Did you get into your dream college but can’t afford to go? Afraid you’re going to have to take out student loans? The average class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt, and it’s increasing every year. However, thanks to the tens of thousands of scholarships that are being offered nowadays, students are given many opportunities to find affordable ways to pay for college.
There are tons of different ways you can earn a college scholarship. First, you can check out your chosen college’s website, catalog, and financial aid materials for information on the scholarships provided there. The awards can be given university-wide or more particular to your set college or major. Your college may automatically put your name in for a chance at certain scholarships when you submit financial forms, but check with your financial aid officer before assuming.
While college scholarships are always great, they don’t always cover the hefty costs of tuition. Therefore, many people must rely on outside scholarships from state and local levels. There are tons of resources on the internet that help your search such as:
- Fastweb.com hosts more than 1.5 million scholarships that provides students more than $3.4 billion. Once you create a profile, the site helps you to find the most accurate matches that fit your needs. On the site, you can see all the scholarships you applied for, or may want to apply for in the future. There are also ‘contests’ that you can enter monthly or weekly to win money towards your tuition.
- Collegeboard.org contains a huge database of scholarships, called Big Future that hosts scholarships, as well as other financial aid and internship information from more than 2,200 programs – totaling nearly $6 billion. In order to get the most accurate search results, it’s critical to fill out as many details as you can in the profile that’s used for searching.
- Scholarships.com hosts one of the largest scholarship databases and is updated daily. The site provides more than 2.7 million scholarship and grant opportunities worth more than $19 billion, so just about everyone is bound to find one that can meet their needs.
- Niche.com is organized into categories that help you to find what you’re looking for easily, such as searching by interest, career, major, and other areas. This site also allows you to enter contests to win money prizes.
- Unigo.com contains millions of available scholarships including athletic, college-specific, company-based, and minority, state-specific scholarships and more. You can search by category or create a profile so the site can automatically find scholarships that fit your needs. Unigo also offers scholarship contests and sweepstakes.
While the sites mentioned above are some of the great ways to apply for scholarships, there are also other resources you can use to locate more local scholarships including:
- High school counselor
- Religious or community organizations
- Organizations related to your field of interest
- Your employer or parent’s employer
- Local chapters of organizations such as the Kiwanis Club
- Local businesses such as doctor or lawyer offices
There are so many people who want to see you succeed, and if money is the reason stopping you, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.