There is a way to avoid adding to the $1 trillion in federal student loans debt—scholarships.
Scholarships can aid in paying for college and/or vocational schools by paying tuition in full or partially—and the best part: it doesn’t need to be repaid. Think of scholarships as a gift you can get unlimited amounts of, depending on the effort put in and your eligibility.
A plethora of scholarships are offered by universities, communities, social organization, and nonprofits. The criteria for a scholarship can vary greatly and may depend on your race, gender, age, or military affiliation. Some scholarships are merit based, meaning earned through academic achievement and talent. Others are financial based. There is a wide range.
There are billion dollars worth of scholarships—here’s how to find your piece of the pie.
1. Don’t Procrastinate
The old adage “the early bird, gets the worm” holds true. And in the case of college scholarship, it’s best to search for college scholarships early and submit applications equally early. It’d be disheartening to miss out on opportunities that you didn’t have time to find. It’s also important to note most applications have deadlines, and since you’ll be applying for several, it’s best to mark the due dates on your calendar and keep tabs. Early is the best route to take.
2. Get Organized
Once you’ve found the scholarships you’re interested in applying for, it is time to put those transferable organizational skills to good use. In most instances you’ll need to submit the following information:
- High school transcript
- Standardized test scores
- Financial aid forms, such as FAFSA
- Parents’ financial information, including tax returns
- One or more essays
- One or more letters of recommendation
- Proof of eligibility for the scholarship (for example, proof of membership in a certain group)
3. Don’t Limit Your Search and Personality
Scholarships often have several criteria and as a multi-faceted person you could fit a range of offerings. So, it is important to keep your search wide enough. For example, you can be a dancer and apply for a talent scholarship. But you are also of Asian descent and can apply for an Asian descent scholarship. You are also a woman who volunteers with animals and apply for that specified scholarship. Get my drift—the opportunities are endless.
4. Never Stop Applying
Some scholarships only cover tuition partially, so always looks for other means to lessen the financial load. Applications for scholarships doesn’t stop at the end of high school and once in university. Universities offer scholarships for continued excellence in education throughout, so take advantage and don’t become one of the many contributing to the $1 trillion in federal student loan debt.