How you can get scholarships to pay for college

We’ve introduced you to those scary-sounding financial aid terms and helped to debunk some financial aid myths. This week, we’ll offer some suggestions on how you can pay for college. 

Keep in mind most people don’t pay the full price for college. According to The New York Times only one in three full-time students pay full tuition. On our campus that rate is much higher. More than 90 percent of our students receive some sort of financial aid, whether it’s a scholarship, a grant, a loan, a work-study job or a combination of all of them. 

Today’s we’re talking scholarships.

There are many types of scholarships and applying for them requires you to be assertive. None of them are going to jump in your lap, so you’re going to have to go out and get them.

Our financial aid office offers eight tips to securing a scholarship:

  1. Check with the financial aid office.
    The folks there can help you find information on available scholarships and other forms of aid like loans.
  2. Check with the academic department.
    If you’ve already picked a major, the people in your academic department may know of specific scholarships for students in your particular major.
  3. Use a free scholarship search engine.
    The folks in the financial aid office can recommend free scholarship search sites that will enable you to focus on scholarships that fit your particular characteristics.
  4. Don’t assume.
    You may not have straight A’s or be the power forward on the basketball team. That’s OK; there are still many scholarships out there based on hobbies, interest, background, etc.
  5. Write an essay.
    Yeah, we know most students don’t like to write them, which is why it’s a great idea. Scholarships that require an essay have fewer applicants, giving you a greater chance of getting it. Just remember to have someone read over your essay first. You don’t want to submit something that’s chock full of errors.
  6. Don’t overlook the small scholarships.
    The scholarship may be only for $500, but if you get a few of them, you’ll see that the money will start adding up and making a big difference. 
  7. Apply early. (with photo of scholarship application)
    We know the temptation is to procrastinate, but don’t do that. You don’t want to miss any deadlines.
  8. Don’t get scammed.
    If a site tells you it will guarantee you a scholarship if you pay a fee up front, it’s likely a scam. Watch out for these. If you have any questions, contact the financial aid office at your school. 

Next up: Grants

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