Friday, March 22, 2013

College Scholarship Tips

Can you go to college for free? Well, there are a lot of people that do. They get scholarships and grants that pay for cost of going to college. Can you be one of these lucky few? Yes you can. Thousands of college students each year get literally millions of dollars in scholarships to pay for college. You cannot get a scholarship without applying, so here are some tips.

First thing to do is maybe an internet search. Narrow the search down for college students like you. Never pay for any scholarship search. There is no need. A lot of unscrupulous people take money and do nothing. There really is nothing that a paid college scholarship search can do for you that you cannot do free. In fact, here is a free college scholarship search.

You can find scholarships for students who have a hobby or passion for something. Also, local businesses give out lots of scholarships to local kids each year. Your high school counselor is another good place to start. They will have info and probably even forms to fill out to apply.

There are a lot of small scholarships available, but don't sell yourself short. There are many huge scholarships. KFC gave out a $20,000 one recently.

You want your application to stand out above the others. That means making it unique. You may want to read it out loud to friends and family to see what they think. You want it to be exciting, not boring. It's not a school report or assignment.

That leads to the next scholarship tip. You cannot apply effectively to dozens. You must narrow it down to a handful and do a GREAT job applying. Or, if you are feeling well of yourself, you can apply for more. But remember that each scholarship is unique and requires a unique application and description of yourself.

Merit Award Scholarships are for academic achievement and not on any other financial criteria. Like need. That means they are open to potentially every student.

Right now, more and more states are switching a lot of their financial aid to merit awards. 27 states now do it, and 13 are giving more than 50% of their awards as merit.

In Georgia, because of financial problems with their scholarship program, they raised the bar. The academic requirement is now higher. Georgia's Hope Program is one of the largest merit awards program in the country.

This could mean other states follow. So what's the real change? Instead of awarding college money based on need, it is now trending to award it on merit. Meaning that maybe, and that's a big maybe, less needy students will get money.

Many other states are starting to look at how they give out grant money. Some are giving over 50% based on achievement. Remember, the financial aid money is not growing, and might even be reduced.

To some it makes sense to award college scholarships based on merit or achievement, rather than on income. It rewards those who work hard, and might raise the standards of those starting and completing college. We might have a better prepared work force.

Achievement comes in various parts, like ACT or SAT scores, and grades.

Of course states are trying to keep some aid there specifically for low income students.

The bottom line, is study study study. You'll be a better student for it, and, it might put money in your pocket!

The best places to look for scholarships are right in front of you.

The high school counseling office will have information on virtually every real scholarship that is available to you, and whether you have a good chance of qualifying. If you are shopping for college money, stop there first! It's free!

Your parents probably have jobs and work for companies that give out scholarships to employees and their children. Get your parents to check this out. Many of these are automatically awarded if you enroll in college. A few dollars does not hurt your college budget bottom line.

The college you enroll in has many in-house scholarships. Ask the financial aid office for details.

Sometimes you do need to do a little research. But researching college scholarships is free. Stop by your local library to see if they have books on the shelf that deal with college scholarship searches.

There is nothing wrong with spending a couple of dollars on scholarship books. They are fairly cheap, and it may help in finding some scholarships you may not know of. But remember, this is a very little cost compared to some paid scholarship searches. Don't fall into a trap of paying out big money for almost nothing. There is nothing a college scholarship search is going to find that you can't find yourself for free. 

How to find scholarships

Don't forget that the college you apply will have their own scholarships and grants. Don't rule out a school because it is expensive. Many of those real expensive schools give out the fattest financial aid!

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