Scholarships are one of the most important elements in going to college. With college costs going up, attaining scholarships are vital in being able to attend the college of your choice. As of now, scholarships should be your second job. First apply for financial aid through FAFSA every year of college. In addition, whether you are a freshman in high school or a senior in college, you should always be looking for and applying for scholarships.
Don't pay money for financial aid or any scholarship application fee. Just think, if you are looking for money to pay for college, why would you spend money? When applying for scholarships never give out your credit card information, bank account, social security number or any bank PIN numbers.
There are four major categories for scholarships.
- 1. College-Specific: These scholarships come directly from colleges and universities i.e. Presidential Awards, Fellowship Awards for both undergraduate and graduate students. They are school specific and to find out what scholarships each school offers, type in your browser the school name and scholarship.
- 2. Merit-Based: These scholarships are based on some characterics defined by the funder. It good be grades, test scores, community service, ethnic heritage, etc. These scholarships typically have GPA requirement. Funders are from large and small corporate organizations, parent groups, commuity groups and foundations. These are very specific, so make sure you read all the criteria.
- 3. Need-Based: These scholarships are based on your family income. Some scholarships exist specifically for families that have financial need, and they help those families cover expensive college costs. Again the qualifications are very specific, so read carefully.
- 4. Athletic: These you get for accomplishments in sports. The best way to get them is through the NCAA. Talk to your coach about getting into the NCAA clearinghouse if you want to do college sports.
Most common sites are FASTWEB.com and BigFuture. Be creative in your search. Try applying for local scholarships first, then seeking scholarships in your field of interest.