As a high school student you probably spent a lot of time looking for scholarships. They’re the best way to pay for college, after all, and can offset your higher education expenses. The more you earn in scholarships, the less you have to pay out of pocket or take out in student loans. So why stop after you’ve graduated high school? Are there even scholarships for college students?
Scholarships Aren’t Just for High School Seniors
Myth: busted. There are scholarships for nearly every level of schooling. Even kindergartners can earn college scholarships. While many opportunities might be geared and marketed towards high school seniors, there are scholarships for college students too. You can (and should) apply to these opportunities throughout your college years. From freshman year right up to your senior, you can earn free gift aid to help fund your degree.
Is it Worth Spending Time Applying to Scholarships?
College is busier than high school. Between classes, studying, projects, jobs, and social events, there isn’t a ton of free time. Applying to scholarships takes both time and effort. Add to it the time spent just looking for opportunities and that can take up a whole chunk of your schedule. Is it really worth it?
Here’s some food for thought—any scholarship money you win is free. You don’t have to return it or pay interest. It’s one of the best ways to lower your student loan debt. The more you scholarship money you win, the less you have to borrow. There’s no denying that it’s worth it.
When looking for scholarships for college students you will find yourself eligible for several that you didn’t qualify for as a high school student. This opens up so many more opportunities for you. Every year you are in college, as you participate in new extracurricular activities and gain more skills, you could be eligible for more scholarships than the previous year.
How to Manage Searching for Scholarships in College
So, with that busy schedule we talked about, how can college students apply for scholarships? The key is consistency. Take a good look at your schedule. When do you have a free hour each week? Or a half hour? Pencil it into your agenda and stick to it. When you treat it like a class or responsibility, it becomes a good habit. You don’t have to make it a huge ordeal, especially if you set a goal like apply to one scholarship every other week.
Types of Scholarships For College Students
You don’t have to be a straight-A student or a star athlete to get free money for college. Scholarships for college students run the gamut from academic and skill based to opportunities based on your ethnicity, religion, hobbies, or major. Think about your strengths, skills and accomplishments, and things that set you apart. Then look for scholarships based on those criteria.
The best place to start your search for scholarships for college students is your college financial aid office. They are a repository of all information related to financial aid, including scholarships. When looking online, you can save some time by narrowing down your search to only those opportunities that you qualify for.
A Few Things to Keep In Mind
All of your student aid added together cannot be more than the total cost of attendance at your school. This means winning any scholarship money may affect your other student aid. You must let your school’s financial office know of any scholarship money that you win so they can recalculate your financial aid package.
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