College is expensive. Paying for tuition alone can cost thousands of dollars per semester, not to mention room and board, alongside textbooks and food. Nevertheless, there are numerous ways to help alleviate the financial strain, with scholarships being the foremost.
Not only do scholarships assist with the traditional tuition costs, but they can provide aid for purchasing textbooks, a new laptop, or the other miscellaneous costs associated with college. More importantly, it’s crucial to apply to scholarships every academic year of college.
Besides the chance of having fewer out-of-pocket costs, applying for scholarships every year can help provide additional financial support if changes in the financial aid offered by your college occur, whether due to personal finance changes reflected on the FAFSA, grade requirement adjustments, or additional costs related to classes and miscellaneous spending.
The key then is gathering motivation and having at hand resourceful tools to search for scholarships. Below, I’ll list three steps to seeking and applying for scholarships every year, all while attending classes as a busy student.
- Gather your resources.In other words, research where you can search and apply for scholarships, and prioritize the deadlines set forth. Exhaust every option possible, and make sure to be prepared to submit your application on time by learning beforehand the additional requirements (for instance, needing a specific number of recommendations or writing a certain essay).
For scholarships offered by your college, check well in advance to ensure that you have the time to gather the required documents, and what the eligibility requirements may be. Some scholarships are based on specific majors, while others are offered by departments. Check the listed information beforehand.
Furthermore, actively seek outside scholarships. Do not just stop at one website or rely on your university alone to provide enough scholarships; while the latter may offer a generous amount of financial aid, Oftentimes, outside scholarships can help cover any remaining costs. Explore platforms that host credible scholarships, and try filtering them to match your academic, extracurricular, or personal interests to help narrow down the search.
- Actually apply to the scholarships every year.Do not keep putting off the essays or other required materials for the last minute. Procrastination is an effective way to overly stress about deadlines.
Be prepared by asking for recommendations at least a month in advance, and writing and revising your essays beforehand to have everything prepared by the time the deadline rolls around. If you do wait until the last minute, submit whatever you have (as long as your application is complete). It is better to apply with whatever essay you have than not applying at all.
This brings me to my second point: do not hesitate to apply for a scholarship simply out of doubt. Whether the expectations seem daunting, or you’ve been denied for the past ten scholarships you applied to, do not hesitate to submit that application.
You’ll never know your chances unless you apply, and no matter the amount of money being offered, nothing is too insignificant to let the opportunity pass by. A whole host of new scholarships merge each year, alongside with those you may have missed the previous year, so apply every year.
- Be proactive in your approach.
Once you’ve applied, remember to keep in mind when the winners will be announced. Additionally, don’t stop just because you’ve reached a certain number of applications.
Do not stress out about every scholarship, but prioritize those that match up with your qualifications, and if you have the time and effort, keep searching for new opportunities.
Applying to scholarships every year can significantly reduce how much you’re paying either right away or through loans. New scholarships appear every year, and while it might seem frustrating to repeat the same process over and over, it’s crucial to make it into a habit.
Here are some additional simple tips to help keep you motivated: sign up for email notifications that alert you to new scholarships matching the criteria you added to your search. By receiving a daily or weekly email, it’s easier to keep up with deadlines, new results, and spend less time and energy or searching for the appropriate scholarships and more on filling out those applications.
For the future, keep the essays you wrote in the event they can be slightly tweaked and used for another prompt.
Lastly, remain organized; have your information easily accessible in case you have to double-check a deadline or find a specific writing piece. Additionally, use a credible website like Fastweb. This will save you time and effort by already knowing how the platform works. Having an account allows you to access a scholarship or save it for future reference.
It is crucial not only to just apply to scholarships as a college student, but to apply every academic year. With some perseverance and patience, you may end up saving thousands of dollars.