College is an expensive endeavor even if you are enrolled in online college! Yet, it is also necessary to remain competitive in today’s job market. Most students tap into loans to help with the costs, but they must begin repaying these loans immediately upon graduation.
Instead, why not secure a loan that you will NOT ever have to repay? This “free money” comes in the form of scholarships.
You don’t need to be a straight-A student to get a scholarship. Here’s a step-by-step checklist you can follow to begin applying for free college money today…
Ask Yourself: What Am I Good At?
- What are your best subjects?
- Do you play any sports?
- Are you in any after-school clubs?
- Do you have artistic talent?
- Are you involved in your community in some way, perhaps volunteering?
- Is there a social or environmental cause you care deeply about?
- Is there a certain passion or hobby you’ve had since you were a child?
Dig Into Your Past
- Contact your old employers, teachers, coaches or community members for letters of reference. You want people who will vouch for your character.
- Compile any awards, trophies and certificates.
- Gather your financial/bank statements, report cards and personal ID’s in one place.
Drop Many Irons In The Fire
- Apply to anything & everything you can! Some people set their sights too narrow and get their hearts set on just one particular scholarship. A better approach is to put many irons in the fire and you can be rest assured at least one will ignite. It’s possible to be awarded more than one scholarship too, so aim for a free ride! All it takes is a little of your time and effort.
- You can apply for scholarships based on merits like hobbies, community contributions, leadership, artistic talents, or academic achievement. Yet, you may also qualify for scholarships available to a certain subset of the population. Are you a minority ethnicity? Are you a woman? Are you developmentally disadvantaged in some way? Do you come from a low income household?
Watch Out For Scholarship Scams
- Not every organization is legit. Beware of scholarship service providers that ask for a small fee to provide you with information. You can find everything you need online for FREE.
Know Where To Apply
- Begin with the Free Application For Federal Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for federal money to help you pay for college.
- Look up your school of choice’s website directly to see if they offer scholarships.
- Google your city and state and “scholarships” to see if you can tap local money.
- Google your area of interest and “scholarships” – (For ex: “Scholarships for writers”).
- Ask family, friends, tutors, coaches or professors for recommendations.
Be Prepared To Write
- Many scholarships ask you to write an essay and you will also have to write an essay just to get into college most likely. If you need help with your writing abilities, find a tutor or at least a proofreader to help you. Be sure you pay attention to the specific formatting, topic and word length suggestions provided. Don’t miss your deadlines!
Know What To Expect
- Keep track of deadlines so you know when to anticipate word of acceptance or rejection.
- Once your scholarship gets approved, you will usually receive payment directly to your bank, although payment may vary so be sure to read over the details.
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