Applying for scholarships takes time, effort and organization, but the results could mean hundreds to thousands of dollars to help you pay for college.
Start applying for scholarships in your junior year and continue throughout your senior year. Scholarships come from many sources – large national foundations, small local organizations, and some come directly from the college. Many are based on academics and talents while others are based on financial need.
Big Dollar Awards
There are thousands of “big dollar” scholarships awaiting your application. The foundations who award these scholarships typically receive up to 1,000 applications each year so you really need to make yours stand out. While it’s great to apply for these large awards, don’t ignore small-dollar awards that attract fewer applicants.
Small Dollar Scholarships
Some scholarships can be as little as $100. Don’t think they’re worth the effort? Think again. These scholarships may be difficult to award because students don’t take time to apply. They mistakenly believe that too many people apply for local scholarships, or that the application is too much work for the dollar value. As for the dollar amount, every little bit helps.
Check out ScholarshipQuest at www.educationquest.org for local and state-based scholarships. We recently updated this free, online program to provide a better match of scholarships to your specific criteria.
College Specific Awards
Some of the largest scholarships are awarded directly from the college -- and many are renewable. Some schools require a separate application, while others use the admission application and FAFSA results to award scholarships. Contact the college to learn their procedures and scholarship deadlines.
College-based scholarships often have academic requirements tied to ACT/SAT test scores, GPA, and leadership abilities. Renewable awards require you to achieve a certain grade point average, usually 3.25 or higher.
Apply for college specific scholarships at all the schools you’re considering -- leave your options open until you make your final college selection.
Work with your future college coach to apply for athletic scholarships. They’ll make sure you meet NCAA regulations and deadlines.
Since athletes are recruited to play college level sports, you’ll want to enlist the help of your high school coach as well. Your coach may be able to encourage recruiters to watch you play. You may not know when you’re being scored so give your best performance every time.
Very few athletic scholarships are awarded nationally each year, so don’t put all your hopes into a full-ride. Some students attend a junior college the first year or two and build strength, skills and grades. Remember that Division I schools recruit college athletes as well as high school athletes.
EducationQuest Foundation offers free help as you look for scholarships and when you apply for admissions and financial aid. Call 391-4033 to make an appointment at our office in Rockbrook Village at 108th and West Center Road, or visit our web site at www.educationquest.org.