If you are a high school student, or the parent of one, and are considering education beyond high school you are probably painfully aware that the cost of a college education can be enormous. There is room, board, books, tuition, lab fees, parking fees, plus the extras like shampoo and toothpaste.
How are you planning on paying for that college degree that will help you succeed in the workplace? Many college students depend on scholarships to help whittle down the expenses associated with college.
The time to start planning on getting a college scholarship is when you first hit high school, or even as early as middle school. Remember, those grades you are earning now will follow you the rest of your academic career. You also should choose to be active in one or more clubs, sports, or other types of extra curricular activities, and documented community service hours look really good on those applications.
Being an officer, a captain or organizing an event will help to highlight your leadership capabilities, another thing that will help you to shine. Most scholarships are looking for well-rounded individuals, not just good grades. They want to make sure you are actively involved in all aspects of your school and community.
The first place you will want to start your scholarship search is with your own high school counselor, probably at the start of your junior year in high school. This person is trained to help you get the most relevant scholarship for you and most will help you get the required information together. There will probably be scholarships that are exclusive to your school, city, or county, and the counselor should be familiar with these.
You can also try browsing on the internet. Look at the college scholarship websites for other schools in your area for some your counselor might have missed..
Next, you’ll want to check with the financial aid office at the college you are planning to attend and with the help of their counselors, determine what types of scholarships are available for you there. Haven’t settled on a college yet? No problem, check with all of the colleges you are planning on applying to.
You can be accepted to many different colleges and have scholarships awarded through each one. You just won’t get to accept the ones at the colleges you do not attend. An added bonus here is that you may get so much financial aid in the way of scholarships through one college that it may help you make your decision on which college you attend.
With a list of possible scholarships now in hand, focus on organization. Get some plain manilla folders and write on the tab of each one the name of the scholarship, and the date it is due. Then file them according to due date, not alphabetically. This system will help you to keep everything you need for each scholarship together with the application itself and will help you avoid missing important deadlines. Start with the first one that is due and begin collecting the required materials such as transcripts and letters of recommendation well ahead of time.
You should apply for everything you qualify for, absolutely everything! Your chances may be slim, but you have no hope of getting a college scholarship if you don’t apply. Now is not the time for modesty. Now is your chance to brag on yourself. If you got an award as best in your computer class as a freshman, wright it down.
An award may seem silly to you, but the scholarship committee evaluating your application is interested in everything you have done. They have some difficult decisions to make and any award you have received, anything you have accomplished that sets you apart even the tiniest bit can make their job easier.
As anyone who has researched the cost of a college education can attest, paying for higher education is no small matter. Getting scholarships to help pay the cost of college is a must for some students.
With a little planning, research, and a lot of writing this is not an unrealistic goal for anyone who has made the effort to earn the grades and is willing to put in the time and energy necessary to the college scholarship application process.