5 Types of Scholarships to Apply for Your Senior Year
College Finances Are Probably One Of The Most Overlooked Factors Of The College Application Process, Especially By High School Seniors….
Along with the busyness of senior year, many students get caught up in the excitement of getting accepted to their dream school before realizing that college is also expensive. Paying for college can be tricky, and believe it or not, many organizations out there understand this and are willing to help students with their college finances.
A myriad of financial aid is out there like scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study; all of these options can be vital to students paying for college by themselves. However, out of all of these options, scholarships are the best way for students to ensure that they will fund their college education and graduate debt-free. If you want to learn about all the scholarships you’re eligible for, keep reading! You can even begin applying for some as early as today!
Why Apply For Scholarships In The First Place?
College is expensive. With everything from tuition to books, housing, and health fees, the average cost of attending a public university is roughly $30K. To properly save for these college costs, students must start planning early, research the financial aid they’re eligible for, and pursue options like scholarships and grants.
The reason college scholarships are so highly sought after is because they’re essentially “free money.” Students can qualify for scholarships based on factors as simple as the state they live in or a hobby they enjoy. While financial aid options like loans must be paid back with interest, scholarships are an honor to receive because it means that you qualified for it, and there’s no pay-back expected.
Students should consider scholarships before pursuing student loans because of this “free money” principle. Consider working hard now and applying for as many scholarships as you can rather than paying off student loans for years and years after you graduate. You’d be surprised at the scholarships you’re eligible for too; you might as well give it a shot!
The two types of financial aid that can be considered “free money” are scholarships and grants. The difference between a scholarship and a grant is found in the reason why students are awarded this money. Scholarships are usually merit-based and can come in a variety of different amounts. Grants, on the other hand, are usually need-based, and the main organizations that award them to students are the U.S. government, private organizations, and sometimes, colleges themselves.
Either way, college scholarships and grants are gifts to students and don’t need to be paid back after you graduate. While it sounds too good to be true, many organizations out there believe in the impact students can have in this world, and their financial help is the reason why so many students are able to get a world-class education in the first place.
First Things First: The FAFSA
Whether you’re considering applying for scholarships, grants, loans, work-study, or virtually any of kind of financial aid, you absolutely must fill out the FAFSA first. If you’re not a newcomer to college finances, you’re probably tired of hearing about how important the FAFSA is. However, the reality is that you can’t do much without it; there’s no other way of discovering your eligibility for college scholarships without submitting the FAFSA.
Keep in mind that the FAFSA is not an application that you can quickly fill out the night before a scholarship application is due. At first glance, it will seem tricky to the college finance newcomer, but it is vitally important that you learn how to fill it out correctly and submit it well before your scholarship applications are due.
After submitting it, the FAFSA has a processing time in which your financial aid eligibility is determined. You’ll also need to gather information from your parents or legal guardians about household income, tax information, and your net income. During this time, you can be searching for the financial aid you want to apply for. The last thing you want is to wait to fill out the FAFSA and find out that you missed a bunch of deadlines. Get it done as soon as you possibly can!
Luckily, filling out the FAFSA has never been easier; you can fill it out completely online at www.fafsa.gov. To fill out the FAFSA properly, you need to gather personal information including your Social Security Number, household income, and personal income. You’ll also need to create your own FSA ID, FAFSA’s personal way of identifying their applicants. This ID will help you and your parents securely sign and submit your classified personal information.
When you’re ready to get started, check out WeAdmit’s in-depth guide on the FAFSA; in this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about filling it out, submitting it, and gaining the most benefits from it.
The 5 Types Of Scholarships You Can Apply For
Ultimately, there are 5 types of college scholarships that students can apply for, based on ability, interests, and merit. To get the most financial benefit from scholarships, you need to know the kind of scholarships that best fit your situation. To do this, you need to know yourself well, know your potential, and have an idea of what you’d like to pursue in college.
Athletic scholarships are set aside specifically for student athletes. Some athletic scholarships are full-ride, meaning that the student can attend the college for free as long as they play that sport with their competitive teams. These college scholarships require a minimum GPA for the students to keep their eligibility.
If you’ve played a sport competitively throughout high school, consider applying for some athletic scholarships. Many colleges award students with these scholarships through their recruitment programs, so if this is an option you’re interested in, you should connect with your coach and work on getting in touch with recruiters. However, recruiting is not the only way to obtain an athletic scholarship. In fact, here are some that you can apply for right now:
- Kellen Biggar Athletic Scholarship
- Littlefield Wildcat Athletic Scholarship Fund
- Sports Unlimited Scholarship
These kinds of scholarships can be found through the universities you’ve applied to, plan on applying to, or are committed to attending. These are great options because the only students who are eligible for them must attend that college. This factor greatly shrinks the competition pool, and gives you a better chance of being awarded the scholarship.
To find college-specific scholarships, do some research on your university’s financial aid webpage. Oftentimes, many college financial aid departments won’t list all the scholarships they offer due to an overload of applications, so don’t be afraid to connect with an administrator and inquire about scholarships. You can find scholarships for any kind of college, including public or private universities, community colleges, liberal arts schools, and art institutes. Here are some examples of college-specific scholarships:
- Arizona State University Scholarships
- Vanderbilt University Scholarships
- Penn State University Scholarships
When a scholarship is merit-based, students who have demonstrated high academic achievement in high school are eligible to apply. These scholarships usually have a minimum GPA, an academic honor society membership attached to it, or even depend on things like awards or honors.
Students who excelled in AP classes and honors courses, school programs like International Baccalaureate, and scored higher than average on their SATs should apply for merit-based scholarships. If this sounds like the best option for you, here are some merit-based scholarships to check out first:
- Curtis E. Huntington Memorial Scholarship
- Salifu Sesay Perseverance Scholarship
- Griswold Home Care Scholarships
Some college scholarships are set aside for students interested in a certain area of study or certain majors. This could be a great option for you if you already know what you’d like to study in college. Like most scholarships, these will have a minimum GPA requirement in order to maintain eligibility. Here are some examples of major-specific scholarships:
- OADP Scholarship for Accounting
- Digital Marketing Scholarship
- MyBioSource Inc. Scholarship for STEM Majors
The last category of college scholarships that you will find have to do with community service. Some organizations like the Peace Corps will offer students fellowships or grants to continue their graduate education while non profits will offer scholarships to students who exhibit leadership, citizenship, and an overall passion for community service:
Where To Look For Scholarships
When it comes to paying for college, scholarships can help you immensely. When you're searching and applying for scholarships, the best place to start is with yourself. Do some digging, and figure out your niche. What kind of groups or clubs were you involved with in high school? Are you gifted in anything specific like sports, debate, science, or fine arts? The more questions like this you can answer, the better. Once you figure out the kind of college scholarships you’re likely to be considered for, you can start research using scholarship databases like Unigo and Scholarships.com.
For help with navigating the world of college finances and refining your scholarship application, you can reach out to WeAdmit’s professional counselors. Our college experts are eager to help you find the scholarships you’re eligible for and help you craft an application that will land you the financial aid you need.
College Is Expensive, But You Don’t Have To Pay Full Price! Get Started Now, And Find The Right Scholarships For You.
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