Why should I look for a scholarship
when the college financial aid office will just take away that same amount of
scholarships that they have awarded to me?|
Your strongest supporter is yourself. Go to the financial aid office at your
college and talk with your advisor. The college will often replace an
institutional scholarship with a private scholarship. Be sure to ask the college
to use your new found scholarship with half scholarship and half student loan.
By doing this, the college money can go to someone else and some of your loan is
I am a junior in high school.
Iím I starting to early to look for scholarships?
You can never start too early. Be thankful that you had the sense to start
sooner, thus being able to do some in-depth research! Start looking and find out
where the best money is. If you are not sure of what your major in college will
be, find out what field can give the most help. If that course of study isn't
your first choice, double major, so you can qualify!
My college major is not being
offered at any state institution where I live. Does this mean I have to go to a
higher cost college?
You best bet in this situation is to contact your state scholarship board and
find out if they participate in a program that lets students study at
out-of-state institutions for in-state tuition. Although these programs are not
scholarships, they can save a student thousands of dollars every year!
WICHE (Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education) includes the state of
AK, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, NM, ND, OR, SD, UT and WY. WICHE is located in Colorado
at P.O. Box 9752, Boulder, CO 80301-9752 or call: 303/541-0210.
States participating in the Academic Common Market are: AL, DE, FL, GA, MD, MS,
NC, SC and VA. You may request information at: Southern Regional Educational
Board, 592 10th Street, Atlanta, GA 30218.
Are private scholarships for
college freshmen only?
No. Every level of college through postgraduate studies offers scholarships,
fellowships, work study programs, low cost educational loans. Just like Federal
financial aid, a student should go through this process for every year of
college. But there are some programs that are automatically renewable. Do your
Why bother doing all this
research? Even if I get a scholarship, it won't pay for my college education.
No, you are right. Most likely, you will not get 100% free money. Your financial
aid will come from all the self-help and gift aid programs. A private sector
scholarship may bring you that $500 or $2,500 that you need. Help your financial
aid award package grow!
What should I be doing to get
ready to research and pursue financial aid for college?
When thinking about what you like to do, it can never be too early to start. How
you can apply your interests when looking at colleges, major fields of study and
scholarship programs is also very important. Many scholarship programs ask you
to write about your goals and your major field of study. While this may be tough
for a teenager, but if you think about the characteristics of what you like, you
may find you know more about what youíd like your college major to be or at
least in the general field of a college major than you thought previously.
- A young man
has just started college, majoring in engineering Ė he thought he would like
it but was not really sure. After a while, he discovered that while he enjoyed
the technical part of engineering, he also wanted to work with people. He liked
classes related to computers, to construction, to technology, etc. After a year
he decided to major in Technology Education - which has all the elements he
likes! He will be able to teach technology in high school or indusry. The point
of this is that you donít necessarily need to know exactly what you want to
major in. One of the largest purposes for college is to find out what you want
to do for, possibly, the rest of your life.
By experiencing fields that interest you at college, you can then narrow
your major down to something you know you will want to seek a career in. Find
people in the fields that may interest you - ask if you could "shadow"
them for a day. This preplanning may save you one, two or three semesters in
college. Not everyone can decide on a set major before college, but it is worth
scholarship programs are looking for students who have set goals and take
college seriously. They want to know their funds are being well used.
- There is a
great concern regarding the amount of student loan debt our new graduates are
carrying today. Knowing this, a high school student should research the student
loan forgiveness programs (loan assistance repayment programs) that are
available for his major. Some colleges and state agencies offer programs.
Corporations are beginning to consider student loan repayment as an employee
benefit. It helps with your repayment planning to know that this assistance is
available in your career.
What key points should I keep in
mind when I apply for private sector funds?
Start early. Once you have found sources to pursue, be organized. Make sure that
you do qualify for the initial criteria. Donít waste your time applying for a
scholarship you know you donít qualify for.
counselors, friends and previous bosses to write letters of reference for you.
- Write a
resume. Make sure you include all aspects of your life - school, work, community
service, sports, clubs, etc. Be sure to include anything that may be exceptional
about yourself and your accomplishments. Your parents may belong to a certain
organization that offers scholarships. If there are special family
circumstances, write an explanation. Some students have to work a lot to help
with family finances. Take time to be neat, accurate and creative.
- Once you
have mailed the application packet to the sponsoring agency, follow up with a
phone call or note verifying its arrival. Don't assume anything.
- Use a
tracking chart to make sure that you have submitted all applications (signed and
dated!) as well as all additional required documents.