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Do You Know How to Get Scholarships for College?

Do You Know How to Get Scholarships for College?

scholarships Dec 15, 2021

Did you know that there are plenty of scholarships out there to help you pay for college beyond just sports? Extracurriculars are a great way to gain access to legitimate scholarship opportunities. However, they are not the only option out there. Understanding how to get scholarships for college is important. Learn more about the types of scholarships available, how to find them, how to apply for them, and what to expect afterward.

Types of Scholarships
There are many different types of scholarships available for all different kinds of students. Scholarships can be awarded based on extracurricular activities, personal identities, financial needs, employer or military status, and more! In general, there are three categories of scholarships:
● merit-based scholarships, which are based on academic or extracurricular activities
● financial scholarships, which are based on financial need
● identity-based scholarships, which are based on various identifying factors such as
military status, ethnicity, or any other social “identity.”

Academic Or Essay Scholarships
One of the most recognized types of scholarships that you have probably heard of is academic or essay scholarships for college students. These scholarships are generally awarded based on academic achievements such as GPA or standardized test scores. However, some essay scholarships rely more on the application of knowledge and writing skills than academic positions. Different schools, donors, and organizations offer essay-based scholarships for all kinds of subjects and industries. Each scholarship will identify the source of funding, the amount that will be rewarded, essay requirements, and any additional requirements such as financial situation, GPA, your field of study, etc. Please don’t be shy about sharing your essays with teachers, family, or friends to get feedback on how to improve it.

Sports Scholarships
Most people know that plenty of college sports scholarships is offered to top athletes.
What happens if you’re on the team, but you’re not the star? Luckily, there are still a number of college sports scholarships out there for a variety of players. If the college you are considering is a Division I or Division II, they most likely have scholarships available directly for any supported sport. If you are not attending a top athletic school, finding a scholarship can be done by checking the NCAA requirements for scholarships. By using the resources provided through them, you can determine the right scholarship for you.

Music Scholarships
Did you know there are also music scholarships for college? Music is a competitive career field, but that doesn’t mean it is out of reach. There are many arts organizations that provide music-based scholarships both for musicians going into other fields of study and musicians in training.

Community service scholarships
Scholarships aren’t just reserved for academic, athletic, or artistic students. Anyone can apply for community service scholarships if they have experience volunteering. These are great scholarships for students in community programs such as 4-H, FFA, or church groups.

Other Extracurricular Scholarships
There is not really a limit on what types of extracurricular activities may qualify for scholarships. There are programs and organizations that specialize in unique hobbies and interests outside of general high school extracurricular activities. From school-sponsored activities and clubs to making Duct Tape prom dresses, there are scholarship opportunities for all students.

Identity-Based Scholarships 
If essays and extracurricular activities aren’t your things, there are even more options out there. Students can find scholarship opportunities based on social identity. Examples include ethnicity, race, gender, background, religion, first-generation students, and more.

Need-based scholarships
As the name suggests, need-based scholarships are awarded to students who can prove they have a financial need for assistance. Most need-based scholarships have additional requirements such as location, academics, area of study, etc.

Employer Or Military Scholarships
Finally, students can look for scholarships based on their (or their parent’s) employer or military status. Some employers provide scholarship programs for school-aged employees or the school-age children of employees. In addition, there are many scholarships available for individuals who have an immediate family member who is currently or previously a member of the military.

How To Find Scholarships
There are many reputable resources to help you find the right scholarships. A good place to start is to utilize the resources available through your high school or college. You can do additional research to find more scholarships through online databases and organizations. As you search, be sure to confirm that the offers are legitimate before sharing any information. According to the Federal Financial Aid, the best sources for scholarships are as follows:
● The financial aid office at a college or career school
● A high school or TRIO counselor
● The U.S. Department of Labor’s scholarship search tool
● Federal agencies
● State grant agencies
● A library’s reference section
● Foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups
● Organizations related to your field of interest
● Ethnicity-based organizations
● Your employer or your parents’ employers

How To Apply For Scholarships
Every application will be different depending on the organization that provides the scholarship, the purpose of the scholarship, and the requirements. In general, the application may include the completion of your Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) application, writing essays, and submitting letters of recommendation. Check the scholarship details to determine the application requirements. The earlier you submit your applications and the more applications you complete, the better you will receive awards.

What To Expect After Applying
After applying, most scholarships will give you a timeframe for a decision and send you
either an approval letter or a denial letter. After you are awarded a scholarship, they will send you the next steps for claiming and receiving your money. Some organizations send the money to your school, and any excess money is dispersed to you after applying for tuition, books, or other expenses. Others may send you a check that you are responsible for applying to your education costs.

Now that you know how to get college scholarships don’t wait. Use the resources above to get started on your scholarship applications today! You can also contact your high school counselor or college academic advisor (if you have one already) to find the best scholarships for you.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

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