Finding and Applying for Scholarships
Covering the cost of tuition is something that’s on every college student’s mind. Even when your college offers financial aid to nearly 95% of students — like Lackawanna College does — you may want to fill the gaps with outside money. Scholarships for college can help.
College scholarships allow incoming students to potentially lessen their financial outlay. Almost two-thirds of college students depend on assistance provided through college scholarships and grants, per Next Gen Personal Finance reporting.1 However, you’ll want to gain a solid understanding of scholarships for college and how they work before starting your search.
All About College Scholarships
Like college grants, college scholarships provide students with money that doesn’t have to be paid back. Grants and scholarships for college are not exactly alike, though.
While grants are typically awarded based on financial need, scholarships for college students aren’t always solely needs-based. Instead, they can be based on merit, identity, interests, and other considerations, too. For instance, some college scholarships are aimed at student-athletes. Others are available for women undertaking specific degrees. The military even offers college scholarships for armed service families. Each scholarship has unique parameters.
How many college scholarships exist? All told, Research.com reporting estimates that there are more than 1.5 million undergraduate and graduate college scholarships worldwide.2 In other words, you have no reason not to consider scholarships as a way to help cover your tuition and related college expenses. Even a modest scholarship of $500 or $1,000 can make a big difference!
Where to Find Scholarships for College
If you’re eager to search for college scholarships, begin by searching the web. Trustworthy sites include:
- CareerOneStop, which is connected to the U.S. Department of Labor3
- U.S. News Scholarship Finder4
- The College Board5
You don’t have to limit where you look for scholarships for college based on what’s available digitally, though. Talking to your school guidance counselor or career counselor, organizations you or your family are associated with, or your intended college’s financial aid office can lead you to college scholarships that don’t get a lot of press.
Once you’ve unearthed a few scholarship possibilities, you can begin sending in applications.
Tips for Applying for Scholarships for College
Every scholarship sets out guidelines for applying. These guidelines make it easier for the entities offering the scholarship to figure out who receives a scholarship and who doesn’t. With this in mind, make sure you follow some simple steps to ensure that your scholarship application stands out.
- Read through the application rules. If a scholarship says that you have to submit a typed essay, you can’t get away with sending in a handwritten one.
- Honor all college scholarship timelines. A late scholarship application is unlikely to be considered as viable. Therefore, be sure you give yourself enough time to submit your application before the deadline.
- Apply only for college scholarships that pertain to you. Don’t try to submit for scholarships for college student cohorts that you don’t belong to. If a scholarship is for tennis players and you’ve never picked up a tennis racket in your life, find a scholarship better fitted to you.
- Submit for scholarships with smaller amounts. The highest paying college scholarships usually attract a lot of competition. While it’s perfectly fine to apply for them, submit for scholarships that are less ambitious, too.
- Keep searching for college scholarships year after year. Once you get into college, you can still apply for many scholarships for college. Each one you receive allows you to stretch your college funding.
- Understand how your scholarship money will be distributed. Some scholarships send you a check. Others pay your college directly. You’ll want to know what to expect.
- Be wary of scams. Does a scholarship seem too easy to get? Does the application ask for something strange, like your social security number, passwords, or bank account information? Trust your instincts and pass it by, if so.
Paying for College with Scholarships
Believe it or not, many college students have been able to pay all or almost all of their undergraduate and graduate school tuition entirely with college scholarships and grants. Why not set aside time over the coming days to research scholarships? You might find one that makes your college dreams significantly more attainable.
To learn more about scholarships and financial aid at Lackawanna College, get in touch today!
1 Next Gen Personal Finance. “Question of the Day: What percent of students receive scholarships or grants for college?”
2 Research.com. “72 Scholarship Statistics: 2022 Data, Facts & Analysis.” https://research.com/research/scholarship-statistics
4 U.S. News Scholarship Finder. https://www.usnews.com/education/scholarships/search
5 The College Board. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/scholarship-search