Many people get overwhelmed during the college application process,
especially when it comes to financial aid. But,
what exactly is financial aid? The term ‘financial aid’
covers many topics: loans, grants, work-study, loan-forgiveness
programs and scholarships. It can be
confusing trying to decipher which programs may be best for you, but
one thing is for certain – EVERYONE should consider
What are Scholarships?
Scholarships are basically ‘free money’ for college,
and unlike loans, they never have to be paid back. Scholarship
providers will disburse the funds directly to the student or they may
send a check to the student’s college financial aid office.
Generally, scholarships help cover the cost of tuition, room and
board, books and other educational expenses, although some
scholarships are unrestricted and can be used for other expenses, such
as food and travel abroad.
Who is Eligible?
Many students make the mistake of assuming they will not qualify
for a scholarship because their parents make too much money or their
grades are less than stellar. It may surprise you to know that not all
programs are based on merit or financial need. Students can be
rewarded for participating in sports, community service, studying a
specific major and more! Scholarships are not limited to high school
seniors either. All high school students, college students and adult
learners returning to school are encouraged to apply. There are
scholarships for all levels of study, as well, including
undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D.
Where Do You Find Scholarships?
There are several good resources for locating scholarships.
Check with your high school guidance counselor, college financial aid
office, employer and local organizations and clubs. Students can help
speed up the process by using a reputable and accurate online
scholarship search service, as well. Be sure to avoid using any
scholarship search service that requires a fee.
How Often Should You Search?
Your scholarship search should be an ongoing process. Do not
make the mistake of searching for awards once or twice and then never
returning to your account or following up with other resources. New
scholarships are added every day and you may miss out on a golden
opportunity if you fail to schedule time for your scholarship search.
A good rule of thumb is to apply to at least 5-10 awards every month,
continuing until you have completed your degree. The earlier you start
the process, the better. Remember, you can’t win if you
Are you ready to take the first step on the path to free money for
college? Try ScholarshipExperts.com, a site that's been
helping students find scholarship for over a decade. They also sponsor
their own scholarships
and most students are eligible to apply.
Use our free LoanFinder™ to find, compare and apply for private