Winning a scholarship can be a tricky thing. For many, it seems next to impossible to win one. It’s challenging to pay for college without any scholarship help, but it’s not impossible. You can win a scholarship with a little extra effort and diligence by following a few basic guidelines and steps– you can win a scholarship! Whether you’re a prospective college student or parent of a high school senior, chances are you have questions about paying for higher education. Here are some answers and tips on how to write my essay and to help you find the best financing option for your needs.
12 Quick Tips to Help Finance Your Education
If you are a student, you might be worried about paying education expenses. Education is an investment that leads to a better future, but it can also be very expensive. The following tips can help you make sure that your education does not prevent you from experiencing the rest of life:
1. Experience what life is like outside of school. College students tend to get caught up in their studies and forget about the world outside, but you can also enjoy your time off from classes. Go out with friends, visit historical sites in the area, and go shopping for things you do not need. You can even volunteer at a local charity once or twice a month. These things are fun and help you stay sane during your school years.
2. Work part-time while going to school full-time. This will give you extra spending money and help pay for any college expenses that remain after scholarships and financial aid have been taken into account.
3. Get involved in on-campus organizations or groups that have nothing to do with academics. This will make it easier for you to meet new people and make connections with people who might be able to help you out down the road when you look for scholarships or a job after graduation.
4. Scholarship search sites match students with the right scholarship based on credentials, so check out sites like scholarshipstats.com, fastweb.com, collegedata.com, and finaid.org.
5. Apply to every scholarship that’s appropriate by following the application instructions carefully and submitting all requested materials on time (usually in early spring). There are no penalties if you don’t get an award, so apply to as many scholarships as possible.
6. Look into your school’s resources for grant aid and alumni assistance; some schools also have their scholarship programs for in-state residents or those with particular majors or grade point averages (GPAs).
7. State agencies, local organizations, and private businesses offer scholarships from time to time, so check out their websites or use a general search engine such as Google or Bing to track them down. Some of these also require applications from students; others just have a deadline for submission of application materials such as transcripts and letters of recommendation from teachers.
8. After you graduate, find a job off-campus first. Your school may offer on-campus jobs or internships that can help you develop skills in your field of study, but remember that these positions are not likely to pay enough to cover your tuition, so think about an off-campus job once you’re on your way to graduation.
9. Choose a major with reasonable career opportunities. Many fields have bright job prospects and reasonable tuition costs, such as business administration and accounting (see BLS data on majors). Consider pursuing a minor in something else that fits well with your interests, such as English or history.
10. Consider taking out fewer student loans than you need. Taking out more student loans than you need doesn’t mean that you will owe more money; rather, it means that you won’t be able to qualify for as many loan forgiveness programs (such as income-based repayment) or federal grants in the future.
11. Apply for scholarships, grants, and work-study programs early and often. Some organizations give away hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
12. Parents’ Retirement Savings – Parents can tap into their retirement savings to help pay for their children’s college education. If parents have enough retirement savings to pay for college outright, they can avoid paying any taxes on the distribution received to pay for college expenses.
The Types of Aid Offered To Students
The types of aid vary from one school to another. Some schools offer scholarships based on merit or need, while others offer grants and loans that students don’t have to pay back. Typical aid includes:
- Scholarships: Scholarships do not have to be repaid. They are awarded based on merit and may be based on financial needs.
- Grants: Grants do not have to be repaid, and they usually require no work or service in exchange for the money. Federal Pell Grants are an example of a grant given to those who qualify financially by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Loans: Loans must be repaid-with interest and may have a fixed or variable interest rate.
- Work-study program: Students earn money by working part-time jobs at a nonprofit organization or government agency. They can use their earnings for expenses such as books, supplies.
- Private Loans: If your parents don’t make enough money for federal loans, or if you have bad credit (or no credit), then a private loan might be your only option. Start looking into these by filling out a free application from major companies like Sallie Mae or Nelnet.
- Federal Loans: If you have good credit and a decent income, then student loans from the government might be your best bet. They come with low rates, and if you need more money than what they offer, consider private loans (more on that below).
- Loan Options: There are many ways to pay for college, but loans are usually the cheapest and most flexible options. You can take out as much money as you need and pay it back easily. Sure, the interest will add up over time, but that’s better than not going to college at all because you don’t have enough money to pay tuition.
By following these five top secrets, you can increase your chances of winning a scholarship. This is particularly helpful if you are entering high school or college, as it would open up new doors and opportunities for you to continue your education. Finally, always remember that your odds of winning a scholarship will dramatically improve with more time spent on research and at least two essays.