You don’t have to be a student of the college to receive scholarship information. You should also check with local community organizations and large local corporations to see if they offer scholarships.
Organize Standard Information
Now that you have a long list of scholarships to apply for, you need to collect the information that most of these applications will require. Most scholarship applications require that you write an essay that outlines your specific academic goals and how the scholarship will help you achieve them. Put together an outline of your personal and academic goals that you can use while writing your essays. Be prepared to write about many different topics because scholarships come from groups with many different focuses. You want to emphasize the point of interest of the group offering the scholarship as much as you can.
Apply as Early as Possible
Don’t put off those scholarship applications until the last minute. Most scholarship committees will evaluate each application as received at the office. The applications that come in last are looked at last. Make sure your application is at the top of the stack so that you can be confident that the proper people who can make the decisions about scholarship awards will see it. Submitting your scholarship early also makes you appear to be a more responsible individual who respects deadlines, which is a personality trait that gives you a good chance of doing well in college.
Don’t Be Discouraged by Complicated Qualifications
Some groups can make the application process seem complicated and difficult. Stick with it. Submit all of the information they ask for as quickly as possible throughout the process. They might make the application process more difficult so that they can weed out the students who are not willing to follow through. These organizations want to give their money to someone who has the self-discipline to succeed at college. The application process is the only way the organizations can compare students and decide which student is the best investment.
Jessica Bosari writes about education and finance for Education-Colleges.com. The site helps students seeking education careers find the education colleges that meet their needs.
- College Scholarships and Awards: Searching for Scholarships, Fellowships, and Grants (education.com)
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