Qualifying For A Scholarship Is Easier Than You Think

There are millions of dollars in scholarship funds and grants that are awarded each year and anyone is eligible to apply. Let’s face it, going to college requires spending money and anywhere you can cut your college costs to make it affordable is worth a shot.

According to the College Board, the average annual cost of tuition and fees at a public university are generally $10,000 for an in-state student and $23,000 for out-of-state students. The average cost of a private university was much higher ranging from around $30,000 to $65,000 for the same period.

There are several paths you can take to help lower your college costs.  First, everyone should fill out a FAFSA, which is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Their website is: www.fafsa.ed.gov.  This application is used to determine what loans you would be eligible for, as well as some scholarships and grants. Student Loans will have to be paid back with interest after graduation. FAFSA will let you know how much you are eligible for in student loans and how much it will cost you monthly to pay them back. There are some program options for you to choose between when deciding how to pay back your loan. You may choose to defer payment until you graduate or manage your payback costs in relationship to your present salary. There are deadlines for filing your FAFSA, which you need to pay attention to so that you don’t miss the opportunity for student aid.

After you complete your FAFSA application it is important to begin researching for scholarships and grants. Scholarships and grants are preferable as they are funds that don’t have to be paid back. Anyone can apply for a scholarship or grant at any age. You don’t have to be a high school student, athlete, a minority or a top scholar to get gift aid. If you are still in high school, the easiest path is to talk with your guidance counselor.  A guidance counselor will help you navigate toward the scholarships and grants that will best match your needs.

If you have already chosen your college, have been accepted and you have filled out your FAFSA, you should go on their website and search for scholarships and grants.  Many colleges have their own scholarship programs that focus on particular majors or careers.  You may have to apply for these scholarships separately or sometimes colleges will automatically consider you for the scholarship when you accept their admissions offer.

There are numerous scholarships awarded to students for a wide variety of talents. Certainly academics and high achievers can find a great many scholarships and grants to choose from, and some of the scholarships award up to $100,000 for individuals with remarkable talents. One such opportunity is the National Merit Scholarships that don’t take much work to apply. By simply taking a Pre-SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test you will be automatically entered into the competition and multiple scholarships are awarded.

Another avenue to consider if you are a talented athlete is an athletic scholarship.  These type of scholarships are usually reserved for athletes who compete in their sport regionally or nationally.  Often coaches will recruit on their own and contact students they are interested in.  However, you can also go on a college’s website and search for their athletic/sports programs.  Under each team are usually the name, phone number and/or email of the coach and the assistant coach.  Be proactive and contact the coaches if you believe you could be an asset to their team.  But be prepared to send footage of you playing the sport and your statistics.

And finally, many scholarships are tailored to numerous different categories such as special interests, family heritages and even the area you live in. Here is a list of some popular scholarships, and always visit their website to find out more information and detailed requirements:

Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship – $20,000:

Awarded to a HS Student for their capacity to lead and serve, and their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities.


Burger King Scholars Program – $25,000:

The qualified student must have a GPA minimum of 2.5, work PT 15 hours per week, active in community service, demonstrate financial need and plan on attending college in the Fall Term of their graduating year.


Duck Brand Duct Tape Prom Contest – $10,000:

Awarded to a couple wearing head-to-toe attire made from Duck Brand Duck Tape. Award is based on originality, workmanship, duct tape colors chosen and more.


Do Something Scholarship – $100,000:

Awarded to an individual who has created a significant impact and tangibly improved the lives of others in their community.


Doodle 4 Google $30,000:

Awarded to students in Kindergarten through 12th Grade who create a doodle that represents an annual theme for example: “If I Could Invent One Thing To Make The World A Better Place

If you have been a member of the Girl Scouts you can visit their website and search for scholarships by your state. One such scholarship in New York is the Dr. Harry Brittenstool Scholarship.

Requirements: H.S. Seniors with 2 years of Girl Scouting experience. Demonstrating financial need, SAT score of at least 1,500 or cumulative GPA of at least 80. See additional requirements on the application.

Important resources for scholarships and grants are scholarship websites, where you can apply for individual scholarships or sometimes fill out one application for several scholarships. Some popular websites to check out are: fastweb.com, collegeboard.com/scholarships, colleges.niche.com/scholarships, scholarshipowl.com, and scholarships.com.

Remember, you are not limited to the amount scholarships you can be awarded and each new semester you can apply and re-apply for more scholarships.  If you win 7 or 8 scholarships that range from $1,000 to $5,000, you could pay for a good deal of college expenses.

So, set aside twenty minutes and complete a profile on a scholarship website to see which scholarships and grants you are eligible for. Too many students don’t take that extra step to find the right scholarship. So surf the web! And once you have entered your name, answered all the questions thoughtfully and completely – you will be one step closer to your dream of achieving a college education.

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