Whether you’re a high school student, current college student, or returning adult learner, you need to have a college financial aid plan in place. Why? Well, for one thing, finding money to cover tuition, books, housing and other fees will not be limited to your freshman year of college.
You will find that the amount of money you need to cover your college expenses only increases over time. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for your financial aid package. In fact, you may find that the money your school offered as part of your admissions package decreases as you get further along in your degree program.
This is known as front-loading and some colleges and universities use it to entice you to enroll at their schools. That is why it is so important to ask about long-term financial aid support when researching potential schools.
Scholarships as a Part of Financial Aid Throughout College
In general, you will use a combination of resources to cover all your anticipated college expenses, including institutional, state and federal financial aid. Although you won’t have much control over how much money you will be offered through grants, work-study opportunities and federal loans, there is one area where you can alter the outcome based on your determination and drive –scholarships.
If you’re new to scholarships, we encourage you to visit Unigo.com. It has some great tips for starting your search, as well as links to other articles that will answer just about every question you may have about finding and winning scholarships. One thing you should keep in mind is that the earlier you start the process, the more opportunities you will have for success.
This, however, does not mean that you should eliminate scholarships as part of your financial aid plan if you’re already enrolled in college. It truly never is too late to start looking for scholarships and there’s something for everyone.
Where to Find College Scholarships
To help get you started, we’ve put together this short list of places you may be able to find scholarships to help you pay for college.
High School Guidance Office
College Financial Aid Office
High School and College Websites
Local Charitable Organizations
Businesses (local and national)
Professional Membership Organizations (related to your career path)
Greek Organizations (sororities/fraternities)
Minor/Major League Sports Organizations (NFL, NBA. MLB, etc.)
Cable TV Companies
Military Branches and Associations
Social Media (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.)
Of course, one of the easiest ways to find scholarships that match your personal skills, talents and needs is to register for one or more free online scholarship search services. Just remember to check your accounts at least once per month because new scholarships are added all the time. You’ll also want to set aside time each month to complete your applications.
Like many things in life, applying for scholarships has a bit of a learning curve to it, so don’t expect to win right off the bat. It may take a few swings before you hit one out of the ballpark. Just don’t give up because there is one guarantee when it comes to scholarships – you can’t win if you don’t apply.