Did you know you can pay for college in a way that won’t result in debt for years to come? Get a scholarship and you’ll get a form of college financial aid that does not need to be repaid.
Interested yet? You should be!
Scholarships can come from anywhere. You can get a scholarship from the college or university you plan to attend, community organizations, charities, businesses, corporations or even private citizens. Famous scholarships include the Intel Science Talent Search, the National Merit Scholarship and the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. In fact, University Language Services offers its own scholarship!
Anyone! There is a common fallacy that only straight-A students can get a scholarship. This could not be further from the truth. Thousands of scholarships each year are awarded based on academic achievement, but thousands more are awarded based on all sorts of other criteria. Anyone who takes the time to seek out and apply for scholarships can win one – or more. Students often get a scholarship because of their athletic ability, artistic talent, community service or plans to study in a particular field.
Eligibility criteria can also be far more exact.
Extreme examples include the Frederick and Mary F. Beckley Scholarship, which awards money to left-handed students; the Duck Brand Duct Tape Prom Contest, which goes to couples who attend their high school prom in attire made completely out of duct tape; and the Tupperware Home Parties Scholarship, which is awarded to independent Tupperware dealers and their dependent children who plan to attend college.
Scholarships are available to students at any level. You do not have to be a high school senior. You can be an undergraduate or a student working toward a master’s degree or doctoral degree (although gift aid given to graduate students is often referred to as a “fellowship“).
Also, high school seniors who take time off before attending college are not disqualified from winning scholarships.
Much like college itself, earning scholarships requires time, diligence and commitment. There are many ways to seek scholarships. You can go to your local library and peruse mammoth directories and library files that list thousands of private scholarships, or you can search scholarship websites online. Even if you use the internet, there’s a lot more involved than just typing in a couple of words. Most scholarships require a well-composed and thoughtful essay. Learn how to write an essay for scholarships.
Don’t forget to check with your guidance counselor to see if you qualify for any local awards, and remember to contact the college or university you plan to attend to see if you are eligible for any of its scholarships.
Scholarships can come in almost any amount from $50 to $50,000 or even more. Students are sometimes able to fund their entire education with scholarships (although this is the exception more than the rule). The average scholarship amount from a private source (outside of college) is $2,000.
Remember: Anyone can get a scholarship. If you continue to search and apply for scholarships, you can be well on your way to paying for the cost of your college education in the United States!